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On Saturday, February 23, Ecumenical Women gathered for our orientation on the 52nd Commission on the Status of Women. On that day, we joined together as women from many different areas of the world, cultures, ethnicities, denominations, and identities of all kinds, to form a coalition of women advocating for gender equality at the United Nations, from a faith-based perspective. We worshipped together, learned together, reflected together, and ate together! And after all that togetherness… we advocated together!
Photograph by Kimberly Llerena.
Find the EW Language Proposal for Agreed Conclusions here.
Ecumenical Women’s coalition member, the World Council of Churches (WCC), has recently been featured in an article by The Economist, a prominent news, politics, and business periodical run out of England on a weekly basis. Published on February 21, 2008, the article expresses some of the difficulties and many of the successes that the WCC (and the ecumenical community) has historically experienced in manuevering the ecumenical and Christian communities. Read more here.
Ecumenical Women, together with the Al-Hakim Foundation and Religions for Peace, announces a multi-cultural, multi-religious panel, entitled “A Dialogue Between Cultures: ‘Iraq for All‘” on Monday, March 3, 1:00 – 3:30 pm in the Tillman Chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations. The topics of conversation are: the role of NGO’s in re-building civil society, women as builders, and practicing the Millenium Development Goals.
- Ms. Layla Al-Khafaji, Member of the Iraqi Parliament, Al-Hakim Foundation, IRAQ
- Dr. Michele Fedoroff, Deputy Chief of NGO Section, DESA
- Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Assistant General Secretary, World Conference of Religions for Peace
- Dr.Bayan Al-Araji, Al-Hakim Foundation, UK
- Dr.Jafar Jawad, Al-Hakim Foundation, US
- Michel Ngoymulunda, Lutheran World Federation, Youth leader in Lutheran Communion in Central and Eastern Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Moderator: Dr. Mohammed Mohammed Ali, IRAQ
Come and join us for some stimulating conversation!
About a month ago, I was writing the litany for Ecumenical Women’s opening worship for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In the first draft of the refrain, I wrote, “Shower the earth with your justice, O God, and invest life into the bodies of your people.” Bringing it to Kathleen Stone, the chaplain at the Church Center for the United Nations, I, a white, privileged, upper-middle class (by American standards), North American woman, expressed my timidity about using the word “justice” so liberally in the refrain. “What is justice, anyway?” I thought to myself, “and how do I feel about a God who openly distributes justice upon God’s enemies? What does it mean for God to have enemies?”
As I expressed these perusings to Kath, she paused before commenting. When she spoke, it was reminiscent of what my Exegesis professor at Union Theological Seminary would later say about Ezekiel 37:1-14. For those people who have witnessed the ravaging of their homes, who have experienced the debilitating scourge of poverty upon their bodies and communities, and whose flesh has been torn and wounded—indeed, for those who have seen the “dry bones” of Ezekiel—the word “justice” is never too strong a word to use. In these situations, when humanity is hampered by our inability to distribute justice, it is God who must distribute justice. The women who would be reciting my litany have seen these dry bones, and they have come to the CSW to right the injustices of this valley. With these women in mind, Kath and I changed the refrain to “Thunder the earth with your justice, O God, and invest life into the bodies of your people.”
A Study of The Kingdom of God within the “Monterrey Consensus” framework
….for the sake of all persons male, female, black, white, young, old, rich, poor,
There is a heart within those of us who yet believe in the coming of the Kingdom of God which will not rest. ”
(adapted from Augustine, 300 AD)
This study is born from that unrest. It analyzes the six themes of the Monterrey consensus. It can be used as a discussion guide for groups to analyze the concept of the Kingdom of God or the Monterrey consensus.
One look at the world as we see it today with its vast inequities of privilege, power, ease of life, and economics, and we know something is vastly wrong. When we understand that women bear the disproportional burden of our erroring ways, the problem is thicker. And when we realize that women of color and indigenous women are excessively loaded with troubling powerful inequity, we must cry out. “This is just wrong.”
As the bearers of children, women have always needed the protection of community. Except for perhaps small pockets of the world, we can not escape this fact. And yet, more and more, around the world, with the direction our economy is taking us, women’s only hope of survival is to be used as a cog in a “liberalized, non-regulated economy”. And the problem? The value system of that economy has little consideration for the unique needs and the multiple responsibilities placed upon women. To see so many suffering at such extraordinary levels is unacceptable in God’s Kingdom and should be unacceptable in any ethical system of governance.
Download to read more….
A Study of The Kingdom of God within the “Monterrey Consensus” framework
De 25 de febrero a 7 de marzo reúne-se en la ONU, la 52a. Sesión de la Comisión de la Condición Jurídica y Social de las Mujeres bajo el tema principal “Financiación en el Desarrollo para la Igualdad de Genero y empoderamiento de las Mujeres”. La coalición Mujeres Ecuménicas, en la cual Sabiduría y Testimonio, participa como integrante de la Federación Mundial de Mujeres Metodistas y de las Iglesias Unidas, lanza su website y presenta a la Comisión de la ONU su posición en el tema, desde la perspectiva teológica de justicia e igualdad
Aqui, la versión en portugués del COMUNICADO A IMPRENSA, emitido por las Mujeres Ecuménicas. En archivo, el documento en español de las Mujeres Ecuménicas entregue a la Comisión de la ONU.
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Sabiduría y Testimonio
Want to feel extra-prepared for Ecumenical Women’s Orientation day? Curious about the Faith-based events that will be offered during CSW? Look no further–you can download them right here:
CSW 2008 delegates, click here for even more info on the upcoming weeks!
Oumou Toure from Guinea did not want her two year old daughter Fanta to suffer the same treatment she experienced herself at the age of 19: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as Female Genital Cutting (FGC). For several months she was facing deportation from Canada to her home country Guinea. But finally in July 2007 she and her daughter were granted permanent residence in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Protecting women from FGM is still not seen as self evident in many Western countries including Canada. It took Toure three times to finally get granted permanent residence. Nevertheless, Oumou is one of a growing number of women seeking asylum in Western countries to escape FGM. And while most Western countries, including the US, Canada, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Germany and Italy regard FGM as criminal act, there is also an increasing number of states that regard FGM as reason for granting refugee status.
In the United States, FGM is regarded as a reason for granting asylum since 1996 when the Board of Immigration Appeals granted asylum for Fauziya Kassindja, a teenager from Togo. But the case of Oumou Toure in Canada shows, there is a gap between claim and reality. As in Guinea (like in many other countries) FGM is formally outlawed it had to be proven to the Canadian authorities that the law is actually not enforced. 99 % of girls and women between the age of 15 and 49 in Guinea had to undergo the treatment of FGM.
In a recently issued report by the Secretary General of the United Nations it is stated that although in many countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Morocco and Eritrea FGM is officially criminalized “enforcement of these laws remains a major challenge as the practice continues to be seen as an issue at the private or family level that should not be brought into the public domain for discussion and action.” Read the rest of this entry »
The Draft Agreed Resolution for CSW 52 as presented by the Bureau is now available on the CSW website.
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.’ (Luke 17: 20-21). “The Kingdom of God, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” That is what we pray for, sometimes every week, within the Lord’s Prayer. Yet, is it what we work for? Is it what we join hands for? Is it what grounds our activism and enthuses our bodies for the work we must do?
On the occasion of the 2008 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York, with 160 delegates representing churches within many, many countries in the world, Ecumenical Women will work from all our own cultural contexts to explore the themes and analysis from the Monterrey Consensus and how it all engages–or doesn’t–with the Biblical vision of the Kingdom of God. EW is planning a worship service – and it’s all about the kingdom: that “other” world, a world of justice, peace and community, which will come and is already amidst us, and which inspires us in our struggle for peace and justice.
Although “basileia,” the original Greek term, is usually translated in most English bibles as “Kingdom of God”, it is not the only way of translating it. Additionally, English is not the only language women and men use to speak about the basileia. Therefore, we ask you: What comes into your mind when you hear “basileia”, or “Kingdom of God”? Do you use a terminology other than “Kingdom? If so, why do you think it is more appropriate? What is the word you use in your own language? What does the translation infer? Does it identify with a (male) ruler, or rather to a community of equal people? Or, to something else? Please post your comments here or on the Theology Committee’s Page! Read the rest of this entry »
Major Christian youth movements and organizations called for a stronger effort to make the next steps towards Christian unity. Two days before a prayer meeting of Pope Benedict XVI. and Samual Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, they asked in a joint statement the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches, Christian World Communions and Regional Ecumenical Organizations to share the ecumenical dialogue with young people: “While we know that you, as senior church leaders, are committed to Christian unity, we still experience disunity among Christians. For example, many of us feel pain when we are unable to celebrate the Eucharist together and be united at the Lord’s Table.”Therefore, they call on church leaders to share the ecumenical dialogue with young people.At the same time, the representatives of Christian young movements committed to:
“raise awareness of the importance of Christian unity among young people, including members of our organizations;
“develop joint activities among young people that respond to social issues, and
“deepen cooperation amongst our organisations as a model of Christian unity.”