As one of the mission visits, Ecumenical Women met with Ambassador Deng, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Sudan to the United Nations on the occasion of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
Sister Brenda Smith from the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women was inspired by CSW to share the story of Hazel Kurian, a brave young woman from India who survived a huge accident is now a testimony of God`s grace: Here you find her story:Hazel`s Story
Beth Olker, member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) delegation writes:
UN Women has recently begun #heforshe, a “Solidarity Movement in Gender Equality“. This movement is being heralded as a transition and solidification of the feminism movement as one whose supporters and benefactors are not only women. The effort affirms that “gender equality is not just a women’s issue” but call it a human right’s issue which demands support from all people.
The EW-pictures of the CSW59 are now on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ecumenicalwomen/.
Please share also your best CSW-photos with us and mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Events sponsored by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Young Adult Cohort
While we are at UNCSW 59 you can follow the ELCA Young Adult Cohort on Twitter at @elcayoungadults and by using #elcayacohort and #uncsw59.
Faith, Justice, & Culture
Monday, March 9 – 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Tuttles Bar and Grill, 735 2nd Avenue
Connect with young adults from around the country interested in talking about faith, justice and culture. You don’t have to have faith, you need to care about justice, and want to create inclusive culture. Food’s on us; drinks on you.
Worship: To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live
Wednesday March 11 – 8:00-8:45 a.m.
Church Center United Nations, Chapel, 777 UN Plaza (44th street/1st Ave)
Every morning during CSW, one member organization of Ecumenical Women prepares a morning worship referring to one of the 12 areas of concern of the Beijing platform for Action. The topic of the Lutheran worship will be the area of “Education and Training for Women”. On the basis of Proverbs 8:1-11, Lutheran Delegates from all over the world prepare this worship for all who are interested.
Silent No More: How Can Faith Communities Address Sexism and GBV?
Wednesday, March 11 – 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Salvation Army Downstairs, 221 East 52nd Street (bet. 2nd & 3rd Ave)
Every community is affected by gender-based violence (GBV), yet the topic is often avoided, silenced, or at least neglected. People of faith, faith leaders, communities, and institutions can break this silence in their own communities and in society through direct support, advocacy, and prevention. This meet-up is sponsored by the ELCA World Hunger, a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and will feature small group dialogue, reflection, artistic expression, prayer and examples of the church’s work on GBV and gender justice. Light food will be provided.
Three Lives of Women 20 Years After Beijing
Thursday, March 12 – 12:30-2:00 p.m.
Salvation Army Downstairs, 221 East 52nd Street (bet. 2nd & 3rd Ave)
Sponsored by: Lutheran World Federation, World Council of Churches
A series of portrayals of women from Palestine, Kenya and United States. The panel will focus on how women’s lives have evolved since the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) in 1995, and what role faith and faith based organizations have played in this evolution. The panel will also share examples of how churches and faith-based organizations have impacted the major issues affecting women (poverty, violence, access to land and financial resources, political participation, etc.) within the church, in the public space and at the policy level.
Events sponsored by Lutheran World Federation
The role of faith in realizing the promise of Beijing: Where do we come from and where do we need to go to accelerate progress on transformative gender equity
Tuesday, March 10 – 9:00 a.m.-Noon
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 619 Lexington Avenue
Sponsored by: ACT Alliance, World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation
Local People, Global Impact: The role of community based organizations in the fight against the Ebola virus
Tuesday, March 10 – 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Salvation Army Downstairs, 221 East 52nd Street (bet. 2nd & 3rd Ave), New York
Sponsored by: Gbowee Peace Foundation, Lutheran World Federation
Women have been disproportionately affected by the Ebola virus. Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee’s foundation provides community-based accurate information, materials, and rapid mini grants to promote education and disease prevention. Join us for a discussion on local women’s initiatives in addressing the ongoing crisis.
UNCSW’s 59th session is fast approaching, and its theme, a 20-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, calls for a review of progress made and challenges remaining over the past 20 years.
While celebrating the successes in the empowerment of women and girls, Ecumenical Women’s joint written statement to UNCSW 59, submitted last October, lifts up four areas where progress remains to be seen: violence and discrimination against women; poverty, inequalities and climate change; education and training of women and girls; women and health – full access to reproductive health and informed decision-making. We invite you to read the statement and add your own voices in lifting up these needs, using your own communications tools and ours.
Your team at Ecumenical Women has been hard at work this past fall preparing for the 59th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Evaluating questionnaire responses, formulating advocacy priorities, drafting and submitting our joint written statement, reconsidering our mission – it’s all been the focus of energetic monthly meetings since September.
Stay tuned for more info about Ecumenical Women’s advocacy and upcoming events for UNCSW 59, the 20-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
Two scripture passages (1John 3:1-2 and Mark 12:28-31 — See below) are at the core of what calls us forth to advocacy, especially to give voice to the concerns and issues of women and girls who do not currently have a voice in this world. These readings focus on the nature of our relationship with God and how that leads us to be in the world.
1John 3:1-2 reminds us that it is by means of the love of God for us that we are to be called the children of God. This is what we are: children of God, sisters and brothers of Christ, and by this we are also sisters and brothers of one another. By our baptisms we are bound forever to God, in the name of the Holy Trinity. Our walk with Christ informs all aspects of our lives, especially the question of how we are to live this out, individually and working together. In Mark 12:28-31, we can see our way forward to serve both God and this world. We are called to love the Lord our God with everything we have and are, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. The love of us by God and our love toward God propels us forward to care for others, not only those who are in our closest circles, but also those neighbors who are new to us, or different from us, or in great need.
This leads directly to advocacy and to outreach. The work of Ecumenical Women at UNCSW is an opportunity to live this out on a global scale, directly impacting the lives of women and girls throughout the world. UNCSW 59 is a Review Year for the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It is very important as we go forward that we see what has been accomplished and what is in great need of attention. Together as people of faith we are called to make a difference together, as well as in each of our member organizations. Let us love one another as Christ has loved us.
Let us pray: Almighty God, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and work of our lives, especially the work of Ecumenical Women, may we not forget you, but be ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Revised Standard Version (RSV)] 1John 3:1-2 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And, Mark 12:28-31 “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
What follows is a piece written by Kirsten, a young adult delegate from EW member organization the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to CSW58. For more reflections of the ELCA young adult delegation, check out their blog.
I am always moved by what a group of motivated young people can accomplish in just a few short days.
Roughly a dozen young adults from various corners of the US were called together to observe, listen, discuss and contribute to the United Nation’s 58th Commission on the Status of Women. Each of us arrived with diverse perspectives and a different lens through which we view the world, as well as the issues at hand. What resulted in our time together was a mass of ideas, inspirations and challenges.
I observed what you might suspect. Though we are all called to a common goal of fighting for gender justice, the roads to that goal are long, divergent and winding. We heard impassioned and heartbreaking stories affecting women and girls all over the globe regarding violence, maternal & infant mortality, the fight for education, systemic hunger, poverty and disease. The list goes on and on. These issues are heavy and convoluted, not to mention mired in cultural and often religious traditions.
One of the panel discussions I attended (accidentally, I will admit) asked questions that especially resonated with me. Are we trying to change the world at large, or are we trying to change one person at a time? And how do we go about enacting change, either at an individual or a program level? Changing individuals can be accomplished through training, workshops and increasing the number of women willing to work in and through institutions. Changing perspectives on how to design and implement programs are the seedlings of cultural change.
What happens when we start chipping away at the gender gap? Access to resources as well as food production increases. Hunger, disease and infant mortality all decrease. The relationship between men and women becomes more mutual and respectful. Violence decreases. Human rights are valued.
During our time there, I heard a wonderful example of how powerful a movement can be. Picture yourself in a large auditorium filled with people in their seats. One individual gets up and starts dancing. People think to themselves, “What’s that crazy person doing dancing like that?” Then another person gets up to dance. Then another. And another. Soon the whole group is dancing, with the exception of a few individuals. Now, they are the crazy ones.
So why not start or join a movement? Or many movements? Let us begin reducing the gender gap by getting involved: as individuals, as groups, as cultures.
I ask you to engage this cohort to see what we learned and what actions we are planning to take now that we are home. I assure you, there are many. Ask what groups/programs we encountered; which ones are enacting change and which ones are not. This group of young adults all arrived with diverse perspectives. We left with even more, and I dare say that our lenses through which we see the world are a slightly different hue. I can say with absolute certainty, however, that we are all ready to dance.
Agreed conclusions on the CSW58 priority theme of “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls” were reached late in the evening this past Friday, 21 March. To read a statement from UN Women on the news, click here. To read an advance unedited version of the agreed conclusions, click here.
Kayleen Sam is an intern with the Salvation Army. Here is the story of her experience at CSW58 and how it relates to life where she is from in Papua New Guinea.
Here is a partial video of the lovely sending song from our final worship. Sadly the camera ran out of battery before it was over, but I think the waving glow sticks make up for that.
This year’s CSW is officially wrapped up and everyone has gone home, but there are still stories to share from our time together. Over the next little while as people process their experiences from CSW58, we will be sharing them on our website with you. In the meantime, here is a video from our final morning worship together. Enjoy!
A song from worship this morning, March 20th led by the Salvation Army band.