In conjunction with the North American Division Women’s Ministries Department, “Faith Works” Women’s Ministries at the Lakeland Seventh-day Adventist Church began promoting Abuse Prevention Day at the beginning of August, 2011. Flyers were sent out and a box was placed in the church foyer for the month to collect personal care items for women living in safe houses. “Faith Works” Women’s Ministries was in charge of the morning worship service on Abuse Prevention Emphasis Sabbath, August 27, 2011. Gleaning and expanding upon the sermon made available by the NAD, the big question asked was, “What kind of church is the Lakeland First Seventh-day Adventist Church? Is it a church that turns its back on abuse issues and those who come for help? Do the victims get the blame or does the church pretend it doesn’t happen, or are does the church open its arms and hearts to people in abusive situations and offer help both to the abused and the abuser?” The congregation was challenged to become the eyes, ears, hands and feet of Jesus and take a stand against abuse.
Several people told of family members who were in abusive situations, and comments were heard that more of these types of sermons are needed.
Following the morning worship service, there was a fellowship dinner and a seminar on Domestic Violence, presented by Kate Markley, a licensed clinical social worker; who works with victims of abuse. She brought a variety of handouts, including some on how to recognize an abusive personality and a list of the resources available for victims of abuse as well as resources available for the abusive person.
Over the month preceding this special Sabbath, many personal care items that had been collected. That day the ladies filled eighteen personal care packets, including the booklet “The Messiah”; which is the gospel of John, to give to people living in safe houses. These were taken to the local Peace River Rape Crisis Center. From there, someone from a local safe house met them at an undisclosed location and the bags were taken to the shelter. The ladies were made aware of opportunities to volunteer at the Rape Crisis Center and be an advocate for victims of domestic violence.
The “Faith Works” Women’s Ministries thank both God and the pastor for making the opportunity available to present this crucial subject to the church, as well as the community, and trust that the effort will plant seeds that will have far reaching results in preventing abuse, and reaching out to those who are victims of it.
Submitted by Carol Glass, Director
Lakeland First Seventh-day Adventist Church