Two weeks ago I encouraged all of our Alaska UM's to join one of Governor Parnell's "Choose Respect" rallies. There were 64 of them on March 31 across the state. I was in worship at Willow UMC recently and Pastor Dan Lush brought a willow walking stick with a sign on it reading "Methodists Choose Respect." He had marched in a rally in Talkeetna and was sharing it with the congregation.
I had intended to ask Dan to borrow his sign for the upcoming Anchorage rally but forgot in the midst of an energizing after worship fellowship time. So Crystal Feaster created a similar sign which I took to the Anchorage rally. Walking with other UM's from First UMC, Anchorage, community members, and the governor it was an enlightening time as we listened to stories of abuse and violence inside the walls of Alaska homes. Sixty percent of Alaska women have suffered some sort of abuse. We rank #1 in the nation with abuse and violence done to children, women, and men in our homes. It is not confined to one social or economic class.
I stood there in the cold and wondered how prevalent this problem is in our United Methodist homes. Do you know someone who is trapped in the cycle of abuse either as a victim or a perpetrator? I thought about God's desires and clearly this Choose Respect movement is aligned with God values. So I encourage us all to focus some of the light of God's healing love and justice on this issue. Help is available. Healing can begin today!
To see the photo that appeared on the front page of the Anchorage Daily News click on this link. Notice our sign just to the left of the cross.