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March 18, 2016
Dr Julianne Stewart, Programs Director, speaks about her recent trip to Vanuatu where she attended a workshop looking at Gender issues from a theological perspective.
“This week, along with our Vanuatu partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM), ABM attended a workshop in Port Vila on the Theology of Gender. This was an activity of the Vanuatu Church Partnership (VCP) through which ABM and ACOM conduct community development programs in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Adult Literacy and Disaster Preparedness.
“The Gender Workshop, led by two excellent Pacific theologians from Uniting World (another VCP partner) explored God’s gift of life and dignity given to all people regardless of sex or gender at the Creation of the world. It examined several biblical texts, going back to their original Hebrew or Greek meanings and contexts, and showed how it is part of God’s purpose for all humankind that we live in love and respect for each other and for all the created order. Participants heard that in Christian theology and life there is no place for feelings of superiority by one gender over another, and certainly no place for violence towards members of our families or anyone else.
“On the other hand, we heard alarming statistics about the high rate of gender-based violence, both in the Pacific and in Australia, and we discussed ways in which changing harmful attitudes which may be supported by some interpretations of scripture, could help to impact positively to lower the rate of such violence.
“Being able to have such theological discussions is one of the strengths of the Church Partnership Program, both in Vanuatu and in PNG, where Australian and Pacific churches are able to combine their resources to open doorways so that people may lead more abundant, joyful and violence-free lives.”
(Image shows resource materials produced by Uniting World for the Pacific region.)