Churches grapple with whether to welcome convicted sex offenders
"All are welcome" is a common phrase on many a church sign and Web site. But what happens when a convicted sex offender is at the door?
Church officials and legal advocates are grappling with how -- and whether -- people who have been convicted of sex crimes should be included in U.S. congregations, especially when children are present:
Helping victims of clergy sexual abuse: Suggestions for Pope Benedict XVI:
Based on Road to Recovery’s on-the-ground experience helping the abused cope with the effects of their abuse, we offer to Pope Benedict and his colleagues in the hierarchy the following suggested action steps that will help restore clergy abuse victims to fullness of life (these steps do not preclude the necessary and/or statutory reporting of all crimes to local and/or national law enforcement):
May 31, 2010 Prison Cell, Community Centre, Religion, RJ Office, Court House, Legislative Assembly, Victim Support, Press Room, Community, Victim, Case:Sexual, Police Station, Lecture Hall, Chapel Pew
Religion, conflict & peacebuilding: An introductory programming guide
from the introduction to the toolkit by USAID:
Connecting religion and violent conflict is easy to do. Many of the world’s violent outbreaks, both present and past, are couched in religious terms, ranging from the 1st century Jewish-Roman War, to the 11th century Crusades, to 17th century Thirty Years War to the 20th century Irish civil war to contemporary conflicts in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Iraq, and Israel/West Bank/Gaza.
Connecting religion and peacebuilding is equally easy to do. Human history includes many examples where the religiously motivated acted in extraordinary ways to bridge divides, promote reconciliation, or advocate peaceful coexistence. It thus becomes clear that understanding the dynamics of conflict—both the sources of discord and the forces of resilience—requires an understanding of the connections between conflict, religion and peacebuilding. And yet sensitivities and uncertainties surrounding the mere mention of religion frequently stand in the way of that understanding.
Peace Studies programmes
from the entry on PCPJ Blog:
Michael Westmoreland-White compiled this....
As a service, I thought I would list all the U.S. colleges and universities that have programs with names like “peace studies,” “peace and global studies,” “peacebuilding and conflict resolution studies,” etc. I found there were enough that I decided just to list the church-related ones and do the others in a separate post. Typically, such programs are multi-disciplinary involving faculty from several departments including international studies, history, philosophy, religious studies, international law, economic development, and/or political science or sociology. The earliest such programs in the U.S. were in institutions related to the “historic peace churches” (Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Friends/Quakers), but it has spread beyond them.
Feb 7, 2010: National day of prayer for criminal justice reform
Encourage your church to participate in the National Day of Prayer for Criminal Justice Reform and contact Bill Mefford for more information.
Churches throughout the United States will spend either part or all of their prayer time during their Sunday worship services on Feburary 7th to focus on criminal justice reform. Specifically they will lift up the need for a fair criminal justice system based on restorative principles that do not sentence people to unjustly long sentences or target certain racial groups, so that the families of the incarcerated can be strengthened and local communicates safely restored.
Better not bitter says activist Mukoko
Abducted and tortured activist Jestina Mukoko, has said that the pain and trauma she experienced in the hands of state officials last year, has left her Better and not bitter.
Speaking on December 17, 2009 at a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Human rights forum to celebrate her City of Weimar Human Rights Award, Mukoko also director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, said it was inner strength and the knowledge that people all over the world were rallying alongside with her that kept her going.
“I believe there was a purpose in all this. It might have been a nasty experience but looking at how I now deal with people who have been tortured I have a different perspective to it.”
Why is it important for people of faith to be involved in domestic violence work?
from the Renewal House blog entry:
A reporter from the Boston Herald asked me that question yesterday afternoon. The reporter is working on an article highlighting the Restorer’s Ministry, a new hotline led by three women from the Grace of All Nations Church in Dorchester. We have been supporting the training needs of the three as they seek to live out their call to serving individuals and families struggling with issues of domestic violence in their community.
By No Means Easy: Responding to Conflict in Personal Life
“I’m glad we went through that process before he died,” I recently told my pastor. Jay had been speaking of the death of a long-time member who had participated in a number of church conflicts over the years. The process I referred to was a series of meetings with the individual to discuss the impact of letters he had sent during the past two years to the entire congregation on several contentious issues. These letters created various harms to individual church members as well as to the church family in general. In reflecting on the loss of Mr. M., I couldn’t help but feel that the meetings provided an avenue for church leadership to both express care for him and be open to listening to his positions and the concerns behind them.
'They are not scum'
from the article on iol.co.za:
Churches should speak out strongly when they encountered abuse in prisons, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Hlengiwe Mkhize said on Monday.
Addressing a Cape Town conference on pastoral care in prisons, she said people of faith of all religions were supposed to be "the moral authority of the most vulnerable".
They had to be vigilant and speak out on violations of the Constitution and the Correctional Services Act.
"We expect the church and other faith-based organisations to take a strong stance when deaths in correctional centres are reported and when offenders are deprived of other rights and privileges such as parole," she said.
A Pilot Study of a faith-based restorative justice intervention for Christian and non-Christian offenders
Restorative justice and faith-based programs are receiving increased attention as innovative ways to help change offenders' internal motivations as well as external behaviors (Rockefeller institute of Government, 2007). The purpose of the present pilot study is to examine change in offenders' pro-social responses after participation in an in-prison faith-based program that draws from the principles of restorative justice.