Last Friday an ecumenical group of church leaders were invited to meet with the governor about the high rate of domestic violence offenses in Alaska. He wanted to hear from us about ways to address this serious problem. It was noted that this issue is present in both our rural villages, small towns, and big cities. He told us that if you were ride in an Anchorage police car for an evening that 60% of the calls would be related to domestic violence.
Our ecumenical group had met before and had created a religion map of Alaska which we presented to Governor Parnell. Truth be told it was my idea and Crystal's work. It lists every town or village in Alaska in table format with the number of denominations present. You can check it out by clicking on this link to our web site. http://www.alaskaumc.org/storage/AlaskaReligionMap.pdf
We agreed to do what we could apart from what state government is doing. We plan on creating a simple statement that reflects our scriptural principles about the dignity and respect of all people. We are in strong agreement with recent TV ads with the message that "Real Alaskans Choose Respect."
So I encourage pastors to consider preaching a sermon on this subject. You might post a help line number in your restrooms. Include those hurt by domestic violence in pastoral prayers. The sad truth is that there are people in our churches who are afraid to talk about this family secret. We feel that awareness is an important step in bringing the healing love of God to families in need.
Grace and peace,