This past year churches from around the country have been engaging with the No Place for Violence Here campaign, raising congregational awareness of domestic and family violence (DFV) and exploring how the church could respond. Gymea Baptist Church has been raising awareness, training leaders, providing resources and engaging with their local community on this important issue.
The Catalyst Team at Gymea Baptist watched the three training videos delivered by expert, Carolyn Cousins, that are available on the No Place for Violence Here website. Pastor Jodene Watling said, “It was a complete eye opener to the complexity of DFV, but also why it is necessary that we as a community must address this and contribute to being the change for the future.” The church then invited Carolyn Cousins to speak during its May Mission Month so the whole church community could engage in a conversation around domestic and family violence. A Q&A forum was also provided. You can listen to one of Carolyn’s sessions at Gymea here: http://www.gymeabaptist.org.au/sermons/sunday-6th-may-2018-may-mission-month-week-1/
The Catalyst Group at Gymea Baptist also created its own resources for domestic and family violence that would be more suitable to the needs of the local community. They created cards to show the church’s stand on domestic and family violence and to provide contextual information. Pastor Watling recommends that if churches want to develop their own resource cards, they should “know who their target audience is, the why behind their wording and what resources should be mentioned.” Watling also said that, “Because the card is a tool and raises awareness, it then also required us to ensure our backend process was clear amongst our staff and volunteer leaders.
Gymea Baptist also supported the No Place for Violence Here research project through A Just Cause by interviewing local domestic and family violence services. They liaised with Southern Community Welfare, a counselling service that started in Gymea Baptist and runs out of the church, to understand DFV and how they can support the community together.
“We’ve started the conversation. We’re continuing to develop our awareness and then working out together what are our next faithful steps. Its complex and any sustained change will require us to dig deep, but seeing the dignity and equality of women restored (along with families and community in general!) is such a worthwhile cause.” Pastor Jodene Watling
Gymea Baptist will be participating in the Sutherland Shire White Ribbon Walk once again! It will be held on November 23, 2018 and involves schools, local government, emergency services and community groups. Anyone is welcome to join in!
To access resources for your church, visit: https://ajustcause.com.au/no-place-for-violence/