CHUM Making it Better

   I remember having to deal with the playground bully growing up. All too often it is a common experience among us. There are all kinds of bullying; physical, emotional, and mental. There is no age limit on the bullied or the bully, children do it to children, adults do it to children, and adults do it to other adults.
   There are all kinds of reasons our children and adults are targets of being bullied; sexual orientation, religion, race, social status, age, appearance, and the list could go on and on. Sometimes I think bullies do not really need a reason they just come up with something on their own that makes for a good target.
   In recent weeks our lives have been filled with news of the suicides of numerous teens who were obviously bullied to the point of hopeless despair. I recently preached on the topic and invited persons to share with me their stories. I have to say as I read stories, through my own tears, from my gay, lesbian, as well as straight friends about the horrors and abuse they endured, it was perhaps the most difficult sermon preparation reading I have ever done.
   I have watched videos from around our nation of people speaking up with encouraging words to say “It Gets Better.” I have read blogs of colleagues and friends who implore us all to tend to our words because “Our Words Matter.” It is a sign of hope and somehow some way we need to get the word out to all of our teens, and as the result of recent weeks, particularly our gay and lesbian teens that there is hope. We need to share with them there are safe havens they can go to be heard, loved, affirmed, and encouraged to be who they are without threat or fear.
   Here at College Hill United Methodist Church we have decided to do something about the issue. It is still in the beginning conversational stage but we believe it is time to stand up and speak a word of hope with our gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and trans-sexual community, as well as all persons who are bullied simply because of who they are and/or what they look like or believe. It is time for the madness to STOP!
   Here at the Hill there will be two opportunities to stand with our teens and those who are bullied in the near future. The first will be the week of November 14th through the 20th. This week is Bullying Awareness Week or Anti-Bullying Week. We encourage all of our members to invite others to be a part of raising awareness and standing up for justice and kindness during these days. There will be more information as the time grows closer.
   On December 6, 2010 at 6:30pm we will be having another Forum here at College Hill where we will bring resource persons in from various agencies to share with us their work in this area and how we can be a part of the solution to this epidemic in our schools and society. Please place this on your calendar and join us for this important gathering as we seek to be faithful voices for those whose very lives may be counting on a word of hope and grace.
   It is time once again for College Hill to be a Beacon of justice, kindness, and grace in our community and conference. The voice of The Progressive Church must be heard on this issue to show and encourage all persons that there are safe and sacred spaces for them to come and be heard, understood, and affirmed. Please join us in this critical outreach and message.
   For more information please feel free to contact me via email or the church office, and my door is always open. This is one more way we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table.
   Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.

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One Response to “CHUM Making it Better”

  1. Bill Belsey Says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for your post.

    As a parent and educator, I would like to share four Websites I have created that seek to prevent bullying through education and awareness. I hope that they may be of help, information and support to others.

    http://www.bullying.org
    The world’s most visited and referenced Website about bullying

    http://www.cyberbullying.org
    The world’s first Website about cyberbullying

    http://www.bullyingawarenessweek.org
    The official Website of the annual Bullying Awareness Week

    http://bullyingcourse.com
    Offering online courses and Webinars about bullying and cyberbullying for educators and parents

    I hope that these educational resources may prove helpful to your learning community.

    Sincerely,

    Bill Belsey
    President,
    Bullying.org
    “Where you are NOT alone!”

    e-mail: help@bullying.org

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