This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
what was happening.”

Growing up on a farm in Min- nesota, “one of the things we learned was not to complain,” she said. “You don’t air your dirty laundry. You make the best of things. I got a lot of ‘every marriage has its hard times’ comments.”

Kerkes had met her husband in

seminary. His abusive tendencies weren’t apparent at first. By the time she realized what was happening, the two were working as pastors in different churches. For Kerkes, the abuse was hard to admit. “I had such a public position. It was my career,” she said. “[When he threw things at me] I’d gotten really good at duck- ing. But I didn’t label it as assault because abuse wasn’t supposed to happen to me as a professional woman.”

The abuse was draining. “I’d go home and it wasn’t a pleasant place,” Kerkes said. “There was lots of screaming and yelling. He’d wake me up at 3 a.m. to scream at me.” Just trying to survive and keep her family and career together was so consuming she felt she couldn’t think about leaving her abuser. Kerkes was, as she puts it, “over- functioning.” After a night of abuse, she added, “I would get up the next morning, get the kids ready, preach a sermon. It was exhausting.” Eventually she did leave her abu- sive husband. “God’s will for us is to have healthy relationships,” she said emphatically. “There’s always hope.”

Safe places

Congregations need to be safe places—something that requires more education about domestic abuse for both rostered leaders and members.

“[People] don’t have safe places to talk about many societal issues like domestic abuse …,” said Jim Honig, pastor of Faith Evangelical


“All congregations need to talk with youth about domestic violence because that’s where it starts,” says Anthony Acompanado, youth and family director of Norway. As a former police officer and social worker, Acompanado understands the reality of domestic abuse. “As youth leaders, we need to be proactive and work to build trust,” he says. “Like Teri [Jendusa-Nicolai, also a member], they, too, need to see their congregation as a safe, confidential place for help.”

Lutheran, a Glen Ellyn, Ill., congre- gation that has prioritized the issue of domestic abuse. “These are all symp- toms of our brokenness and we have to make it OK to talk about these things in the church.”

At Faith “part of the message … is that domestic violence is something that’s a part of this congregation,” Honig said. “Statistically, we know it’s a part of this community.”

To help, congregational leaders can get training about the intricacies of abusive relationships, as well as ways they can offer assistance and connect people to resources. Who should be trained? The list goes far beyond pastors to youth directors, Stephen Ministers, parish nurses, wedding coordinators and other members who might serve as resources.

24 

May 2012 23

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52