Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
S. Joseph Kidder
Domestic violence is a hidden crime globally and it is a problem at the Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church. Very often, the abusers and the abused are from the same family. Children who grow up in homes where physical and mental abuse is prevalent tend to become abusers or marry abusers. Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are not immune and need emotional healing from abuse and family violence. However, Christian communities typically appear silent on the issues of abuse and family violence.
An exploratory process was devised to research the benefits of transformational preaching and life-skill seminars to foster ongoing dialogue on abuse and family violence. The Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church administrators presented the request for their church to be the site of the study, and it was approved. Subsequently, for twelve months, Sabbath sermons focusing on transformation were preached to approximately 300 attendees, followed by six monthly Sabbath sermons and six Sunday seminars attended by 30 attendees. Information was gathered by noting testimonies and shared responses following each monthly weekend (Sabbath sermon and Sunday seminar). The results were based on the overall effectiveness of the seminars and compared across the demographics of age, education, gender, and marital status.
The strategy developed for the Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church utilizing transformational preaching and life-skill seminars to promote conversation and dialogue on abuse and family violence was successful. While emotional healing was not measured or the primary focus, there were positive anecdotal updates and changes to the Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church programs to indicate that emotional healing was taking place. A multi-pronged approach was needed to promote conversation and dialogue on trauma issues. The research approach included salient components such as culture, symbols, and faith for Seventh-day Adventist, Afro-Caribbean populations in Toronto. Finally, the Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to provide a consistent, safe environment to enable each person to respond at that their own pace. The body of Christ ought to show evidence of His restorative powers.
Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church now provides programs and workshops on mental health, addiction, anger management, and family violence to the church and the community. Grants fund a free (to recipients) weekly in-person counseling and referral service by a licensed mental health professional member at the church. The programs also serve those ordered by the court to attend anger management and conflict resolution programs. Counseling sessions are scheduled and strategically held on Wednesdays when the church’s food bank operates and the church holds its weekly Prayer Meeting service. The church continues to create a safe space for supportive and positive relationships. These strategies have increased the interactions between the church and the community. Through word-of-mouth, the church now welcomes more visitors and worshipers. The membership has grown spiritually and emotionally due to this authentic and intentional wraparound support system.
The Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church continues to intentionally create safe spaces, stimulate conversations and dialogues on the impact of trauma and family violence, and promote healthy interactions for the surrounding community and members. Their consistent efforts of providing counseling support and prayer have garnered positive results as part of the city-wide services directed at crime, family dysfunction, and gun violence.
Preaching; Pastoral care; Family violence; Child abuse; Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church (Toronto, Canada)
Peart, Jacqueline D., "Using Transformational Preaching and Life-Skill Seminars To Promote Conversation and Dialogue on Abuse and Family Violence at Mount Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church in Toronto" (2022). Professional Dissertations DMin. 769.
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