Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Preparing to be Prepared

Battered women usually turn to their family, friends and pastors for help before making the decision to resort legal to options and resources.

As a church family, are we prepared to be prepared when a fellow member turns to us experiencing a domestic violence crisis? Because in a violent marriage, the crisis will come, and usually with little or no warning. How quickly will we be able to respond when that happens?

There are churches with wonderful systems in place to ensure that members in need do not fall through the cracks. Women's ministries often have their procedures down to a science when ministering to church members who are experiencing illness or a death in the family. How important is it to ensure that a wife who is in crisis due to domestic violence receives an immediate, knowledgable and practical response to her need? In her case, the threat of injury or death is very real.

Who, in our congregations, is the most knowledgeable in how to proceed when informed of a domestic violence situation? If it is not the pastor, does the pastor know who this person is? Do other church members know who this person (or persons) is?

Church fellowships need to get involved with short term crisis intervention while a victim works out the details of her long term plans and needs. Short term needs would include shelter and counseling.These are usually very temporary. Who in your church knows of a safe place where a battered wife can go in times of crisis?

For long term needs, legal assistance will most likely be needed. Not all attorney's are trained in how to represent the needs of a domestic violence victim. Who in your congregation is knowledgeable about legal resources and attorney's who are qualified in this area of law?

Are we ready to help bear the burdens of the battered wives in our midst? Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ....

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