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Thursdays in Black launched in Karlsruhe

Thursdays in Black launched in Karlsruhe

U. Bejick, I. Bayer, B. Fuhrmann, A. Ruth-Klumbies, A. Schweizer, B. Weber and bishop J. Cornelius-Bundschuh. Photo: Protestant Church of Baden

04 April 2019

The Protestant Church of Baden, whose region will host the World Council of Churches 11th Assembly in 2021, has joined the Thursdays in Black campaign with a prayer and a challenge to express solidarity with those suffering from abuse of power.

Almost 60 people in the head office in Karlsruhe came together on 19 March in a prayer service addressing sexual violence and launching the campaign.

“For the women in our church, the idea of the campaign is a theme which is important all the time, and at the moment it fits in connection with the theme of Women's Sunday, "You are beautiful,"“ says Pastor Andrea Schweizer from the church’s Department of Mission and Ecumenism.

In the service, Schweizer presented the story of Joseph and the wife of Potiphar from the book of Genesis, drawing on the work of Rima Nasrallah, a female theologian in Lebanon.

In the story, a powerful woman harasses the young slave Joseph, eventually accusing him when he continues to resist her demands.

“This is an abuse story,” says Schweizer. “It is a shocking story to our ears because our experiences tell us that Joseph - though a young man - represents countless women in our world” who experience repeated harassment from a powerful boss  who then, many times, “plays the role of the victim while the real victim loses her job, her reputation, and even every prospect for the future.”

She noted that Joseph could not defend himself because he was a slave and an outsider, and no one would have believed him.

“Our ethnic background, our social status, could stop us talking because we know that perpetrators use our context to discredit us,” she stated. “In a network of sisters and brothers we stand together in solidarity.”

Anke Ruth-Klumbies, head of the Women, Men and Gender Dialogue Unit, introduced the WCC campaign against gender-based violence and invited everyone present to join her.

The support of the Protestant Church in Baden for Thursdays in Black was announced by Bishop Jochen Cornelius-Bundschuh.

Said Schweizer, “In our house with about 450 employees, now everyone is invited to join the campaign and to wear black on Thursdays.”

As it says in Romans 12, said Schweizer in the service, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”

“May God help us in the pursuit of it,” she concluded.

Learn more about Thursdays in Black