About the Author: Chaplain Susan J. Katz, MA, Spiritual Health Practitioner, Musician
Susan is a hospital Chaplain providing secular as well as faith-based services to people of all genders and abilities. She has served in care homes, correctional facilities, urban health and addictions treatment centres in both the United States and Canada. Susan lives in Vancouver, Canada, and is a Professional Member of the Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, and an Associate Member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. Susan’s writing and music can be found on her Web/Blog: The Compassionate Oboe
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On yesterday, we lost a woman of faith, a courageous warrior, mother, grandmother (Big Mama), advocate, friend, trailblazer, leader, and visionary. She had big dreams and the ability to convince others to dream big with her, as she pursued her passion of helping others.
More than 500 faith leaders and organizations have signed a letter asking Congress to close the loopholes that allow abusers to own guns, endangering the lives of domestic violence and stalking victims. ON MAY 18th, JOIN OUR NATIONAL FAITH CALL-IN DAY ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND GUNS, AND TELL CONGRESS THAT IT’S TIME TO ACT ON LEGISLATION TO PROTECT ALL WOMEN FROM GUN VIOLENCE AT THE HANDS OF DANGEROUS ABUSERS.
For our summer Meaningful Voices Online Book Club, we've selected The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Harper Perennial, 2012).
Our next Teaching Healthy Boundaries 101 & 201 class is tentatively scheduled during the week of October 10 in Atlanta, GA. The course is an in-person training created for those who are designated by their judicatory or organization to train clergy and spiritual teachers about healthy boundaries.
The weeklong Jewish festival of Passover will be observed this month, beginning at sunset on April 22nd. Passover has many descriptive names, including ‘The Feast of Freedom’ because of its many interwoven foundational stories of liberation from abuse and oppression.
We offer an excerpt from Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune's essay "The Transformation of Suffering." as a meditation for Easter. "For the Christian, the theology of the cross and the resurrection provides insight into the meaning and suffering, and transformation. God did not send Jesus to the cross as a test of his faith, as punishment for his sins, or to build his character. The Romans crucified Jesus and made him a victim of overt and deadly anti-Semitic violence. It was a devastating experience for Jesus’ followers who watched him murdered. They were overwhelmed by fear, despair and meaninglessness. They left the scene of the crucifixion feeling abandoned and betrayed by God. The resurrection and subsequent events were the surprising realization that in the midst of profound suffering, God is present and new life is possible.
Peaceful Families Project, an initiative of United Muslim Relief, is holding a National Imam's Domestic Violence Workshop on APRIL 16-17, 2016 in Alexandria, VA. The two-day workshop will be led by Imam Mohamed Magid and Salma Abuigideiri.
Join us for events at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) sponsored by our friends and partners
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, a contemporary master hymn writer, has written a hymn called "God of Love, We've Heard the Teaching" inspired by a FaithTrust Institute training in October that was sponsored by a grant from InFaith Community Foundation.
The United Church of Christ (UCC), in collaboration with FaithTrust Institute, has created a discussion guide to address the serious issues for faith communities raised by the movie Spotlight.
Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, founder and senior analyst of FaithTrust Institute, was interviewed by Bob Smietana of the Washington Post for an article on domstic violence within faith communities. The issues raised by Naghmeh Abedini, wife of previously imprisoned Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, has forced many to examine the silence surrounding domestic abuse.
The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth featured FaithTrust Institute and our sister organization, Peaceful Families Project, in an article about connecting with faith communities to better serve victims of domestic violence.
UNCOVERED: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home by Leah Lax is our March online book choice! Join us on March 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm PT/8:30 pm ET.
In a well-known poem, the writer Madeleine L’Engle describes Advent as “the irrational season/when love blooms bright and wild.” I love this idea. It flies in the face of “the reason for the season” that often obscures the deeper meanings of these dark, cold, silent nights. The crankiness that descends upon me when the gauntlet that is the holidays begins is not irrational. It arrives on Black Friday, that monument to greed and the good deal the day after Thanksgiving. It is more than the commercialism (although that is horrific), the marketing ploys to start holiday sales in July or to garner social credit by not being open on Thanksgiving. Nor the images of shoppers duking it out over mammoth toys. No. The hoopla that surrounds these not-so-holy days reanimates powerful myths of perfection. Perfect family, perfect home, perfect tradition. If I am not mindful and diligent, the holidays, or rather my anticipation of the holidays, puts me, a survivor of violence, into an entirely rational horror film frame of mind.
On December 10, 2015, Human Rights Day, United Methodist Women released a video that chronicles the history of Church Center of the United Nations, and it's role as a place to bring women of faith together to create global change. This remarkable place wouldn't be possible without the work of many people, and we at FaithTrust Institute are honored to partner with United Methodist Women in their mission to empower women and work for justice.
The eight day Festival of Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, Sunday evening 12/06/15. The holiday commemorates the improbable Maccabean victory despite the overwhelming forces of Antiochus. The story goes that only one small cruse of oil, enough for one day, was found to celebrate and the cruse miraculously burned in the Temple menorah for eight days. In commemoration of that event, Hanukkah candles are lit each night for eight nights.
In January, 2016 FaithTrust Institute is launching the Meaningful Voices Book Club. Featuring books by significant voices in the field of violence against women, FaithTrust Institute will convene an online, bi-monthly webinar and chat with Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, authors and colleagues. The Meaningful Voices Book Club is designed to foster conversations between advocates, clergy, divinity students, and lay leaders on the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence and the ramifications of violence on individuals, our faith communities, and the wider culture.
Rita Gross, feminist theologian, scholar of women and religion, and Buddhist teacher, died on November 11, 2015 in her home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She will be missed. Those of us fortunate enough to know her will remember her great spirit and her pathbreaking work.
Diana Garland was a trusted colleague in ministry. We collaborated on efforts to address clergy misconduct and abuse. She did ground-breaking and much needed research with survivors that helped fill out the picture of this all too widespread problem. As is apparent in her obituary, she did not take “no” for an answer when it came to finding ways to serve the needs of people regardless of their faith. Her persistence in insisting that social work and religion had to work together has helped to change the field. This is good news for victims and survivors of abuse. Diana will be greatly missed by students, colleagues and the church. Thanks be to God for the legacy she leaves. - Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
United Methodist Women, in collaboration with FaithTrust Institute, has sponsored Conference trainings across the country to assist lay leaders and churches in addressing domestic violence. The most recent training was with the Iowa Conference. It combined education about the theological issues that impact victims/survivors of abuse, as well as resources for individuals to make a difference in the lives of victims, and in creating positive change.