Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
There are so many people suffering silently and they think the church doesn’t care. But the church does care, and that’s why this initiative is on our denomination’s world calender.
Seventh-day Adventist world church leaders are calling on all Adventist congregations to designate a portion of their August 23 church service to mark the EndItNow Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day.
The Adventist Church’s annual day of emphasis brings awareness to the issues of domestic violence, sexual abuse and other forms of mistreatment. Church leaders are also urging members and others in the community to sign an online petition for world leaders to endorse EndItNow as global campaign.
A resource packet is being made available for this year’s theme, “Freedom in Relationships”. The resources were written by Family Ministries co-directors Elaine and Willie and Oliver, who are calling for more Adventist congregations to join the international initiative.
”We urge every local church to observe this EndItNow day,” said Willie Oliver. “Abuse in families, even in the church, is a sad reality we must confront with compassion, awareness and education.”
Women’s Ministries director Heather-Dawn Small also reinforced the need for local churches to feature the initiative.
“There are so many people suffering silently and they think the church doesn’t care. But the church does care, and that’s why this initiative is on our denomination’s world calendar,” she said.
Small also said she encounters women whose abusers justify their behavior biblically.
“That is a wrong use of the word of God, and we need to get that straighten out,” Small said.
The EndItNow initiative is jointly sponsored by nine Adventist world church departments and entities: Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, Adventist Review, Children’s Ministries, Education, Family Ministries, Health Ministries, the Ministerial Association, Women’s Ministries and Youth Ministries.
The Adventist Church has held the Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day the fourth Saturday of August since 2001.
Some regions of the world church have turned the initiative into massive community demonstrations, while other regions hold an additional campaign during another time of the year.
Church leaders overseeing the EndItNow initiative have rotated through several themes over the years to underscore the need for recognising varying forms of abuse. In May, the leaders at the denomination’s headquarters and North American Division held a weekend workshop to train first responders in local congregations. Their goal is to have a trained responder in each Adventist congregation worldwide.