Workshop for Women Clergy to Focus on Aiding Beaten Wives

By Rodgers, Ann | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), May 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

Workshop for Women Clergy to Focus on Aiding Beaten Wives


Rodgers, Ann, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The Rev. Linda Miller-Pretz was a newly ordained pastor when a woman came to see her with a freshly blackened eye swollen shut from a beating by her husband.

She wasn't a member of Rev. Miller-Pretz's church, but had apparently seen that a woman was listed as the pastor on the sign outside. Her own pastor had told her "to go back and apologize and be a good wife. That's just crazy," said Rev. Miller-Pretz, a minister in the United Church of Christ who works with field education students at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

She referred the woman to a social service agency, but her seminary training had never explicitly addressed how to respond to domestic violence. To help other clergywomen fill that gap she has helped to organize a workshop for female clergy Tuesday in Rodef Shalom Congregation, Shadyside.

The workshop is for women because victims often seek them out and 85 percent of such victims are women, she said.

The workshop came about through a chance meeting between Rev. Miller-Pretz and Rochelle Sufrin, a Jewish community organizer. They happened to sit next to each other at an interfaith lecture and realized they shared a commitment to helping their religious communities to respond more effectively to domestic violence.

Ms. Sufrin serves on the national Jewish Domestic Abuse Task Force, and Rev. Miller-Pretz is an officer of the Pittsburgh chapter of the International Association of Women Ministers.

Their conversation's result is "Faith's Response to Intimate Partner Violence -- What They Didn't Teach You in Seminary."

Sponsored by the Pittsburgh chapter of Jewish Women International, Rodef Shalom and the National Association of Women Ministers, it runs Tuesday from 9:30 a. …

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