ESCALON, CA (October 5, 2012) – A week after Pam Mendez gave her life to Christ in January 2006, she had surgery to remove a baseball-size tumor from her brain.
The tumor was benign, but left her paralyzed on her left side. She also cannot see or hear out of her left side. She can walk, but she cannot not drive.
Despite these physical challenges, Mendez, a member of Escalon Covenant Church, was determined to serve abused women. She traveled by bus to work at a Women’s Crisis Center and she took the online Advocacy for Victims of Abuse (AVA) class sponsored by the Department of Women Ministries. She believed that if God had called her to serve, then there were no excuses.
Last month she received a standing ovation during the Pacific Southwest Conference Women Ministries retreat when she was commissioned to be an AVA advocate. Mendez says she is inspired by Phillipians 4:13: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Mendez is one of many advocates in the Evangelical Covenant Church who are serving both male and female victims of domestic violence. The number of advocates continues to grow and more trainings are scheduled this month – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month – and during November. Other churches are holding special events.
Dearborn Covenant Church in Dearborn, Michigan, will host an AVA training from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $20 with lunch included. The training will cover topics that include child sexual abuse, helping adult survivors, how to find local resources, and start an AVA ministry.
First Covenant Church of Seattle will host “In Her Shoes,” an interactive experience, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 13. This workshop will focus on increasing participants’ awareness and understanding of domestic violence in the life of a battered woman. AVA director Yvonne DeVaughn will facilitate the event at The Summit Building next to the church. Lunch will be provided with a suggested donation of $5. Space is limited. To RSVP or for more information, email Jo Portinga or call 206-322-7411.
Bethany Covenant Church in Bedford, New Hampshire, will host an AVA training from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. October 20. Registration is $40 in advance or $45 at the door. Price includes training materials and lunch. Make checks payable to “ECCWM” with a notation referencing “AVA training” and send it to Cathy Fredlund, 298 Valley View Road, Thomaston, CT 06787.
The WellSpring Center for HOPE in Chicago, Illinois, will hold its annual awards luncheon from noon to 3 p.m. October 27 at the Oak Lawn Hilton in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Cost is $50 per person. There will be a raffle and silent auction at the event, which honors partners and raises awareness of domestic violence. To purchase tickets, contact Carolyn Hicks or Elsie Nelson by calling 773-723-2119.
Wellspring, an inner-city ministry sponsored by the Evangelical Covenant Church’s Ministries of Benevolence, provides crisis intervention, individual counseling, family counseling, domestic violence education, service planning, support groups, referral for services, legal advocacy, non-legal advocacy and community outreach.
A special AVA training designed for pastors and lay leaders will be offered from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. November 17 at Community Covenant Church in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Topics will include working with survivors and abusers, safety, accountability, and connecting with local agencies and introducing an AVA advocate into the church structure. Registration is $40 in advance or $45 at the door. Price includes training materials and lunch. Checks should be payable to “ECCWM” with a notation referencing “AVA training” and mailed to Priscilla Borden, AVA Regional Coordinator, East Coast Conference Women Ministries, Community Covenant Church, 400 Pleasant Street, East Bridgewater, MA 02333.