ABCNJ is pleased to announce it has been awarded an $11,590 Palmer Grant through the American Baptist Foundation, in partnership with The American Baptist Home Missions Society. The moneys of this grant will be used over the next two years to expand our Sacred Safe Spaces Ministry. This ministry provides resources to assist our congregations to become a safe refuge and healing place for victims of domestic violence, as well as equip them to become active participants in addressing this serious social problem.
“ABCNJ Sacred Safe Spaces - Healing Circles” will be the extension of our existing ministry outreach. It will establish healing cooperatives in three geographical areas of New Jersey. These “Healing Circles” will bring together a cohort of churches to engage state, county, and local professionals in their respective settings to heal and support those who are the victims of domestic violence. These gatherings will be developed in conjunction with our local churches and will be shaped by the needs of each local context. Some may take the form of a joint healing service for victims of domestic violence; others may take the form of a workshop or informational meeting.
Established in 2013, the Sacred Safe Spaces ministry of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ) seeks to equip and empower the more than 285-member churches and help them become healing places for survivors of domestic violence through education and consciousness raising. By way of a written covenant, participating churches pledge to heal and protect affected members of their own congregations and the larger communities that they serve.
To date, fifty-eight ABCNJ churches have signed a congregational covenant pledging to make their church a Sacred Safe Space for those who have suffered from physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual forms of abuse. The primary thrust of this outreach, led by the Rev. Estelle David, is in education, deploying of community resources, spiritual care, and includes efforts to help heal those already impacted by violence. It also helps churches become communities where preventing toxic and building healthy relationships is a priority.
The Virginia and Gordon Palmer, Jr. Trust was created in 1999 as a permanent endowment to the American Baptist Foundation (ABF). The focus of this year’s grants was Healing and Transforming Communities and sought proposals that “reflect God’s hopeful cry to pray and work for the communities into which we have been sent.”
For more information on how your church can become a part of the Sacred Safe Space initiative, or how you can get involved in planning one of the three “Healing Circles,” please contact us by using the form below.