For the first time in the history of Britain’s African and Caribbean Pentecostal church, a group of professionals have come together to create an organisation committed to training and empowering Black church leaders to appropriately support victims of domestic abuse and violence.
The Black Church Domestic Abuse Forum (BCDAF) will be officially launched online on January 28 at 6pm.
Attendees will get to experience a taster of ‘Walk in the Way of Love’ – the toolkit the BCDAF will use to train church leaders about the most appropriate response to domestic violence and abuse.
They’ll also hear contributions from speakers and get to pose questions to a discussion panel. Launch participants include Nicole Jacobs, the Government’s Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, DV survivor and BCDAF trainer Kim Bacchus, Rev Geoffrey Folkes, Church of God in Christ and Pastor Marjorie Esomowei, founder of the Wisdom for Women International.
The BCDAF has been five years in the making. Elaine Bowes was inspired to act in 2015 after attending an event where a Christian woman shared that she had been a victim of domestic abuse but felt unable to share her experience with her church.
Elaine believed that there were other women with similar stories, and gathered together a group of Christians, social workers, psychologists, pastors, advocates, lawyers and academics keen for domestic violence and abuse within the black community to be more effectively addressed. After a series of meetings the BCDAF was formed.
The BDCAF has produced training for church leaders and a toolkit that provides information on how churches can improve their response to incidents of domestic violence and abuse.
“It’s been encouraging to see black professionals join together to work to make the Black Church Domestic Abuse Forum a reality. It’s very much needed, especially during this lockdown where it’s been reported that domestic violence has been very much on the rise. It’s my hope that the BCDAF plays a part in eradicating domestic violence and abuse from people’s lives.”
Senior Lecturer on the Forensic, Clinical and Community Psychology programmes at the University of East London Dr. Ava Kanyeredzi is the BCDAF evaluation and research lead. She said,
“The project launches at a time when there has been exponential increases in reports of domestic abuse. I am thrilled to be part of this project and to create new knowledge that can improve church responses to domestic abuse in black communities within the UK.”
Church leader Rev David Shosanya is also a member of BCDAF. He said,
“Kim Bacchus and myself have led BCDAF pilot training sessions with church leaders and have been overwhelmed by the positive response. Leaders have been very open to receiving the training, and it’s apparent that many are keen to be equipped so that they can respond compassionately and practically to church members and those within the wider community who have experienced domestic violence and abuse.”
The Black Church Domestic Abuse Forum (BCDAF) will host its official launch online on Thursday 28 January at 6pm.
Click HERE to book a place at the launch