Community members gathered on October 25 at Clark Memorial United Methodist Church to discuss the touchy subject of domestic violence. The forum consisted of panelists discussing the theme ‘Domestic Violence, Not Just a Woman’s Issue.’
The United Methodist Women (UMW) and the United Methodist Men (UMM) joined to sponsor this all-important issue as an effort to recognize the signs and know the proper methods of handling such situations.
Following the welcome, a very informative greeting and theological perspective of relationships given by Rev. Dr. Kennard Murray, Sr. pastor of Clark Memorial—a personal story was told by Mary Jones, a volunteer at the YWCA. Mary’s story was an intense presentation of her plight that led her to the YWCA through her trust in a marriage that turned violent over time. As Mary spoke everyone listened with extreme intent, hanging on her every word.
She told her story and interjected a series of poems that described particular situations that happened during her life as an abused wife and mother.
The moderator of the event was Garlinda Burton, Deaconess of The United Methodist Church, and former General Secretary of the Commission on the Status & Role of Women, The United Methodist Church.
“Pastors should be sacred gatekeepers,” Rev. Murray said, joining the panel. “In order to heal a story must be brought to the surface.”
Mary was also a part of the panel along with Chris Buford, Assistant District Attorney.
“As a resident of this community, I applaud what the church is doing in an effort to expose this issue,” said Buford.
Also on the panel was Gil Hanke, General Commission on United Methodist Men.
“Men are the answer to stopping domestic violence,” said Hanke.
“The men don’t listen to women tell their stories; they will listen to men and learn that the men have to change their thoughts and speech too about women, publicly and privately.”
The panel also included Rev. Dr. Robin Kimbrough, chaplain and special assistant to the president of Meharry Medical College, United Methodist clergy and legal counsel with the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The question and answer session was very informative, as each panelist gave insight into some of the signs of; precautions to be taken; and some of the ‘reasons’ abused people put up with their abuse.
Information was given regarding the many organizations, which could be contacted in the event of any type of relationship abuse. She shared a wealth of knowledge regarding the different places for assistance and guidance for the abused.
A second track took place upstairs with the youth. ‘Healthy Relationships’ was discussed with the youth, led by Dr. Sheila Peters, associate professor and psychology discipline coordinator, Fisk University.
The forum ended noting that it should not be the end, but only a beginning in an effort to make a difference in the way relationships are handled in order to promote health.
Clark Memorial UMW president is Marilyn Talbert. Melvin Kirk is the president of the UMM. Clark Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 1014 14th Ave. N.