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Knotted GunEcumenical Women began early this morning another year of historic advocacy at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  The morning began with a rousing Opening Worship. 

Women from all over the world listened, watched, and responded to an artistic retelling of the story of Ruth and Naomi.  We performed together a ritual of rememberance, saying together:

God of our ancestors, God of us all
This morning, and throughout this week,
We remember women.
We remember those who have woven
and now weave the threads of history
We remember those who gave and give to the world.

We remember…
Those who make music,
who do labor, who mother children, who struggle, who laugh, who have wisdom, who make art, who have visions

We remember…
Those who have survived horrors, who told the stories, who made a way out of no way, who fought for freedom, who knew the truth and lived it, who died because they dared.

We remember…
Those who bear the cup of life;
Who pour it out to heal the ground on which we stand
Those who bake the bread of life
Who bid that we taste and see who good it is.

Remember with Ecumenical Women today, the next two weeks, and for ever the women who struggle for the hope of a better world.

In preparation for the March meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-53) at the United Nations, Ecumenical Women has launched an advocacy guide: Faith at the UN, Gender in the Church: Ecumenical Women’s Guide to Advocacy.

The resource prepares delegates from faith-based non-governmental organizations for effective action at the annual United Nations meeting.

Including a brief history of advocacy by women of faith at the United Nations, the guide provides an overview on how to advocate for women’s rights at the UN, gender-equality action strategies for congregations, and theological reflections on gender equality written by women and men from around the world.

DOWNLOAD Faith at the UN, Gender in the Church: Ecumenical Women’s Guide to Advocacy
DOWNLOAD Ecumenical Women’s Addendum, CSW-53
DOWNLOAD Press Release

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In preparation for the 53rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, as people of faith it is important to take some time and space to ourselves and reflect.  This year’s theme — “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS” — encourages us to look to our own daily lives for the most basic examples of how labor is divided between men and women.  Who decides how such decisions are made?  How much flexibility is present in the sharing of responsibilities?  Who carries a heavier burden, and what kinds of tasks are allotted to which people?

As members of a religious community, the second part of this theme must give us pause.  It is the faith-based community who, in the past, helped in perpetuating a negative stigma of people living with HIV and AIDS.  Our role in this negative stereotyping requires repentence, characterized by a prounounced humility and tremendous courage in naming our wrongdoing.  It is our role, before acting out in advocacy, to ask forgiveness of those whom we have wronged.

We can follow the example set by ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson, who spoke this past summer at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.  Watch him speak and act in this video to help envision how we ourselves might repent as religious leaders.

Emily Davila, Assistant Director of the Lutheran Office for World Community and chairperson of Ecumenical Women at the United Nations,
will facilitate a conversation about faith-based NGO’s involvement and impact on the 53rd UN Commission on the Status of Women to by held March 2 –13, 2009 here in NYC. Download Flier

This Brown Bag lunch is co-sponsored by National Council of Churches, USA — Women’s Ministries and Ecumenical Women. It is one in a series of monthly brown bags co-sponsored by the NCC.

Tuesday February 17, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Dinning Room C-D (1st floor)
Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Drive at 120th Street
New York City

Ecumenical Women’s chair, Assistant Director of the Lutheran Office for World Community Emily Davila, was recently published in the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.  Her article is titled “A Human Rights-Based Approach to Advocacy: the Role of the Church.”

In her paper, Davila states,

As people of faith, we have the freedom to use language about human rights and poverty that emphasizes the dignity of the human person, tells the story and the conditions of persons living in poverty, as well as communicates the necessity for collective response. We must approach the future of human rights careful not to forget the achievements of the past, and support new and emerging regional and national human rights initiatives, especially those led by the Global South.

Nine extremely talented young adult women ranging in age from 19 to 26 will participate in the UNCSW from Feb 27 to March 6 through a joint effort within the Episcopal Church’s Mission Leadership Center of the Women’s and Young Adult Leadership areas.  The group is diverse in their cultural backgrounds and education, but all have had opportunities to take leadership roles in the church and in other NGO’s.

The most defining characteristic, however, is their passion for human rights for women.

“In my ministry with some of the brightest young adults in our country, I am struck not just by their intelligence, but by their passion to contribute something positive to the world. At the same time, they are not naïve about the challenges we face. This is, after all, the generation that came of age on 9/11 and has always known about global warming. To involve these young women at a level that engages both the church and the political realm seems to me to be a marvelous way to connect them with structures through which they can channel their passion for justice,” says the Rev. Stacy Alan, Chaplain, Brent House, The Episcopal Center at the University of Chicago.

The members of the group are: Areeta Bridgemohan, Allison Adair, Catherine Healy, Laura Eberly, Karen Longenecker, Amy Porterfield, Kate Lemler, Andrea de la Torre, and J. Kiku Langford. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • UN welcomes Malaysia's court ruling to decriminalizes transgender women
    The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today welcomed the recent judgment by the Court of Appeal of Malaysia that declared unconstitutional the criminalization of Muslim transgender women for cross-dressing.
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  • UN mission continues investigation into alleged mass rape in North Darfur town
    Allegations of the mass rape of 200 women and girls in a town in North Darfur continue raise concerns in the war-torn Sudanese region as the African Union-United Nations hybrid mission there presses ahead with its efforts "to shed further light" on the reports.
    UN News

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