“We are proud to join others across the country in participating in Child Abuse Prevention Month,” said Renee Pettinger, a spokesperson with Shepherding the Next Generation. “Many of our members have witnessed the horrible consequences of child abuse among families in their own congregations, and we believe it is necessary to take positive steps to help address this epidemic. It’s incredible when you think that every six hours in America a child dies from abuse or neglect.”
Shepherding the Next Generation has set up a special website, www.1560reasons.org, offering evangelical leaders more information on how they can participate in Blue Sunday, which was started more than ten years ago by Janet Magee, of First Christian Fellowship Church in Harlingen, Texas. The number 1,560 represents the number of children who died from abuse and neglect in 2010.
The website also features comments from Magee, Romanita Hairston, World Vision Vice President for U.S. Programs, Don Solin, Pastor of Next Generation Ministries for Fairhaven Church in Dayton, OH, and Renee Pettinger, Senior Associate for Shepherding the Next Generation, all of whom participated in an audio press conference about Blue Sunday in late March. Greg Wheatley of Moody Radio served as the moderator.
Besides bringing attention to the problem, Shepherding the Next Generation is also emphasizing the need to identify strategies that can help reduce child abuse and neglect, including voluntary home visiting, which provides guidance and coaching to new moms. Research has shown such simple and cost-effective interventions can reduce child abuse and neglect by as much as 50 percent. By offering a mother-to-be skills and resources before her child is born and continuing such help for up to two years after the birth of her first child, a new mother can become much more competent — as well as confident — in her parenting skills. For more information, visit www.1560reasons.org.