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Thursdays in Black Bible Studies Series 1

Listening, Learning and Responding to the Word of God

Led by Thursdays in Black Ambassadors – leaders in their communities committed to being visible and outspoken against such violence – a series of Bible studies are being prepared for individual and congregational reflection on sexual and gender-based violence. Such reflection will help us listen to the word of God and apply our faith and vision of justice, peace, and love in our contexts today. This first series of reflections address critical topics in our societies and Christian communities that contribute to or respond to gender-based violence and provide diverse perspectives from our wide ecumenical fellowship.

A core group of Thursdays in Black Ambassadors oversaw this Bible study series: Anders Göranzon, Claudia Bandixen, and Karen Georgia Thompson.

Uncomfortable conversations? Create a safe space

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.

A year participating in #ThursdaysinBlack

This will be my last weekly posting of a news article from the past week related to violence against women and girls around the world. Following the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches a year ago, I decided to join the WCC movement of #ThursdaysinBlack, to speak out against violence and discrimination by wearing black and by posting on Facebook each week, for the duration of one year.

Different. Reality!

Several years ago, I went in search of food in a foreign country. Spring had just begun to show her face, and though the air was nippy, it was a beautiful day to walk. The wonderful aroma of barbeque assailed my senses and I virtually floated into the restaurant and placed my order.

Love heals: it never hurts

Let us talk about Abuse and Love. Growing up as a child, I saw my mother being physically, emotionally, mentally abused by my father. She was beaten, violated, abused – but not once did she ever mention this to anyone. One day, I asked my mother why she had to take all the pain, the violence and abuse she was going through in the hands of my father all to herself. Guess what… She said, my daughter listen, “your father hits me, he beats me, he hurts me because he loves me.”

A harmful text on love?

“Yes, he abuses me, but you know, the Bible says I must bear all things” -

“There are many signs that he is cheating and exposing me to HIV, but he says that he is faithful and I should believe all thing in love.” -

And even:

“My father/pastor/teacher rapes me, but my family says that I should just endure it and not bring disgrace on our family/church/school.” -

This can never be the message that Paul wanted to send to the Corinthians or to those of us who read this today!

We cannot baptise violence

The 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence serve as a reminder to the world that such violence remains widespread. Women from diverse social, economic, political, religious and other backgrounds are vulnerable to violence. Sadly, religion has denied many women survivors of gender-based violence access to justice.

Phenomenal woman

Without peace, there is no justice. Too often, we pursue justice at the expense of peace, and peace at the expense of justice. To conceive peace apart from justice is to compromise the hope that “justice and peace shall embrace” (Ps 85:10). When justice and peace are lacking, or set in opposition, we need to reform our ways. Let us rise, therefore, and work together for peace and justice.

One year and still moving forward

When you choose to join the ecumenical movement, it means you'll never stop moving. You need to always find a new perspective of life, to share your faith to all people that you'll met in your journey. It also means you'll never stop learning, from all things that you encounter, good or bad. And it means you should never stop sharing about your ecumenical movement so the people you meet can start their own ecumenical journey.

A Pilgrimage from Thursday to Thursday

When first introduced to Thursdays in Black, it seemed like an “easy” thing to do. What could be simpler – wear black clothes on Thursdays and wear my pin to show that I dream of a world without rape and violence. Every ‘good’ Christian could support this and I casually suggested to my colleagues that this was something CABSA could support.
But what does a seemingly simple campaign to create awareness about sexual and gender-based violence have to do with the “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace”?