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As I was driving home from the book launch of Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties: Intimate Partner Violence, Community Resources, and Faith, the news of the hour was of sexual abuse charges being laid against an employee of a youth-facing organization. I had the radical thought, why is this information worthy of news? It was in direct contrast to the thoughtful ideas presented in Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties, an expression of the work and thinking of longstanding sherpas of change around Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

Irene Sevcik, Michael Rothery, Nancy Nason-Clark and Robert Pynn have been change agents in the area of IPV over the past 15 years. They are at the heart of FaithLink: both its season of action and of reflection. 9781772120509_large

FaithLink was a collaborative of sacred and secular organizations exploring how to support members of faith traditions, who are experiencing violence in their intimate relationships, find their way to safety. FaithLink operated from 1998 – 2009; then its doors were shut due to lack of funding. The authors have gathered their questions and learnings into a book demonstrating ways to link secular and spiritual resources for those experiencing IPV.

For individuals embedded in a religious tradition, their faith story and community can be a challenge or an asset to their journey to safety and wellbeing. Sacred and secular organizations can find themselves out of sync with each other around the challenge of IPV. Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties reflects on the grass roots practice and transdisciplinary model of FaithLink which effectively linked secular-based service providers and faith communities and so enabled families to move towards safety and health. Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman and Temple B’nai Tikvah used the FaithLink model to address IPV in ways which were appropriate to Jewish norms and beliefs. Dr. Ron Fraser at Alberta Bible College utilized various materials produced by FaithLink in implementing policies, which fostered a violence-free campus.

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Pictured left to right, authors Nancy Nason-Clark, Irene Sevcik, and Robert Pynn. Photo credit: Ashley Daphne Photography

Co-author Irene Sevcik shares that Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties identifies a number of “lessons learned” and makes recommendations for future actions. Her hope is that these learnings and suggestions will inform further collaborative endeavours.

The fabric of our community is held and sustained by individuals and groups quietly making choices, building partnerships, and acquiring wisdom to improve the social architecture of our city . . . newsworthy indeed!

Click here to learn more about the book.


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