The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A peaceful gift exchange

Divorcing parents drop off and pick up on neutral ground

Tucked away in five Toledo, Ohio, area churches, The Gift Exchange declares a neutral zone for children embattled by bitter divorce wars.

Custodial parents bring their children to the churches, including Faith Lutheran, Toledo, and St. Mark Lutheran, Bowling Green, where noncustodial parents pick them up for visitation or have supervised visits.

"People tend to be less combative in churches," says Margaret Wuwert, director of the Northwest Ohio Children's Rights Council, which operates the transfer centers.

There are some 17 other centers nationally, a project of the Children's Rights Council, which advocates for a child's right to the involvement of both parents. "We like to demilitarize the divorce process ... to get the parent to focus on the children and not the legal process," says Al Ellis of CRC.

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February issue


Embracing diversity