Church focuses on child abuse prevention

Published 10:10 pm Monday, April 8, 2013

At first glance, motorists at North Main Street might think it’s the Christmas season again, were it not for this week’s highs in the 80s.

A lighted tree in front of Main Street United Methodist Church is one of several efforts the church will undertake this month to call attention to National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“If nothing else, we hope people that go up and down the street see it and say, ‘What is that all about?’” the Rev. Myrtle Hatcher said.

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April is designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month in America to try to turn the tide of the country’s problem with child abuse and neglect. The United States loses five children every day to abuse-related deaths, giving it the worst record in the industrialized world.

Death isn’t the only consequence that befalls children of abuse. Those who were abused or neglected as children are more likely than those not abused to be diagnosed with a psychological disorder, commit crimes, experience teen pregnancy, abuse drugs and later abuse their own children, according to

“We’re here to nurture and be Christ’s hands and feet,” said Barbara McPhail of Main Street United Methodist Church. “Certainly protecting children would be a top priority.”

Hatcher said the church has a greater emphasis on the needs of children because of its daycare, which provides care to about 150 children daily.

“We want to be really aware of our responsibility with children,” she said.

The church plans to get 500 blue ribbons with the names of children on them and tie them on the fence in back of the church.

The church will also help promote child abuse prevention through its Children’s Festival on April 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program will begin with a special worship service honoring children followed by children’s activities and lunch. It is free and open to the community.

Also throughout the month, the church will be helping get mothers and children in developing countries off on the right foot with “birthing kits” to be used by midwives in those countries. The kids include rubber gloves, sterile items and a receiving blanket that can be used to deliver the baby, cut the umbilical cord and swaddle it afterward.

“That’s just another focus on children,” Hatcher said.

For more information on the church, visit