WELS KINGDOM WORKERS DOMESTIC ABUSE PRESENTATION
On Saturday, January 23rd, Michelle Markgraf of WELS Kingdom Workers will present a seminar on how to recognize domestic abuse and how we as a family of faith might help. The seminar will be held from 8 am to 3 pm in the church, with lunch provided.
Click here to sign-up for 1/23 seminar
Responding in Faith to Abuse – Michelle Markgraf
Approximately one out of three women and one out of THREE men experience severe intimate relationship physical violence (IRV) in their lifetime. This statistic does not include verbal or emotional abuse, which are harder to quantify. A popular myth is that abuse occurs less frequently in Christian homes; the reality is far different. Christians do not enjoy a special exemption from this sin, yet it is rarely addressed in faith circles.
This seminar is highly interactive, weaving in activities, videos and group discussions throughout the day. The topic is a difficult one, but so important for the church to address. Research shows that survivors who have support from their church have more feelings of well-being and are less likely to return to an abusive relationship.i
The first part of the day will discuss abuse in all its forms. You will examine the effects of abuse on a survivor and how trauma affects a survivor’s thoughts and actions, even long after the abuse if over. You’ll learn about some of the many reasons a person will stay in an abusive relationship. The second half of the day discusses solutions. First, you’ll explore how you individually can help someone you think might be in an unhealthy relationship. From there, you’ll work with fellow church and community members to discuss how, as a church and community, you can address the abuse.
Galatians 6:10 tells us to “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Attend and find out how you can help someone who is suffering from abuse! Learn how to extend God’s grace to the survivor while assisting him/her on the journey to safety and healing.
Michelle Markgraf is a graduate of Martin Luther College, and she spent several years as a teacher in WELS classrooms. The Lord’s words in Matthew 25, “Whatever you have done for the least of these… you have done for me” led her to begin volunteering at the Sioux Falls, SD rape and domestic abuse crisis center as an advocate in 2011. During her time as an advocate, she worked with over 200 sexual assault survivors. She became executive director for the same agency in 2015, where she worked with a staff of 18 people who provided counseling and advocacy services to survivors of sexual and domestic violence. The agency also offered a batterer intervention program for abusers. In 2018 she became an adjunct professor for the University of South Dakota, teaching a Family Violence class. In 2019 Michelle brought this experience to Kingdom Workers to start a program that helps churches support survivors of relationship abuse. She currently lives in New Ulm, MN with her husband, Pete.
i Nason-Clark, N., Fisher-Townsend, B., Holtmann, C., & McMullin, S. (2018). Religion and intimate partner violence. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.