I hope that each of you had a blessed Thanksgiving celebration with your family and friends! I enjoyed the time with my older son and his family – sharing meals, activities, and runny noses!! Being slightly under the weather, this blog may be brief but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share some information I stumbled upon as I researched World AIDS Day for last week’s issue.
We are in the middle of a time designated as the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. This international campaign begins on November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on Human Rights Day, December 10. The theme of this year’s effort is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women!”
Amnesty International reports that the goal of this effort is “to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international level.” Their website has some helpful information and video clips to focus your response: http://www.amnesty.org/en/womens-rights/16-days
The Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs also has some helpful information on the website which can be accessed here – http://www.episcopalchurch.org/notice/november-25-%E2%80%93-december-10-16-days-activism-against-gender-violence
Perhaps it’s not surprising that the 77th General Convention supported a resolution addressing Gender Violence:
A139: Gender Violence
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention affirm the Letter to the Churches of the Anglican Communion from the Primates of the Anglican Communion following their Primates Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, January 24–30, 2011, concerning gender-based violence, including endorsing and implementing the actions put forth in the statement; and be it further
Resolved, That parishes and dioceses be encouraged to participate in annual awareness campaigns about gender violence; and be it further
Resolved, That the Department of Global Partnership identify and disseminate resources about gender violence and promote their use by dioceses and parishes.
The letter referenced in the first resolve may be found here:
To be honest, at first glance I thought, “Hey, wait a second! Aren’t we trying to slow down a bit to celebrate the season of Advent? It’s hard enough to do that when all around us we see the hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating and planning for holiday gatherings! Why add more to our plates with these other concerns that draw our attention from the quiet, hopeful waiting of this season?” But isn’t this the point? Jesus was not born into a perfect world where all needs are met and justice reigns. Jesus was born into a world in chaos, a hurting world that desperately needs a Savior! How appropriate then that these issues of Human Rights come to rattle our complacency and move us to see the world as our Lord sees it. Maybe Advent is the perfect time for seeing beyond ourselves and attempting to bring Jesus to those who need to know his love. As we read our Advent reflections and prepare for the coming of Christ, let us each look for ways we can become advocates for justice and mercy for all. This good work doesn’t need to end after these 16 days – in fact, this is only the beginning!!
A blessed Advent to you!
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council