Whereas many kinds of violence and abuse are addressed both in the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church and in the Book of Resolutions. (Book of Discipline)
Whereas abuse within family or other close relations are hidden and covered in shame and feelings of guilt.
Whereas many of our societies experience that rape is a relevant danger, especially for women, and too often without consequences for the abuser.
The Social Principles state: “We encourage the Church to provide a safe environment, counsel, and support for the victim.”
A congregation or a small group can be such an open and safe environment where the victim can find support, and where God’s love and healing are possible.
A crucial point in doing this is to speak about and address violence and abuse. To acknowledge that such abuse takes place, to be clear that the victim is not to blame, to create environments where the stories of the victims can be told, and to actively work against such kinds of abuse is a part of the ministry of the Church.
As the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference, gathered in Fredrikstad October 2016, we encourage
- all congregations to talk about such abuse to create a safe environment, to support the victims and to prevent abuse to happen.
- all annual conferences to provide seminars etc. on sexual abuse to pastors, deacons and others giving pastoral counselling in the church and who receive the victims in the counselling-room.
- the cabinets in our church to be in front in addressing the issues of violence and abuse.
Approved by the Central Conference 2016