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Check out the following amazing video of delegates from the World Student Christian Federation leading morning worship last Wednesday in the Tillman Chapel in the Church Center for the United Nations.

A recording of the Salvation Army delegation to CSW57 leading us in “We Are Marching/ Siyahamba” last Thursday at morning worship.

A video of the Salvation Army delegation to CSW57 leading us in singing “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” last Thursday at morning worship.

Check out the video below of our conversation with Dr. Renee Campbell, a United Methodist Women delegate to #CSW57.

Check out the video below of the Salvation Army delegation to CSW57 performing a timbrel drill to “Do Lord” at last Thursday’s morning worship.

A cross-post from the International Anglican Women’s Network in Canada’s blog.

One of my favourite things about being part of an ecumenical group here at the UN is the chance to remind myself how much I love other denominations – both their theology and their actual members (also usually their Church music). Yesterday was my day to remember how awesome Presbyterians (specifically from the Presbyterian Church USA) are.

I had the good fortune of being reunited this week with my roommate from one semester of seminary, which I did here in the US at Yale Divinity School. We were so excited to see one another that we nearly caused casualties running across the room at a debrief to hug one another. My friend Kate is here because she organized the attendance and participation of a group of 10 young women from the PCUSA and UNCSW57. Since this is exactly what I am trying to help my denomination get organized right now, I thought it was pretty awesome. This was all as part of her work at the office for young women’s leadership (or some such, I probably have the title wrong) at the denominational headquarters. WE SHOULD GET ONE OF THOSE IN CANADA!

But Kate was not nearly the only awesome Presbyterian from yesterday. At yesterday morning’s advocacy briefing – as at every advocacy meeting for Ecumenical Women, Ryan, one of the Presbyterian permanent staff members at the UN, lead the group as we tried to digest the new 23 page version of the agreed conclusions and devise an advocacy strategy that will help get our talking points into the hands of those who have the ability to influence changes in the document, that is member states. On this year’s theme of the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women, Ecumenical women has chosen three points which we believe must absolutely be strengthened in the agreed conclusions: That cultural, structural and economic violence are underlying factors that must be addressed; education is a vital part of the change process, especially societal change and must incorporate men and boys alongside women and girls; and that we must pay particular attention to the needs of rural and minority populations and improve their access to resources and services. To read through Ecumencial Women’s complete joint advocacy statement, visit http://ecumenicalwomen.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/csw57statement.pdf
Ryan, along with a number of other Presbyterians who were at the advocacy meeting, have been leaders in the advocacy work of Ecumenical Women. I have been very grateful for his help while I figure out how to best engage in this process here at CSW.

Then in the afternoon, since it was already a pretty Presbyterian day, I decided to attend their parallel event on institutional violence and though I had to leave early I got to sing one of my favourite hymns (Sister, let me be your servant) and hear a very thoughtful Bible study on the woman caught in adultery.

Speakers at the Presbyterian parallel event on Institutional Violence

 
To top off awesome Presbyterian day, I met up with a friend and former professor of mine, Patrick, who also happens to be Presbyterian. We had a chance to catch up and talk about the work we are doing and as always this is one of my favourite things about traveling to conferences.

In conclusion, Presbyterians are truly awesome: I look to them every time I need theology to combat idolatry or to limit my merry-making to once a quarter. Tune in next time when I go on and on about Lutherans and how much I love rhythmic German hymns tunes.

 

An Inter-generational conversation between two delegates to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women, Jennifer Bailey, a Church Women United and National Council of Churches and Fulata Moyo from the World Council of Churches.  Jennifer and Fulata discuss the corruption of sacred texts by some advocacy groups at the United Nations and the diversity of faith perspectives on gender rights.

by Joanna Hertzog, CSW delegate and seminarian from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

644671_659520643618_1556118597_nI came to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women with my own stories of the way violence and abuse has separated my family. I came with the stories of women I have met and the stories of women I have never met. I came unsure of how my voice, as a Lutheran seminary student, would fit in the midst of the voices of leaders from around the world.

It was during the General Assembly on Tuesday that my uncertainty about where my voice fits was made clear. The representative from Australia during her statement said, “Living free from violence is everyone’s right. Working for freedom from violence is everyone’s responsibility.”

It was at that moment that I took notice of who was sitting beside me: a woman in her twenties from Uganda and a woman in her forties reading a newspaper written in French. I looked at the rows of women and men from around the world: some in black suit coats, some in bright colored scarves, some young and some old.

I realized that I was surrounded by thousands of powerful women from around the world–all of who are speaking out with one loud and powerful voice to end violence against women and girls. I am here with women who are fighting for freedom from violence and oppression. I am here with men who are speaking out with their mothers, wives, daughters, and friends. Each speaking in her mother tongue. Each bringing her own stories. Each beautiful in her own way.

And I knew that it didn’t matter of where my voice would fit because it was the power of all our voices brought together as one voice. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that continues to move and breathe that unites all of us, despite our differences, as one body—as one voice. It is out of the promises of the gospel that we stand together, hand in hand, no longer focusing on what separates us but on what unites us. The 57th CSW is a testament of how the Spirit is moving with one voice to end violence against women and girls. As the church, let’s continue to boldly proclaim the radical gospel that all have the right to a life free from violence and oppression.

A poem by Djamillah Samad, National Executive of Church Women United:

imagesee me in no shoes, my feet bare upon the ground,
see me in no shoes barely free from a war of states, they say we are free now
but, see me in no shoes, what does freedom mean?

see me in these shoes, shoes big and broken, not really made for me
see me in these shoes walking roads dark and troubled, in a marriage not meant to be,
see me in a union of race mixing and identities stolen.

see me standing in these shoes, wife of a mill owner, I’m  often denied by him in public,
see me compelled by color, class, and gender, pushed to say so little,

see me in these shoes, brand new for this occasion, never worn before,
listen as my youngest girl is crying by my grave, watch her put her own shoes on,
now, watch the slowness of her walk, her life is rapidly changing,
see her sadness in a few years as her daddy’s mills go sold to others  because I am gone on home.

see me in these shoes, shoes not very new
see me in these shoes owned by another little girl whose story, life and access so different than my own,
see the shoes they passed along to a girl who has no mother.

see me in these shoes, I’m not even 14, standing frightened at the porch door,
telling that ole sheriff that my daddy is not here,
see me now in just one shoe, the other lost in the struggle for my life,
make this man leave me alone, I fight in fear, I cry, I fail.
see me hold my other shoe, rocking and crying all alone,
I know my daddy could not have defended me, he’s almost as powerless as me.

see me in these shoes,  I feel I must leave home,
see me riding this train looking for work up north,
see me in my work shoes, maid to a woman who’s not much better off than me, I hear her sobs at night grieving a life gone south.

see me in these shoes, holding out my hand for my pay, we both knowing she pays me less than is my worth,
now see me in the shadows watching her as she steals it back,
she knows I can’t say a word, I know that she can’t either.

see me in these shoes now new and shiny but leaving once again,
see me in these shoes, years later walking on other streets,

see me say I do for a second time, I don’t really love him, it’s safe.
see me in these slippers staring at this child, too tired to read or hold her, I’ll just buy her a toy, tell her to sleep,
see me in these shoes, no one knows which ones I have on.
see my daughter stare at me in my repose, few words were exchanged these last few years, now in my death it is far too late.

see me in these shoes, running for the bus
this is not the first time my eye has been blackened and screams gone unheard,
I just know the next time will be different.

see me mother these children, they’ve aged before my eyes, look, as the years just whiz right by,
But, see them stop talking, is it them, or is it me, not opening up, never admitting they are hurting too,
see them wearing their own shoes, I wonder how much they hide.

see me in your shoes mommy, they’re  so pretty, heels so high.
see me in your shoes, so big upon my six year old feet.
see me in your shoes mommy, walking down our street,
see me walking in your footsteps, will I be just like you?

 

Linda Forsberg, an Ecumenical Women delegate and pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, discusses why she came to CSW57, her own experience of violence and how all individuals, boys and men included, share in one prayer of preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls.

Ecumenical Women:

a great piece from a Presbyterian delegate to CSW57.

Originally posted on Observations at the UN Commission on the Status of Women:

CSW is the most prominent gathering of women for bringing attention to the rights of women around the world. It is in effect a political process for member states to agree on policies and actions they will take to promote women’s rights and to eliminate all forms of violence against women. Bottom line, member states have already agreed to actions, but there is a gap between promises and action.

The US has some major issues – big surprise… As I understand it, the US has not ratified CEDAW (CEDAW) Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination of Women. From the web site:

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women…

View original 129 more words

IMG_4974Rana Chamadi, World Student Christian Federation Delegate, Member of the Orthodox Youth Movement in Lebanon writes about her experience on 3 March, 2013.

Today was a long day: We waited two hours in line to get our UN passes, went for a quick lunch, took the subway all the way across town to get to the Bible study at “the box of God” then came back to the hotel and spent the evening preparing the first ecumenical women worship service on Monday morning. It was really tiring but also very inspiring to be among this group of young educated women who are working hard to make the voice of unnamed women heard.

“If peace was defined as an absence of violence against women, no country would be considered peaceful”. It’s these simple , yet powerful words,  that marked me today. Our WSCF delegation met with other groups of young adults for a contextual Bible study. It’s during this meeting that I heard this important statement and it made me realize, that despite the fact that the women we met with came from various places and were very different, we were all the same when it came to the issue of violence and women’s rights. We are all aware of the issues women are facing, all we need to do is get the message through at the CSW to make an impact then work on the implementation of the change. The change is in our hands, at the “grass roots” level, and that is a big responsibility. These coming two weeks will only be the beginning of our journey of advocacy for women’s rights and I hope I’ll live up to my duties.

 


Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women speaking to a group of about 175 Ecumenical Women delegates to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women on 2 March, 2013.

The Ecumenical Women’s worship service at the Commission on the Status of Women on Friday, March 2 focused on the World Day of Prayer. This year’s worship materials were written by women from Malaysia.

Theresa Symons, Executive Director of the Good Shepherd Welfare Centre in Malaysia, provided a Reflection on Malaysia during the Ecumenical Women’s worship that took place in the chapel at the Church Center for the United Nations. She noted the changes and the progress that Malaysia has seen over the past two decades.

She also reflected on the challenges face by the 4 million migrants who have come to Malaysia.

These women migrants do not have a voice, poverty has silenced their right to be heard. My heart aches.

But, she affirms that there is a ray of hope:

I see people braving prison sentences in order that the voices of the helpless are heard. I see people of different races, religions, culture and economic status walk the streets, demanding for fair general elections. I hear people affirming that human rights are women’s rights. I see people helping each other.

She concludes with a vision and a prayer:

May Malaysia be a land where truth, justice, and compassion prevail for all who come to my shores.

Amen!

 

Watch more videos from the World Day of Prayer Ecumenical Women worship service:

Call to Worship

Prayer of Intercession

Gospel Reading

 

Anastassia Zinke interviews Rev. Joyce Kariuki, acting general secretary of the Anglican Councils of Africa.

Was this your first time attending the Conference on the Status of Women (CSW)?

I have been here several times before.  The last one I attended was the CSW focused on the Girl Child.  I think this is the fourth time that I have attended a CSW.  This year I was requested by the archbishop to come.  They send someone yearly, but some years for personal reasons I have been unable to serve as the delegate.

What have you learned or taken away from this year’s CSW?

We cannot let the Beijing Platform for Action to be eclipsed by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), or be dropped as a tool in addressing women’s rights.  We are far from achieving our goal.  It is a struggle to keep this movement going, to achieve the empowerment of women.  The Beijing Platform is useful to us though, because it reminds us and equips us to keep this struggle going.  It helps articulate women’s issues.  We can refer to it and make sure – through the use of the right language – that others understand.

What are the pressing issues that you see in Kenya?  In the church?

Also, gender equity in the church needs to be addressed.  We are far behind the governments in terms of gender equity.  This will not do.  The church ought to be the model for society.  We also have to acknowledge the huge reach that we have.  We reach everyone: girls, women, men, and boys.  We have the ability to ensure that the message is being heard.

This can be complicated however.  There is a debate that the girl-child has been promoted so much that the boy-child has been left behind.  So now I include the boy-child, so that it is about holistic participation in change.  However, we have not forgotten that that the child-girl has been in a difficult situation.  We all have become involved, and help them become and stay students.

Another significant issue is domestic violence against women.  When there is violence, a woman is reduced to nothing.  We need to change this.  The church has not been able to address this yet.  During this conference, however, I heard a South African man talk about his work of leading men to address violence against women.  Men themselves condemning the violence.  They see that it is their issue.  This is powerful and a model that I would like to see adopted in Kenya, so that men don’t push the issue aside.

In Kenya, we are changing the constitution.  This presents a great possibility for women.  We need to finish this process.  Though we can critique the government, we cannot let this opportunity pass.  We must recognize that we all function under the government, so we need to partner with the government to get the constitution to its the best stage.

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