A Moment for Mission
“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord. … They shall be like a tree planted by the water, sending out its roots by the stream.” — Jeremiah 17:7-8a, NRSV
“Guys should not cry. Anger equals strength. Guys who are physically weak aren’t as good as other men. Men should always be able to provide for their family, and a good job proves your masculinity.”
Bob Pickett, a leader of United Methodist Men ministry in Virginia’s Rappahannock River District, says these assumptions can lead to trouble in men’s relationships.
Such attitudes can cause misunderstandings and even tragedy. Examining them is part of AMENDing Through Faith, developed to combat domestic violence by United Methodist Men and the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. It is available nationally.
Domestic violence in the U.S. went up 8.1% after lockdowns were ordered during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice.
“We want good men who will stand against this construct that it’s acceptable in some way (to belittle or physically strike women),” said Gilbert Hanke, former top executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. “It’s not what our faith teaches.”
Hanke, along with the YWCA and the Rev. Rick Vance, director of the UMM’s Center for Men’s Ministries, created Amending Through Faith, an eight-week study program for men.
Feedback from men engaged in the study has been positive. Some participants admit they had never given the topic much thought before the class.
Through the World Service Fund, United Methodists support the study and other ministries of the General Commission on United Methodist Men.
Adapted from “Program preaches that real men respect women,” Jim Patterson, UM News, Sept. 22, 2021. Used by permission.
What is a bully? A bully is a person who picks on someone because they think they’re cooler, smarter, stronger or better than the other person. But bullying hurts everyone.
When Bailey was in fourth grade, one of her friends was afraid to ride the school bus because other kids made fun of her, called her mean names and wouldn’t share their seat with her. Bailey asked her parents if she could start riding the bus. She explained that her bus stop was first, so she could save a seat for her friend. Her idea worked!
People of all ages can take a stand against bullies. We can share God’s love through our actions. We can show how to treat people with kindness and understanding.
Loving God, remind us to be like strong-rooted trees that stand up to challenges and nurture and protect your children. In the name of Jesus, whom we affirm to believe is the Christ, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany — Sovereign God, we give our tithes and gifts this day, knowing that you are deserving of the best we have to offer. The tithe in scripture we are called to give is to be our first fruits – not what is leftover. Yet in his writing, Paul reminds us that Christ was, in fact, the first fruits in your new covenant of salvation for each of us! May we live as an offering worthy of this great gift. We pray this in is Christ’s name! Amen. (1 Corinthians 15:12-20)
The General Commission on United Methodist Men recognizes that ending violence against women begins with men.
For several years, the United Methodist general agency partnered with AMEND Together, an initiative of the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The program is dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. The partnership features an eight-week group series aimed at United Methodist men.
The series focuses on healthy manhood, healthy relationships and what the Bible says about those things, said Shan Foster, senior director, AMEND Together for the YWCA Nashville. The program allows men to engage in discussions around those issues and develop skills to recognize and challenge the behaviors that lead to violence.
“The partnership with the United Methodist Men is so critical to our effort to reach a more national audience as we try … to impact the world,” said Foster.
Adapted from “United Methodist Men take on domestic violence,” Julie Dwyer, UM News, Oct. 5, 2017. Used by permission.