by Marcia Lee Laycock
It was in their first year of marriage that God called Roy and Tiffany Mitton to begin Masquerade Ministries. It takes its name from the song “Stained Glass Masquerade” by Casting Crowns. Part of the lyrics read: “… the invitation’s open to every heart that’s been broken. Maybe then we close the curtain on our stained-glass masquerade.”
The focus of the ministry is on prevention. “We want to get there before the violence happens,” Roy explains, “to help people understand how to use Jesus as a model to emulate true equality. Domestic violence, in all its forms, is not a relationship problem but a power problem. What we choose today with our power will lead to help or horror.”
The goal of the ministry is to reach those who desperately need to step away from the masquerade and find healing. It is a non-profit organization, currently being supported by those who have been helped by the various workshops, as well as family members and a few churches in the Red Deer area.
The ministry has four branches: Beyond Belief – changing men, changing lives; Overcomers – for women who have experienced a hurtful home; Peacemakers – focusing on men’s responsibility to love as Christ did; Thriving Families – dealing with faith, family and violence.
“We want to bring this into families,” Roy said, “and to be in the programs where people go for help. We want to form communities through vulnerability and forgiveness. It’s not about survival, but revival.”
Less than 6 percent of those who abuse women, children or others, are able to find a way to change. Roy Mitton is one of that 6 percent, but the battle was a hard one. “I lost everything, ended up in a divorce.” Although he tried to get help, nothing worked. After six years he moved to Calgary and met Tiffany. Their relationship grew, but it took only six months before, once again, “I found myself in that controlling mode. I knew I was the problem.”
It was through a friend that he found his way out. “I learned about Creating a Process of Change for Men who Batter, a ministry based in Duluth Minnesota. Through that intense process Roy began to realize the issue was his need for power and control. “It wasn’t until I met Jesus and learned how, through his blood, we are freed from that need, that I could see a way out.”
Mitton believes the need is desperate and not being adequately addressed. “There is a huge gap between the problem and what helps, even though there are a number of programs out there, they don’t get to the heart of the issue. Our society values dominance. We focus on our own rights and entitlements instead of our responsibilities. And that is true of all of us, not just men.”
Even in the church, the focus is often skewed, Mitton insists. We look at Jesus as the King of kings, which He is, “but when you study Him as the groom, you gain a new perspective.” For instance, there is a popular program that teaches a woman how to love her husband but if the husband is of the mind-set that he is entitled to that love, then he’s heading down a dangerous path. “My responsibility is to seek the heart of my wife,” Mitton stated, “not to demand that she seek mine. When you study what Jesus tells us to do, to ‘agape’ our wives – that is a huge responsibility.”
In a culture where one in three women experience some kind of abuse, the Mittons dare to dream of a world in which we strive for true equality in all relationships. “This isn’t just about domestic abuse. All married couples have to deal with subjects of power. But it’s a subject that rarely comes up,” Roy states. “A man needs to lead by example, inviting not forcing, inspiring, sacrificing, putting himself last not first.”
The model is Christ’s leadership style as he accepts everyone just as they are. The Mittons are passionate about starting a movement of change that goes further than programs.
For more information, see the website – www.masqueradeministries.com