Smashing time promised at Methodist services for women

An "act of violence" will play an unusual part in Christianservices of worship to be used in Methodist churches on Sunday 25November.

As part of an Act of Confession and Reconciliation, participantsin services to mark the International Day of Action againstViolence on Women will smash up old crockery.

Crockery will be placed in plastic bags and hit with a hammer toprevent flying debris harming participants. But, even with thesesafeguards, writers of the service from the Methodist ChurchWomen¹s Network hope that the act of violence will provide "apowerful image of the violence that is experienced in thehome".

Members of each congregation will then be asked to put thepieces of crockery together in the shape of a cross, to provide acentrepiece for the remainder of their service.

The services of worship will follow a national conference onviolence and women, taking place at Wesley College, Bristol, onSaturday 24 November 2001, 10.30am-4pm

Around 100 women from around Britain are expected to gather forthe day - part of a two-year project led by the Methodist Church tohighlight the reality of domestic abuse against women as well assupporting initiatives across the world dealing with the fall-outof violence against women.

Women's Network National Secretary Margaret Sawyer said that theBristol conference will include a workshop on how local churchgroups can be set up to support women who have been abused. Therewill also be news about a research project that the MethodistChurch is funding, "The Way Forward", led by Dr Lorraine Radfordand Cecilia Cappel, of Southlands College, University of Surrey inRoehampton. A report on this research is due to be published duringSpring 2002.

The order of service 'Soaring Wings and Strengthened Dreams'(together with leader's notes) to mark the International Day ofAction against Violence on Women is available fromWomen'sNetwork of the Methodist Church, 25 Marylebone Road,London NW1 5JR Tel: 020 7467 5172