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.
For the second Meaningful Voices Book Club, FaithTrust Institute has selected UNCOVERED: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home by Leah Lax (She Writes Press, 2015). The online book discussion will take place on March 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm PT/8:30 pm ET. Our discussion leaders will be Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, Toby Myers, and author Leah Lax.
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.
Rev. M.L. Daniel, Program Manager of FaithTrust Institute, was selected to participate in the prestigious Novo Foundation's Move to End Violence Program. This two-year cohort of Movement Makers is working to strengthen, innovate and transform the organizations that are already working to address the epidemic of violence against girls and women.
The United Church of Christ presented the Antoinette Brown Award to FaithTrust Institute trainer Rev. Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis, as well as Rev. Traci Blackmon,of Christ the King UCC in Florissant, Mo,. and RevGalBlogPals for their inspiring work.
On June 6, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church hosted a training by FaithTrust Institute on ending domestic violence. Sharon Hachtman, a deaconess and nurse, spoke about her experience working with survivors and the role that faith communities can play in ending domestic violence.
FaithTrust Institute is delighted to announce that M.L. Daniel, our Program Manager, has been selected by NoVo Foundation as one of 20 new Movement Makers in the Move to End Violence Program, a 10-year program to strengthen leaders and organizations, and build a breakthrough movement to end violence against girls and women in the United States.
"Religion and Men's Violence Against Women," edited by Andy J. Johnson of Bethel University, addresses domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in diverse religious communities including Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Eastern, and Indigenous traditions.
Opportunity to Participate: Baylor University, in collaboration with Hope of Survivors and the Grant Me the Wisdom Foundation, has launched a research study on the experiences of survivors of clergy abuse and misconduct.
Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune will participate in Luther Seminary's 2015 Sexual Violence Awareness Week activities, including a public lecture. The keynote lecture, entitled "What's Wrong with Rape?" will take place on April 14 at 7 pm in the Olson Campus Center, Chapel of the Incarnation (1490 Fulham St, St. Paul MN). The lecture is free and open to the public.
Rev. Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis spoke with Black Press USA about sexual assault, the Black community and the role of the church. Rev. Davis Ellis will present a webinar with FaithTrust Institute on March 25, 2015 called "Battered African American Women: An Examination of Gender Entrapment".
JUST RELEASED: 26th Edition of the Annotated Bibliography of Clergy Sexual Abuse and Sexual Boundary Violations in Religious CommunitiesFeb 18, 2015 — Categories: Current Events, Clergy Ethics, Clergy Ethics & Healthy Boundaries, Sexual Abuse by Clergy
This epic undertaking by James Evinger is an encompassing resource that includes non-fiction books, academic journals, law reviews, newspapers, websites, broadcast materials, etc. Over 1,300 pages in length, this is an invaluable resource for academics, as well as faith communities.