United Methodist Men work to eradicate domestic violence
3/18/2003 News media contact: Kathy Gilbert ∑ (615) 742-5470 ∑ Nashville, Tenn.
By J. Richard Peck*NASHVILLE,
Tenn. (UMNS) - The National Association of Conference Presidents of
United Methodist Men has committed to the "eradication of domestic
violence within society, especially where it exists within United
The association also "desires to join with the United Methodist Women in a joint effort to accomplish this goal."
action followed a workshop for the men's group led by Peggy Halsey, a
staff member of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, during
their meeting March 5-9 in Nashville.
"Why is domestic violence considered a woman's issue when it involves the whole family?" Halsey asked.
reported that 31 percent of U.S. women say they have been physically or
sexually assaulted by a boyfriend or a husband, and the statistics are
not a lot better within the church. A 1992 survey found that 15 to 20
percent of United Methodist women report such abuse. Halsey said it is
critical for men to be involved in the struggle.
history of actions regarding domestic violence within the United
Methodist Church, the veteran church executive said that in 1980
everyone agreed domestic violence was an issue that needed to be
addressed, but most believed that such abuse was "out there" and not
within the church. Surveys in 1982 and 1992 found that battering
occurred only slightly less frequently within the denomination.
In order to be allies in the fight against domestic violence, men must:
¬∑ Listen to women and believe them.
¬∑ Understand that women know that all men are not batterers.
¬∑ Understand that even men in high positions can be abusers.
¬∑ Challenge the attitudes and behavior of other men.
Following the workshop, the conference presidents committed to join
with the United Methodist Women to accomplish this goal. The group
encouraged staff executives of the Commission on United Methodist Men to
initiate contacts with leaders of the Women's Division of the Board of
Global Ministries to begin this action.
Joyce Sohl, top staff
executive of the Women's Division, said she has not yet received
notification of the action, but she will discuss next steps with the
Rev. Joe Harris, top executive of the men's commission, when she does.
In other action, United Methodist Men learned that:
¬∑ Harris has been elected as the first president of the recently formed World Fellowship of Methodist and Uniting Church Men.
The United Methodist Church leads all denominations in sponsoring
scouting units. The church sponsors 12,200 Boy Scout units for 408,000
boys and 15,000 Girl Scout troops for 108,000 girls. The number of
Venture Crews sponsored by United Methodist churches increased from 600
to 1,200 in five years.
¬∑ The commission has sent 25,000 copies
of Strength for Service to God and Country, a revised book of daily
devotions first sent to members of the armed forces in World War II, to
U.S. service men and women stationed around the world. Bishop Felton May
of the Baltimore-Washington Area presented a copy of the book to
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
¬∑ Through joint efforts
with the Society of Saint Andrew in 2002, the men gleaned or recovered
901,575 pounds of produce valued at $300,000 at 174 events. The food was
delivered to hunger relief agencies across America. The commission and
the society have established 18 annual (regional) conference hunger
relief advocates. In 2002, the men also raised $257,000 for Meals for
¬∑ There will be six regional men's conferences on "Sons of the Father," led by the Revs. Jimmy and Chris Buskirk.
The commission pays telephone costs for the Upper Room Prayer Line, and
a 60-second public service announcement will be sent to radio stations
about the prayer line.
# # #
*Peck is communications director for the Commission on United Methodist Men in Nashville, Tenn.
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