by Monte Sahlin

From ANN, August 22, 2014

Adventist congregations around the world are being asked by leaders of the denomination to focus on the prevention of abusive family relationships on Sabbath (August 23). The goal is to educate church members and local communities about domestic violence, sexual abuse and other forms of mistreatment which tend to hurt women and children more often than adult males.

"We urge every local church to observe this," said Dr. Willie Oliver, the denomination's director of family ministries. "Abuse in families, even in the church, is a sad reality we must confront with compassion, awareness and education."

“There are so many people suffering silently and they think the church doesn’t care," said Heather-Dawn Small, director of women's ministries. "The church does care, and that’s why this initiative is on our denomination’s world calendar.” Small said she encounters women whose abusers justify their behavior on what they claim is Bible principle. “That is a wrong use of the Word of God, and we need to get that straightened out.”

A campaign to "End It Now" is jointly sponsored by ten Adventist organizations: the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, Adventist Review magazine, and the departments of children’s ministries, education, family ministries, health ministries, women’s ministries, youth ministries and the ministerial association, the professional organization for clergy.

In some areas of the world the Adventist denomination has turned the initiative into massive community demonstrations, while other regions hold an additional campaign during another time of the year. In May a workshop was held at the denomination's headquarters in the Washington DC area to train first responders in local congregations. The goal is to have a trained responder in each Adventist congregation worldwide. Adventist Today sent one of our editors, Debbonnaire Kovacs, to attend the event and we have published detailed reports.

The theme this year is "Freedom in Relationships." A package of resource materials is available at and more information can be obtained at as well.