From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Societal Violence Initiative Team Gets

Date 04 May 1996 19:49:43


95430         Societal Violence Initiative Team Gets 
                     under Way in Louisville 
                         by Julian Shipp 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Charged with tackling the issue of violence in society, 
and particularly violence against women, the newly organized Presbyterian 
Church (U.S.A.) Societal Violence Initiative Team gathered here Nov. 2-5 
for its first meeting. 
     Appointed in July by the General Assembly Council (GAC), the 
seven-member team searched for ways to help Presbyterians work toward 
contributing to a society that is increasingly violence free. The work of 
the team was envisioned for a two-year period with the first year focusing 
on violence against women, the next year to include broader issues of 
societal violence. 
     The Rev. James Poling, a team member and professor of pastoral 
theology and counseling at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, 
N.Y., said "congregations can help educate their members to support women 
who face daily danger of physical, sexual and psychological violence."  
     As part of its agenda, the team visited the Center for Women and 
Families in Louisville, Ky., one of the largest domestic violence shelters 
for women in the United States. There they spoke to domestic violence 
survivors and learned about programs that respond to the needs of battered 
and abused females from 5 months to 93 years. 
     "Women of all ages are victims of  violence both in the church and 
society," said  Kristine Thompson, team co-chair and executive director of 
Calvary Women's Shelter in Washington, D.C.  "I am particularly encouraged 
that our team will be addressing violence against young women and 
      Thompson said the team's goal is "to engage congregations on ways to 
prevent violence against women through education, awareness-raising, and 
empowerment of women and men for action." She said the team also will 
engage and encourage middle governing bodies, PC(USA) networks, and 
ecumenical partners as part of its work. 
     "Violence against women, which comes in many forms, has been ignored 
by the church and society as a whole," said team member the Rev. Thelma 
Burgonio-Watson of the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic 
Violence in Seattle. 
     "It is exciting to have our church raise up these issues of violence 
against women," said team co-chair Regina Thomas, an attorney and advocate 
for battered women in Palo Alto, Calif.  
     Other team members include Maria L.Yee of Stockton, Calif.; GAC member 
Virginia (Jinny) K. Miller of Mishawaka, Ind.; Ernest S. Edwards, Jr., 
associate executive presbyter of Louisville Presbytery in Louisville, Ky.; 
and the Rev. Susan H. Craig, associate director for women's ministries in 
the National Ministries Division and staff coordinator for the antiviolence 
initiative. Elected liaisons and staff representatives from the 
Congregational, National, and Worldwide Ministries Divisions also support 
the team's work. 
     In  upcoming months, the team will be seeking to learn of 
congregations, presbyteries and synods that have already been involved in 
educational programs designed to raise awareness about and prevent violence 
against women. 
     Information about such programs should be sent to the Rev. David 
Zuverink, associate for health ministries U.S.A. in the National Ministries 
Division and one of the national staff members working with the team, at 
100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, Ky. 40202-1396. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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