[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The fight for “just and equal gender relationships” should not be left to women and girls; but must “fully involve” men and boys, the Anglican Consultative Council has said. In a resolution passed unanimously by the council without debate or dissent during their recent ACC-16 meeting in Lusaka, the council urged the provinces of the Anglican Communion to continue to empower “girls and boys, women and men, to live and work in relationships that reflect Christian values of love, dignity and justice.”
They said that this should include “fostering awareness of harmful gender norms and cultural practices, and unjust power relations”; and that “church leaders [should] take responsibility for modelling just relationships . . . and for promoting gender equality” and for leading their members “in challenging and ending gender based violence in all its forms.”
The members of the Council were not blind to the Church’s own faults in this area, calling, in Resolution 16.02, for the transformation of “structures that prevent women and girls from offering their gifts and talents in the Church and in their communities.”
And they called too for an exploration of “how liturgies, contextual Bible study and existing ministries such as preparation for Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage can serve in the promotion of right relationship and intergenerational teaching about the God-given dignity and status of all persons.”
In a second Resolution, 16.03, the Council upheld “just relationships between women and men as a reflection of our Christian belief that women and men are equally made in the divine image” and they celebrated “the encouraging progress made across the Anglican Communion to address key challenges of gender justice.”
The Council also recommitted itself to resolutions passed by previous ACC meetings, calling for equal representation of women in decision making bodies, the elimination of all forms of gender-based and domestic violence; and the ending and prevention of people trafficking.
The separate provinces of the Anglican Communion have been asked to adopt similar resolutions; and also to provide a representative to the International Anglican Women’s Network and to provide financial assistance towards its work.