One project included in the presentations was that of Rev. Helene Eichrodt-Kessel, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church who is leading an effort to make domestic violence a required part of the school syllabus for the Protestant schools in her district.
Frankfurt was the first stop for a WCC team of six people led by Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi from Burundi. The visit of the WCC team in Germany is one of several team visits planned throughout the world between now and 2010 to prepare for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in 2011.
The convocation is the culmination of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010, in which the German churches have been particularly active and committed from the outset. In Frankfurt, projects and experiences from south-western Germany were presented to the international team.
While the delegation hopes that it's tour will result in a better handling of domestic violence cases within the church, they do not believe that there is much they can do to prevent these cases to begin with.
"Domestic violence takes place behind closed doors. When we learn about it, it's already too late," said Archbishop Ntahoturi. In his home country Burundi it was seen as one of the results of war. Through its "focus on the family" project, his church had also found out about cases of sexual abuse, he added.Although we feel that there is much that faith congregations can do to end domestic violence, including preaching that it is not God's will, we have faith that this is the beginning of a wave of zero-tolerance for domestic abuse within congregations. Accountability goes a long way for prevention, and the knowledge that there will be a supportive community waiting for her can do a lot to give someone the courage to leave an abusive situation.