Category : Violence

(Church Times) Ukrainians hear note of hope as fighting goes on

Church leaders in Ukraine have begun talking more convincingly about victory over Russian forces.

The Primate of Ukraine’s independent Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphany (Dumenko), told a Kyiv congregation on Sunday: “Although a heavy cross has fallen upon us, we must bear it with dignity, following Christ until we achieve victory — a spiritual victory over the evil brought to our homeland by the Russian aggressor. . .

“By the power of God’s truth and mercy, by the power of our people’s love, sacrifice, and faith, Ukraine — still wounded, tortured, and crucified by its enemies — will be resurrected.”

The Metropolitan preached as Russian forces continued shelling the capital, as well as Kharkiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv, Mariupol, and other cities, despite claims by Moscow last week that it was refocusing its offensive on eastern Ukraine.

He asked: “Have we, as a state and people, done something against Russia which merits this cruelty and murder — did we harbour evil plans against our neighbours, or did we just want to live in our own home as free people?”

Read it all.

Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Orthodox Church, Parish Ministry, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(UN) World is seeing the greatest number of conflicts since the end of WWII, U.N. says

Two billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population, now lives in conflict-affected areas, according to the United Nations.

An estimated 84 million people were “forcibly displaced because of conflict, violence and human rights violations,” and an estimated 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance due to conflict, the U.N.’s Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday. In remarks to the U.N.’s Peacebuilding Commission, Guterres said the world is experiencing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945, as World War II drew to a close.

Guterres said the world is grappling with the most conflict since 1945, and proposed a plans to bring stability to places such as Yemen, Myanmar, Syria, Sudan and Ukraine.

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Posted in Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Violence

(WSJ) In the Rubble of Kharkiv, Survivors Make Their Stand: ‘It’s a War, and It’s a Dirty War’

In the days since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, shelling and airstrikes have killed hundreds of people in Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million about 20 miles from the Russian border. Residents spend their days and nights huddled in the subway. Above them, explosions devastate their city.

At least 400 high-rise apartment buildings have been hit, Kharkiv city authorities said. Strikes have damaged the art museum, with its collection of famous Russian painters including Repin and Shishkin, and the Korolenko library, which houses priceless manuscripts.

“Everyone is in shock here,” said Ihor Terekhov, the city mayor. “We used to think of the Russians as our brothers. Even in our worst nightmares, we never imagined that they would destroy our city.”

Russia’s attempt to use rapid thrusts by armored columns and assaults by paratroopers and special forces to seize the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and other cities, overthrowing the country’s government, has stalled in the face of fierce resistance. Now, Moscow is resorting to a punishing, wholesale destruction, shelling and bombing residential neighborhoods and historic downtowns.

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Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Church Times) Relief Agencies focus on fleeing Ukrainians, the Largest exodus of refugees in Europe since 1930-45 war

Christian charities and churches are hard at work in Eastern Europe to address the plight of those affected by the war in Ukraine.

More than 2.1 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion on 24 February, according to UN figures on Tuesday, in what is the largest exodus of refugees in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

USPG and the diocese in Europe have put together an emergency appeal to help those caught up in the conflict. Funds are supporting the work of Anglican chaplaincies in neighbouring Poland and Hungary — but also in Western Europe, where many refugees are now arriving.

On Wednesday, the diocese’s Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Caspari, said that the chaplaincies’ community relationships and cross-continent links meant that they were ideally positioned to support refugees. They have been distributing aid, as well as individual grants.

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Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, England / UK, Europe, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Ukraine, Violence

(Church Times) Ukraine invasion: Church leaders and charities react with horror and dismay

Earlier on Thursday morning, the Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, wrote on Twitter: “We wake this morning to the sickening sights and sounds of war. Praying for all in Ukraine, for all who are fearful of what lies ahead and for the minimum possible bloodshed.

“At a time of international crisis, please join me in praying fervently for peace in Ukraine and especially for the wellbeing of our little Anglican community of Christ Church, Kyiv (which meets in the German Evangelical Church of St. Catherine’s).”

Bishop Robert co-ordinated an online prayer vigil on Thursday evening, including the Anglican chaplain in Moscow, the Revd Malcolm Rogers, and members of the Anglican community in Kyiv if it safe for them to do so. A further vigil is being organised by the Diocese in Europe on Shrove Tuesday (1 March) at 6 p.m.

On Thursday afternoon, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, said: “This act of aggression impacts very harmfully on a free, democratic European state and on all the nations of Europe. I exhort you to pray for peace with justice for the people of Ukraine.”

In their statement, the Archbishops invited Christians to “make this Sunday a day for prayer for Ukraine, Russia, and for peace”, and also endorsed Pope Francis’s call to make Ash Wednesday (2 March) a global day of fasting and peace for Ukraine.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Ecumenical Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer, Ukraine, Violence

Archbishop Justin Welby’s Thought for the Day today

To wake up to the news of war is terrible.

To wake up to its reality is orders of magnitude worse.

Shakespeare refers to war as chaos – the loosing of the dogs of war – and calls for one of his characters to cry out the warning about what it means.

Those in the Ukraine will be thinking about their relatives on the front lines, or the friends on the front lines. We are thinking, where is it going to go next? Politicians are thinking, what do we do?

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(WSJ) Ukrainian Refugees Head to Poland, Seeking Safety in EU

Hundreds of Ukrainians poured across this usually sleepy border post on Poland’s edge on Thursday, dragging suitcases and bearing looks of disbelief in what European officials described as the first arrivals of a coming wave of refugees.

The crowd, a procession of mostly young parents with small children in tow, was crossing at a border post that ordinarily attracts a trickle of people stepping into the European Union. On Thursday, buses and minivans were crammed into the small parking lot to pick up Ukrainians who described waiting hours to cross the border and find onward transportation.

“It’s pure chaos here. All our buses are full,” said a bus driver, loading up his vehicle, as an argument broke out between two other drivers managing the throng of customers. “This is just the beginning. People are panicking. Most of our customers are women with children and they are very afraid.”

Poland is already home to between one million and two million Ukrainians. In coming weeks, government officials here expect an additional one million Ukrainians to follow.

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Posted in Children, Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Violence, Women

(Local Paper front page) Domestic violence in South Carolina cost nearly $360M in 2020 – or $1M a day, study says

The financial cost of domestic violence in South Carolina runs to nearly $1 million a day when you add up the burden put on families, courts, law enforcement and the economy, a study conducted by researchers at the University of South Carolina says.

USC economist Dr. Joseph Von Nessen said the spread of domestic violence cost the state approximately $358.4 million in 2020 alone, a sum that victim advocates describe as leaving a “staggering” toll on the state’s health care facilities, businesses, nonprofits and the judicial system.

“Domestic violence does occur in every county in our state,” Von Nessen said Feb. 15 at a Statehouse press conference to discuss details of the findings. “So it is critical for us to make sure that there’s sufficient resources for intervention and support services within reach of all South Carolinians.”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, State Government, Violence

Unanimous backing from C of E Synod for call to protect child survivors of trafficking

The General Synod has given unanimous backing to a call for the Government to ensure the protection of child survivors of trafficking after hearing of fears that the Nationality and Borders Bill could leave more children unprotected and at risk.

Members voted 331 in favour, with no votes against and no abstentions, both to acknowledge the ‘leading role’ that the Government has played internationally in challenging slavery – while calling on the Government to ensure the proper protection of minors who are trafficked and enslaved.

The Synod also voted to encourage all dioceses, deaneries and parishes in the Church of England to raise awareness of modern slavery. Members further called on people to pray for the victims and survivors of slavery and trafficking and all those organisations who work to help and support them.

General Synod member Alistair Bianchi, introducing the debate at the Synod, said progress that had been made in tackling modern slavery and protecting children who have been trafficked risked being endangered as a result of measures in the Nationality and Borders Bill.

There are ‘considerable concerns’ that the lack of attention paid specifically to protecting children in the Bill – currently before Parliament – could have a negative impact both on child survivors of trafficking and children subject to the immigration system who are at risk of exploitation, he told the Synod

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(Morning Star News) Pakistani Pastors Ambushed by Gunmen While Driving from Church

A Church of Pakistan lay pastor was gunned down and a priest wounded by unknown assailants as the leaders drove home from a worship service on Sunday in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, where Christians had suffered their deadliest attack in the country’s history nearly a decade earlier.

Church of Pakistan Bishop of Peshawar Humphrey Peters said that William Siraj, 75, was shot and died instantly in the ambush in the Gulbahar neighborhood, while Patrick Naeem, 55, sustained a bullet wound but was in stable condition. A third church leader in the car was unharmed, he said.

The Protestant church leaders were returning from All Saints Church parish when two gunmen riding a motorcycle intercepted their car and opened fire on them, Peters said.

“Siraj received one bullet in the forehead and one on the arm and died instantly, while Rev. Naeem received a bullet wound in the hand,” he said. “It’s a miracle that Rev. Naeem and another priest escaped the volley of bullets.”

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Posted in Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Guardian) Winchester college society was cult-like, finds report into child abuse

A cult-like evangelical Christian society at a leading private school allowed a powerful and charismatic barrister to groom and sadistically abuse boys with impunity, an investigation has found.

Members of the Christian Forum at Winchester college “showed signs of what would today be described as radicalisation”, said a 197-page review commissioned by the elite school into abuse carried out by John Smyth QC.

The school’s then headteacher, John Thorn, was informed of the abuse in 1982 but did not report it to police. Smyth moved to Zimbabwe, where he abused “as many as 90 boys, possibly resulting in the death of one”, the report said.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

(ACNA) Firm Hired To Investigate Allegations Of Misconduct In Upper Midwest

Husch Blackwell LLP has been elected to serve as the firm contracted to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct and mishandling in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. Husch Blackwell is a national firm and the team engaged for this investigation is based out of their Chicago, Illinois office.

In late June 2021, the Anglican Church in North America was notified that there had been an erosion of trust in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest due to allegations that the Diocese mishandled accusations of sexual misconduct. On July 10, Archbishop Foley Beach announced the Province’s acceptance of a request from the Diocese to take on oversight of the investigation and called for the formation of a Provincial Response Team. The Province is a separate legal entity from the Diocese of the Upper Midwest.

The Provincial Response Team (PRT) of experienced men and women, laity and clergy, began building a process to contract a third-party investigative firm that is trauma-informed, properly experienced, and capable of competently investigating this matter.

The PRT developed a set of criteria, with input from some of the alleged survivors, to vet potential firms. The PRT then began the process of engaging potential investigators based upon those criteria, contacting eleven firms. Out of those contacted, the PRT determined two firms sufficiently met the selection criteria. All alleged survivors known to us were sent the names of these two firms and a summary description of each and were asked to vote or to indicate no preference. These votes, along with the vote of each member of the PRT, resulted in the selection and subsequent engagement of Husch Blackwell. The Province is grateful for the time and energy the other firms gave to us as the PRT considered them.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Martin Luther King Jr. in the Christian Century how I changed my Mind series in 1960–My Pilgrimage to nonviolence

I also came to see that liberalism’s superficial optimism concerning human nature caused it to overlook the fact that reason is darkened by sin. The more I thought about human nature the more I saw how our tragic inclination for sin causes us to use our minds to rationalize our actions. Liberalism failed to see that reason by itself is little more than an instrument to justify man’s defensive ways of thinking. Reason, devoid of the purifying power of faith, can never free itself from distortions and rationalizations.

In spite of the fact that I had to reject some aspects of liberalism, I never came to an all-out acceptance of neo-orthodoxy. While I saw neo-orthodoxy as a helpful corrective for a liberalism that had become all too sentimental, I never felt that it provided an adequate answer to the basic questions. If liberalism was too optimistic concerning human nature, neo-orthodoxy was too pessimistic. Not only on the question of man but also on other vital issues, neo-orthodoxy went too far in its revolt. In its attempt to preserve the transcendence of God, which had been neglected by liberalism’s overstress of his immanence, neo-orthodoxy went to the extreme of stressing a God who was hidden, unknown and “wholly other.” In its revolt against liberalism’s overemphasis on the power of reason, neo-orthodoxy fell into a mood of antirationalism and semifundamentalism, stressing a narrow, uncritical biblicism. This approach, I felt, was inadequate both for the church and for personal life.

So although liberalism left me unsatisfied on the question of the nature of man, I found no refuge in neo-orthodoxy. I am now convinced that the truth about man is found neither in liberalism nor in neo-orthodoxy. Each represents a partial truth. A large segment of Protestant liberalism defined man only in terms of his essential nature, his capacity for good. Neo-orthodoxy tended to define man only in terms of his existential nature, his capacity for evil. An adequate understanding of man is found neither in the thesis of liberalism nor in the antithesis of neo-orthodoxy, but in a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Local Paper) The needed Voice of a local Hero—The Rev. Anthony Thompson’s message of forgiveness shaped by tragedy, MLK

‘“It’s ‘You can’t destroy my spirit,’” Cone told the magazine. ”‘I have a forgiving spirit because that’s what God created me to be.’”

Thompson’s message doesn’t let Whites off the hook. White people must repent, he said. Though today’s White Americans haven’t participated in slavery, they reap the benefits, which are seen in today’s social and economic inequities, Thompson said.

Thompson, who was the speaker for this year’s MLK ecumenical service at Greater St. Luke AME on Jan. 16, sees a connection between his message and King’s philosophy of nonviolence. In his sermon “The Meaning of Forgiveness,” King preached that he saw forgiveness as the solution to the nation’s “race problem.” King saw forgiveness as a “weapon of social redemption.”

Similar to King, Thompson feels that forgiveness can bring about racial healing.

“Martin Luther King Jr. once said: ‘We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love,’” Thompson said at the service.’

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Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Economist) Hindu bigots are openly urging Indians to murder Muslims

All hindus must pick up weapons and conduct a cleanliness drive,” bellowed a Hindu priest at a three-day “religious parliament” in north India last month. Another speaker fired up the large crowd even more crudely: “If a hundred of us become soldiers and kill two million of them, we will be victorious.” By “them”, she meant India’s 200m Muslims.

Those priests baying for blood are not isolated bigots. Under the Hindu-nationalist government of Narendra Modi, the world’s most populous democracy has seen a growing wave of intolerance. In Gurgaon, a satellite city of Delhi, Muslims have been denied the use of open space to pray because it “offends sentiments”. They have also been denied permission to build mosques. Elsewhere Muslims accused of transporting cattle for slaughter, or of being in possession of beef, are sometimes lynched. Muslim businesses are boycotted. In recent months young Hindu radicals have persecuted high-profile Muslim women by creating apps to “auction” them off.

Muslims are not the only target of Hindu chauvinism. In Varanasi, a Hindu temple town, posters warn non-Hindus to stay away. Attacks on Christians, a tiny minority, have risen in recent years. Last week, after Mr Modi, the prime minister, was briefly delayed on an overpass in Sikh-majority Punjab, people associated with his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp) warned darkly of a repeat of 1984, when thousands of Sikhs were killed in pogroms after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. In an index of societal discrimination against minorities compiled by Bar Ilan University in Israel, India scores worse than Saudi Arabia and no better than Iran. It is impossible to know the number of hate crimes in the country: independent trackers were shut down in 2017 and 2019, and the government stopped collecting data in 2017.

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Posted in Hinduism, India, Islam, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Economist) As violent crime leaps, liberal cities rethink cutting police budgets

In the days after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020, protesters took to the streets across America. They urged cities to “defund the police”, and politicians listened. Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, called for his department’s budget to be cut by up to $150m. London Breed, San Francisco’s mayor, announced that she would “redirect funding from the sfpd to support the African-American community”. City councils in Oakland and Portland, Oregon, among other cities across America, approved budgets that cut police funding.

That trend has reversed. Portland and Oakland increased police funding to hire more officers. The Los Angeles Police Department’s budget will get a 12% boost. Last month Ms Breed vowed to “take steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement” and “less tolerant of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city”. Why such a stark reversal, and what does it mean for the future of criminal-justice reform?

The first question is easy to answer. Though crime overall did not rise during the pandemic, the type people fear most—murders and shootings—did, and the surge has not abated. Over three decades from 1990, America’s homicide rate fell steeply (see chart). From 2019 to 2020, however, the rate had its highest-ever year-on-year rise, of nearly 30%, followed by a further rise in 2021. More than three-quarters of the murders were committed with guns. In Oakland, 133 people were murdered in 2021, more than in any year since 2006, and almost 600 more were shot but not killed. Portland was one of at least 16 American cities that set all-time homicide records last year.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., City Government, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Fantastic London Times Profile Piece on Congolese Doctor and Pentecostal Pastor Denis Mukwege

In the past seven years tens of thousands of Yazidis kept as sex slaves by Isis fighters, girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Rohingya women dragged from their huts and gang-raped by Burmese soldiers, have courageously come forward and told their stories, yet there has only been a single prosecution.

No one is better qualified to write about the situation than this astonishingly brave Congolese gynaecological surgeon. His Panzi hospital in eastern Congo has treated more than 60,000 raped women and girls over the past 20 years. Some arrive so damaged that he has carried out multiple operations to try to reconstruct them.

One of the most heroic men I have ever met, Mukwege literally risks his life to save women. After a series of threats and assassination attempts, he lives almost as a prisoner on the hospital site, guarded by UN peacekeepers.

Far from being supported by the Congolese state, he does all of this in the face of a government so craven it tried to fine him $20,000 for collecting rainwater on the hospital roof, insisting that rain belongs to the state.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Africa, Books, Health & Medicine, Republic of Congo, Sexuality, Terrorism, Violence, Women

An Ad Clerum on Domestic Violence from Bishop Martyn Minns

It all began with a knock at the kitchen door at the Truro rectory. Standing there were two women. I recognized one of them as “Karen,” a long-time, active member of the congregation, but I didn’t know the other woman standing with her. I did notice, however, that she looked as if she had been crying.

“Angela, it’s for you!” I called, and invited them in. After a few more brief words, I retreated upstairs to my study, while Angela listened to their story.

They were next-door neighbors in a nearby apartment complex. “Maria” was a recent immigrant, she and her husband both refugees from Eastern Europe. He was an angry and abusive man, and Karen had heard their arguments through the walls of the apartments. Sometimes she heard the sounds of violence. She had knocked on their door a couple of times to ask if all was well, and they had reassured her that it was. Karen had thought about speaking to the police, but she knew that Maria would have been alarmed at that, so she kept quiet and kept praying. But this night was different. The sounds of violence were more intense and the screams more piercing, and then their door slammed and there was silence and muffled sobs. Karen went to their door and this time Maria couldn’t hide the nightmare. Her husband had stormed out, carrying a gun, and she was terrified. Unsure about the best way forward, Karen had brought Maria to us. We would know what to do!

Angela listened and prayed and then invited them both to spend the night in our guest room. We would deal with next steps in the morning.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

(Church Times) Cultural change is needed at Titus Trust, says independent review

A narrow focus on public schools, a hierarchical structure in which Bible teachers enjoyed greater levels of authority, and a lack of diversity among its leaders, drawn from the conservative Evangelical wing of the Church of England, are among the factors that have increased the risk of abuse at holiday camps run by the Titus Trust, an independent review concludes.

The review, carried out by Thirtyone:eight, an independent Christian safeguarding charity, and published in full on Wednesday, was commissioned by the trust in the wake of revelations about abuse perpetrated by a former chairman of the Iwerne Trust (now part of the Titus Trust), John Smyth (News, 10 February 2017, 27 August). It focuses mainly on the past five years, and responses come largely from current leaders on holidays, campers, current staff, and supporters. Visits to camps were also undertaken this summer.

It notes that “a significant amount of contributors were happy with the culture of the trust and its camps and did not have any issues with how they had been treated, nor any concerns about safeguarding,” but cautions that few responses were received from young people who had stopped going on the holidays.

The report explores nine themes, commenting that “some of these are not problematic in themselves, but it is the way in which they interrelate which increases the potential for abuse occurring.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Violence

(Church Times) Evangelicals encouraged to engage in soul-searching after abuse

The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has published material intended to initiate conversations about “issues of culture, power and abuse” within its constituency.

The materials, published on Wednesday, are “designed to help Evangelical churches review, repent and reshape their cultures on the back of the recent Thirtyone:eight independent reviews into two prominent Evangelical churches and their leaders”, a press release says.

The reviews to which it refers are those of Emmanuel Proprietary Chapel, Ridgway, in Wimbledon and the Revd Jonathan Fletcher (News, 26 March), and the Crowded House, a non-denominational Evangelical church in Sheffield, at which “some instances of emotional and/or psychological abuse took place as a result of persistent coercive and controlling behaviour”.

The resources include an introductory film and a “liturgy of lament” for churches to use. There is also a booklet, Church Cultures Review Questions, which contains more than 100 questions for churches.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Deseret News) ‘We can change the air that abusers breathe’: How faith communities are addressing domestic violence

They looked like the poster couple for faith and family. He was a successful professional, who provided for his wife and children and led them in prayer. She was a stay-at-home mom with a leadership position in their religious community. They seemed to exemplify how great a life rooted in belief could be.

But behind closed doors, Amy, who asked to be identified by a pseudonym, endured years of spiritual abuse as her husband turned aspects of her faith against her.

Shortly after they married, Amy says, her husband became obsessed with the idea that she wasn’t telling him the truth about her past. He forced her to pray with him about it. Constantly. He insisted she share with him every detail of her unmarried life.

After these discussions, he would manipulate and coerce his physically and emotionally exhausted wife into having sex. Only later did she realize the pattern amounted to sexual abuse, though he claimed he was driven by love and a desire to make their relationship perfect and eternal.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Islam, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Men, Mormons, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(NYT front page) The Woman on the Bridge Police and prosecutors spent five years chasing a domestic violence case. Would it be enough?

Frustration was nothing new, not for any of them. Ms. Burns, who specializes in domestic violence, describes the criminal justice response to these crimes as ineffectual, like “putting Band-Aids on bullet wounds.” She spends much of her time scraping for evidence that can be admitted in court, but so many of the assaults she prosecutes take place behind closed doors, she said, that not guilty verdicts are common.

Ms. Neal’s suicide — the way she had slipped away from them — made this failure different, more agonizing.

“From the criminal justice side of it, we had a piece of paper telling Nelson not to contact her, that’s what we had,” Ms. Burns said. In domestic violence cases, she added, “the dynamics and the history are too deep” to be altered by “a piece of paper from a judge.”

Domestic violence cases are so challenging that some experts, like Rachel Teicher of John Jay College’s National Network for Safe Communities, argue that arrests and prosecutions are simply inadequate as a response, and should be supplemented with other kinds of interventions.

Perpetrators and victims become accustomed to a cycle — charges dismissed or reduced, restraining orders violated — and conclude, she said, that “these are systems I don’t have to take all that seriously.”

“The folks at the front lines are often using every tool they can,” she said. “Sometimes our tool kit isn’t big enough.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Psychology, Suicide, Violence, Women

(NBC) Mental Health ‘Bootcamp’ Helping Veterans Struggling With PTSD

‘Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital program, is helping veterans access therapy and critical mental health care. NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden speaks with a psychologist who helps run the program, and two veterans who took part in a two-week intensive program funded by the Wounded Warrior project.’

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Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Violence

The Archbishop of York’s Sermon for White Ribbon Sunday

And, of course, we don’t need to look far. Jesus models for us a very different attitude to women. The way he treated women and responded to them was radically different to the prevailing culture of his day and deeply shocking to many who encountered him.

It is likely that many women travelled with him in the wider band of his disciples.

Martha and Mary were his friends and he was a welcome guest in their house.

When he was thirsty, he asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. We can’t realise how scandalous this was. Not only was he approaching a woman in a way that was unacceptable in his time, it was a Samaritan woman, whose religious beliefs were anathema to the Jews. In this way, Jesus crossed boundaries and broke, and challenged those cultural and religious traditions that not only excluded women, but also enabled them to be treated as property and dealt with in the same negligent and wilfully violent way.

Then, we have this beautiful story of Jesus honouring and receiving the kindness of the woman who anoints him, shaming the men who had welcomed him in by her profound care born. I suppose, of her thankfulness to him and her recognition of what she saw in him, nothing less than a different way of being human – a different way of being a man (see Mark 14. 3-9).

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sexuality, Violence

(Reuters) Uganda’s president Museveni calls for East African leaders’ summit to discuss Ethiopia conflict

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has called an East African bloc leaders’ meeting on Nov. 16 to discuss the conflict in Ethiopia, a senior foreign affairs ministry official said on Thursday.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Politics in General, Uganda, Violence

(CC) Philip Jenkins–The war for Africa’s holy land

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa. It is also a vibrant and expansive center of Christianity: the present Christian population of 80 million is on track to double by 2060, placing Ethiopia far ahead of any European nation. The Orthodox make up 44 percent of Ethiopia, and 22 percent are evangelicals or “Pentays”—Pentecostals. Some 31 percent are Muslims.

But religion is by no means the only factor dividing the country, which is a patchwork of ethnic, tribal, and linguistic groupings. From 1975 through 1991, those diverse populations allied to resist and ultimately overthrow a savage communist dictatorship. After liberation, one of the most powerful ethnic groups seceded to form the new nation of Eritrea. The remaining groups cooperated, somewhat tensely, to rule the restored Ethiopia. That coalition was dominated by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which effectively held power until 2018. The TPLF was then displaced by the new regime headed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has won golden opinions as a peacemaker. In 2019, he received the Nobel Prize for promoting peace with Eritrea. As a faithful Pentay, Abiy Ahmed represents that sizable and fast-growing share of the population.

But despite initial hopes, the country has descended rapidly into turmoil. As the TPLF became ever more disaffected, violence erupted with Ethiopian armed forces, and in 2020, a full-scale Tigray War was in progress. Ethiopian forces seeking to impose their rule on Tigray were assisted by allied Eritrean regulars, and also by some lethal ethnic militias. Massacres and atrocities mounted.

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Posted in Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, History, Military / Armed Forces, Violence

(CBS) Saturday Morning encouragement–Some Louisiana Fathers transform life at a local school

‘When an SOS went up at a troubled Louisiana high school, who answered the call? A bunch of dads. Steve Hartman shares the story in “On the Road.”‘

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Posted in Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Men, Violence

(NYT front page) Boko Haram Wanes, and a Nigerian City Is Fearful

For over a decade, the extremist group Boko Haram has terrorized northeastern Nigeria — killing tens of thousands of people, kidnapping schoolgirls and sending suicide bombers into busy marketplaces.

Now, thousands of Boko Haram fighters have surrendered, along with their family members, and are being housed by the government in a compound in the city of Maiduguri, the group’s birthplace and its frequent target.

The compound is next to a middle-class housing development and a primary school, terrifying residents, teachers and parents.

“We are very afraid,” said Maimouna Mohammed, a teacher at the primary school, glancing at the camp’s wall 50 yards from her classroom. “We don’t know their minds.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(C of E) An update on timing for the John Smyth Review from the National Safeguarding Team

Read it all and for background please see there.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence, Youth Ministry

(NBC) Boko Haram Kidnapping Survivors Now Pursuing Graduate Degrees To Help Others

“Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu were among the hundreds of girls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram in Nigeria. After escaping, both women have now graduated from Florida’s Southeastern University and plan to pursue graduate degrees. They’re determined to be a voice for those still missing.”

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Posted in Education, Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence, Women, Young Adults