A special World Council of Churches (WCC) campaign is tackling abuse and violence in “loving” relationships.

Valentine’s Day, 14 February, falls on a Thursday this year, and is being connected to the Thursdays in Black campaign against rape and violence.

Recognizing that Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love, the WCC states that for too many people, “love” comes with abuse and violence.

The WCC is inviting reflections and participation on social media, including encouraging people to use a special profile picture, to be made available on 7 February, for Valentine’s Day itself.

The campaign kicked off on 31 January by inviting reflections on a scripture passage often used to express love:

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NRSV)

“On the one hand, this scripture expresses love’s infinite beauty and ability to empower,” says Nicole Ashwood, WCC programme executive for Just Community of Women and Men. “But some women read lines like love ‘bears all things’ to mean that in a marriage or relationship they have to put up with violence. So we want to unpack this scripture, and talk about it in the context of God’s love for everyone.”

Reflections shared with the WCC will be incorporated into a video and feature story for Valentine’s Day.

Thursdays in Black: