We are usually passive in church; we accept what is said and done. Culture, the military, the church hierarchy; they silence us, and we do not want to see that, and we are angry. But we do the same: we preach and teach on peace and justice as if other people should make it happen. We must stop being silent, for that it is active and colludes with power. Domestic violence is not far from our society: it is all over. Church institutions, and even congregations, may be unwilling for pastoral violence to be spoken of in public, preferring silence, especially where the minister is seen, and wishes so to be seen, by members as their family head. It was interesting to discover, when travelling across India recently, that there are seminaries in which at least one ordained male member of staff was known to hit his wife regularly. None were disciplined. Complicity is thus not merely that of the pastor, but indirectly his people, this seminary, that denomination.
If we are silent, (in this space within our own tent ed:) we support making a difference between Gods children, and that is sin.
Silence, Collusion and Sin: Domestic Violence among Christians. Madang, Vol. 15 (June, 2011), 49-74 Elizabeth Koepping
Bad Faithed is a movement which was birthed in a symposium held at Westminster College part of the Federation of Theological Colleges at the University of Cambridge. A small gathering of a dozen, with three Anglican Bishops (two female, and one male), four female survivors of domestic abuse and loss of tied housing due to the collapse of their former marriages, three theologians, a sociologist of religion and a representative of the next generation of theological students now entering into the Anglican Church. Over the course of the day we wrestled with some of the issues emerging from the testimony which was brought through sound recording, video and those present in the room.
Some of the questions arising from the question – Is tied housing a blessing or a curse with regard to Domestic Abuse ?
We explored the silence surrounding the situation behind the manse/vicarage door when it is closed – despite the gold fish bowl effect which many spoke of.
To the question implicit in the provocation – what is the extent of Ecclesial Domestic and Child Abuse we had a forest of more questions?
Who can tell?
Who is speaking?
Who is listening?
who is counting?
What happens when silence is broken around abuse and violence?
Who is counting the cost?
What is Ecclesial domestic abuse? Financial, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual abuse in the Ecclesial home.
What are the resources to respond?
Do we need more of the same, or a transformation?
Is the Ecclesial system complicit? and in what way?
Where are the partners who will assist churches to step up to the challenge?
Are churches’ responses gendered? and if so is there a gender equitable response?
What are the impediments to rethinking the model if deemed complicit to silence?
What lessons can be learnt from other institutions with tied housing at the heart of their service delivery model?
How to build better systems going forward
The inaugural Conference of BadFaithed is on the 4th October 2018 at Bloomsbury Baptist Church in Central London.
We have a wonderful range of speakers and panels lined up to enlighten us as to what is going on currently in this area of Ecclesial domestic abuse, and how the resources to respond appropriately need to be lined up. Looking forward to you being with us, and to bringing an organisational representative to come along to further inform the initial responses underway in our churches and faith organisations.
Find out more on our Events page