I first learned about CONNECT when I took a course last year as a divinity student at Union Theological Seminary called "Responding to Domestic Violence in Communities of Faith." By the end of the semester I was convinced I needed to work with CONNECT because I began to see that discussions around domestic violence were largely absent from the Christian faith community. Through this class I came to realize that the church is in a unique position to address intimate violence and that clergy and lay leaders need to learn how to respond to both survivors and abusers and recognize the ways in which certain theologies perpetuate intimate violence. I thank Sally and Q, CONNECT’S Co-Executive Directors, for teaching this course with insight, care, and understanding.
CONNECT provides an amazing source of support and strength to faith communities by working with them to develop their own response to intimate violence. They provide customized training for faith groups, advice on changing theologies (beliefs and practices) that lead to abuse, and assistance in developing religious programs and policies.
I began interning with CONNECT in September of this year and I have participated in CONNECT’S Child Abuse Training, Domestic Violence Essentials, Vicarious Trauma, and Women’s Empowerment. As a Baptist Minister these trainings have been invaluable and I feel well-prepared to work with local churches next semester and the years to come to help them address intimate violence in their communities. I am so grateful that CONNECT continues to bring awareness to the causes of intimate violence, provides support to individuals impacted by intimate violence, and advocates to change policies that affect both survivors and perpetrators of intimate violence. The work they are doing is critical.