The “16 Days” campaign is an annual international initiative that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. This year, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is highlighting the links between the household of God, and the fundamental need to make our homes safe and loving spaces.
In a unified statement, the 17 ambassadors reflect on why it is so important to protect those who are vulnerable and abused. "We can create safe spaces for all people who are targets of this violence, especially women and girls in our societies,” reads the message. “We should promote transformative masculinities and femininities based on respect and equality.”
The message also honours resistance and resilience to violence, and expresses a vision of a world without fear of sexual and gender-based harassment, abuse and violence.
“And with ongoing physical restrictions due to the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women and girls has intensified,” the message reads. “The resolve to end gender-based violence must remain strong.”
The Thursdays in Black ambassadors, in their various spaces, are working to effect change in policies and practices in churches, workplaces and communities. “Together with the WCC we are actively involved in preparing liturgies and Bible studies, which challenge attitudes and norms that foster gender-based violence,” reads their message. “As people of faith and of goodwill, we appeal to individuals and community agencies to stop the spread of gender-based violence."
Thursdays in Black Ambassadors
Dr Agnes Abuom, Moderator, World Council of Churches Central Committee
Rev. Claudia Bandixen, Switzerland
Rev. Michael Blair, General Secretary, General Council, The United Church of Canada
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rev. Dr Chris Ferguson, General Secretary, World Communion of Reformed Churches
Ms. Larissa Aguiar Garcia, Brazil
Rev. Dr Anders Göranzon, General Secretary of the Swedish Bible Society
Dr Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Chief Executive, Rozaria Memorial Trust
Mr Jouni Hemberg, Executive Director, Finn Church Aid
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Mrs Alison Judd, World President, World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women
Rev. Dr Tapio Luoma, Archbishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
Rev. Damon Mkandawire, Hospital Administrator, Mbereshi Mission Hospital, Zambia
Ms Hanbeet Rhee, Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea
Rev. Dr Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations and Co-Executive for Global Ministries, United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, Presiding Bishop, Bishops’ Conference of the Church of Norway
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, Geneva Secretary, World Methodist Council