What a fantastic day! The launch of Restored at the Bringing Hope conference in Colchester last Saturday was truly inspiring. Natalie Collins told her wonderful story of restoration after abuse, speaking alongside her husband Baggy. Catherine Clark Kroeger from the US, challenged the church to end violence against women with great passion and insight, as she has been doing since 1952! Elaine Storkey spoke about the bad theology often underlying our understanding of gender. There was theatre, dance and a great opportunity to meet others committed to this work. Just after lunch Mandy and I launched Restored with the story of our journey and our plans for the months ahead. We tried to reflect something of God’s heart, and painted a picture of Jesus weeping over the impact of violence, just as he wept at the tomb of Lazarus. We also shared something of our passion that the church should no longer tolerate, ignore or stay silent on this issue. It is great to have our first draft church pack (written by Natalie) up on the website (see the Resources section) to help churches understand the issues and know how to respond.
A large majority of the 150+ delegates were women. Part of the distinctive of Restored is to see women and men working together to address these issues. We must find ways to engage non-violent men to be role models, campaigners, and challengers of their cultures. I spoke about the idea of a men’s campaign for 2011, which received a positive response. If you have any ideas on how we should shape this, then please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). After the launch, I was asked to speak at a men’s conference in February, which is a great encouragement as we seek to develop this side of the work. Our thanks to Natalie and everyone else who made the launch of Restored such a great event.