October 31st and I am reflecting on the importance of the last day of this month. I recently learned that today is ranked as number-two shopping day of the year. Please correct my understanding if I have it wrong? More money is spent today for shopping-related to retail store sales, Halloween, pre-Christmas sales and big increases in online sales. As far as the economy goes today is an important day.
While yesterday children’s trick-or-treating took place in my community, for many communities the children will be out today visiting homes and places of business for their candy treats.
Halloween and shopping are not what is on my mind today.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month takes place in October. This last day of October I am thankful for many people…some I would like to name…and I am also very concerned about the lack of intention that exists even in the church about this issue.
Thousands of unnamed women and a lessor number of men who have persisted in reducing violence against women have given rise to progress that must not be derailed or ignored. Vice president Joe Biden was the primary author of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. As a result of it being enacted into law, services and resources with federal funding have been made available for a wide range of needs including support for victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence services for rural victims, elder abuse, and educational and support services that deal with dating violence with programs that reach out to high schools and colleges and universities.
Every day all over the world and someplace close to where you live and work someone who is a child of God is being subjected to abuse and violence. Often in silence, and sometimes while people know it is happening. Friday and Saturdays women are abused and show up to worship on Saturdays and Sunday, not assured that someone really cares enough to break the silence and shed light on the hope that comes from help and hearing. It is not your fault. And it is our problem as in all of our problem and that is the message we must proclaim. Does your place of worship highlight "Domestic Violence Awareness Month”? Do you know someone who would benefit from your help that goes beyond just praying for them?
Thank you Salina, Joyce, Helen and a handful of men and women mostly laypersons who changed my leadership as a pastor. Violence has not skipped over Christians, and like many people in the pulpit or pews the subject is so close to home we go to the default position that somebody else must be addressing this worldwide sin. We need to break the silence, connect with the resources and make sure that yes, even in worship, we shed light on what is wrong and how we can make difference. What resources beyond supporting your local shelter can you provide? It was a task force and not a committee, and within months, not years, Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Warrensville Heights Ohio was never the same. The issue is not elevating the shame or ignoring the blame. Changing behavior cleansing a culture of violence and tolerance and providing training for people to serve as advocates was a start. Advocating for state and county resources and proposing resolutions to the annual conference was a next step. Helping people get help at all cost was the passion that a small core of faithful committed themselves to and I will be forever grateful.
Today is the last day of October and Awareness and advocacy that results in eliminating violence against women must continue. I say, may it be so. What do you say?
Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble