Through a tragedy that occurred years ago with a dear woman in our church, we found out all too up close and personal that domestic abuse does indeed happen, even among Christians. Even among leaders in the church! Did you know...
* 1/3 of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend.
* 30% of all Americans know a woman who has been physically abused by a husband or boyfriend in the last year.
This problems transcends all race, backgrounds and socio-economic groups of people.
WHAT ARE CHURCHES DOING TO RESPOND TO THIS NEED?
At our church we now have a ministry in place to reach out to women who are dealing with these issues, or who have just come out of a situation. Help is completely confidential. We are committed to protecting these precious women at all costs. Interestingly enough, when the group was started we wondered how many we would have or if anyone in the church would respond. It is sad to report, but the statistics bear out and we have never had a lack of people in our support group ministry who need help along these lines. You might think your church is exempt, but...think again. You would be surprised who would attend a meeting if they could be certain no one would ever know! (We change our meeting times/dates each month to avoid detection and ensure safety of the participants, and the only one who knows the meeting times aside from the group members are myself and our group director. Our other leaders in the church don't know -- even our pastors don't know!)
We want to help other churches in developing ministries of their own to meet this crucial need. If you are in the Tampa Bay area, join us on Friday night, August 8 at 7 pm at Northside Assembly of God in Tampa, as we tackle the important issues of Personal Safety Awareness, and Domestic Abuse Awareness. This will be a Tampa Metro/Section 9 Event and we have invited all of our area churches.
First, we have Sheriff Mark Michaelson of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department coming, who will speak on personal safety awareness for women. We are going to separate fact from fiction. You know, the scary e-mails that you get about what to do to avoid being assaulted in a mall parking lot or gas station. What is real? What's not? Come and learn from the wisdom of a local sheriff as to how to protect yourself. You've got prayer as your #1 weapon but it wouldn't hurt to add some street smarts. :-)
The next feature of the evening will be our very own Sue Flint, Director of Aprile's Hope Ministries who will speak on domestic violence awareness and how the church can help. If your church is interested in having a ministry for women in these situations, resources will be made available to help you!
There is no charge for this event, but we do ask that you RSVP so that proper seating and refreshments may be prepared.