This past year churches from around the country have been engaging with the Australian Baptist Ministries’ No Place for Violence Here campaign, raising congregational awareness of domestic and family violence (DFV) and exploring how the church can respond. One such church is Sans Souci Baptist Church, a small church located in Southern Sydney. Lead Pastor, Dan Walz, said that Sans Souci Baptist wanted to get involved in the community and knows that domestic and family violence is an issue nationwide. Pastor Walz also wanted to raise awareness of the issue within the church and be able to respond in an empathetic way.
Sans Souci Baptist profiled domestic and family violence during a Sunday service and invited Scott Higgins, head of A Just Cause to speak on the topic. The church also placed a flyer in the foyer with key contact details for DFV services for church members to be able to take. Pastor Walz recommends that when talking about domestic and family violence on a Sunday, it is ideal to have someone present who is trained in pastoral care to be able to support people if needed.
The church also held a training workshop with leadership focused on how to recognise the signs of domestic and family violence, how to respond appropriately and how to refer to local community resources. The training helped the church leadership to be able to understand domestic and family violence and to support people who do decide to come forward.
He also said that the church was able to contact local community organisations working in domestic and family violence and build relationships; one such organisation is Southern Community Welfare.
The Public Engagement Group would like to thank Sans Souci Baptist for the work they have done in their church and community around domestic and family violence and the effort the church made to interview local community services for the No Place for Violence Here research project.
To access helpful resources for your church, please visit: https://ajustcause.com.au/no-place-for-violence/