World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca expressed the revulsion of the global fellowship of churches at the murder of Deborah Yakubu, a second-year college student beaten to death and burnt by a group of her fellow students in Sokoto, northern Nigeria.
As churches and other groups battle sexual and gender-based violence, it is urgent to include men in trainings and amplify the issues for global accompaniment and support, church women leaders, lay members and gender advocates recommended at a recent church human rights training in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
Women of faith who are African or of African descent held a powerful recent gathering, “Ubuntu: Remembrance, Diversity, and Advocacy in Unity Now!” in which they shared their call to action with a sense of Sankofa, or a season of now while looking back and forward. The event was organized by the Pan African Women’s Ecumenical Empowerment Network (PAWEEN) and Pan African Women of Faith (PAW).
In the first of a two-part webinar series on “Missing and Murdered: Addressing Femicide and Sexual and Gender-based Violence in our Global Context,” speakers on 25 November urged religious leaders and all people to be aware of the root causes of femicide and gender-based violence—and act now to end them.
At an event called “Ecumenical Continuing Formation: Youth, Transformative Masculinity
and Femininity,” young people from the Pacific gathered from 15-19 November, both online and in-person, to express their honest feelings about the issues most important to them.
As children and women in Nigeria become targets of rising insecurity and violence, churches are moving to offer support to the victims, while amplifying their voice against the challenge, according to senior Christian women leaders in the West African nation.
In the month of March, the World Council of Churches is encouraging its fellowship and partners to join the Lott Carey “31 Days of Prayer for Women’s Empowerment,” which is also the 9th Anniversary Global Women’s Prayer Guide. The guide features 31 days of prayer for incarcerated women and girls around the world.
In the 7th Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs, which drew several hundred online participants on 26 January, a lively discussion centered around “2021: A Defining Year for Accelerating Gender Equality, Equity and Justice.”
Rev. Dr Antti Laine is senior advisor for Theology and Ecumenical Relations with Finn Church Aid. He reflects below on how, while the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated gender-based violence, faith-based and humanitarian groups, can provide hope—especially when they work together.
Almost three years ago I was inspired by my then best friend—and now husband—to join the Thursdays in Black campaign. Hearing about how the movement was working towards a world without rape and violence, I quickly jumped on board as I had witnessed violence so close to home and sometimes in my home growing up.
Thursdays in Black grew out of women’s movements of resilience and resistance to injustice, abuse and violence. In the Pacific region, which has some of the highest recorded rates of violence against women, churches are leading conversations to change attitudes and actions. Domestic violence is prevalent throughout Fiji. According to UN Women’s Global Database on Violence against Women, almost 2 out of 3 women aged 18-64 in Fiji have experienced physical or sexual violence from their intimate partner – almost twice the global average.
The South Sudan Council of Churches, an ecumenical body of seven members and associate members, held its first General Assembly since the independence of the largely Christian and animist country in 2011.
At the most glorious moment in her career, Rev. Prof. Dr Sang Chang discovered that society is not always friendly and that politics can be devilish. But thanks to God, she got over it. Without bitterness and even more determined in her fight for gender equality and social justice.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) met formally on 25-27 June in Paris, under the theme “The normalization of hatred: challenges for Jews and Christians today”. This meeting took place at a time of significant challenges in public and religious life for many communities around the world. At the meeting Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, presented the WCC policies on antisemitism and the WCC’s work for human rights for all. The WCC News met with him after the meeting.
A series of four manuals produced by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy were launched on 1 May in Nairobi, Kenya. The manuals address ecumenical needs for faith-based resources to treat and prevent the spread of HIV along with education on gender issues.
The WCC Executive Committee met in Uppsala, Sweden from 1-8 November to approve the 2019 programme plans and budget, follow up and decide on a variety of assembly matters, review the WCC strategic plan, discuss world affairs and issue seven statements in response to current situations. The Executive Committee also discerned the way forward for the WCC’s Communication Strategy.
The Meeting on the Implementation of the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes will take place in the Vienna International Center, United Nations Office in Vienna, from 13-15 February 2018.
The Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) in Egypt is working on an advanced gender approach. In a country which is facing enormous challenges, more than ever a development agency has to be up to date on the needs of the people.