A Gender Conclave held by the Church of South India at its centre in Chennai was “another significant milestone in the journey towards a gender equal society beginning with the church,” the CSI said. The conclave was one of a number of events held as part of the Church’s 70th anniversary.
The CSI affirmed “three important messages” during the conclave: “gender inequality is pervasive in our socio-cultural context and the Church has taken its role in breaking this cycle of inequality seriously; the responsibility to break this cycle of inequality is not on women alone but should be a task to be handled in partnership together as men and women; [and] we realise that as a church we need to work simultaneously at different levels to tackle gender inequality.”
They CSI said: “Tackling gender inequality can be achieved by changing the mindsets of people culturally and theologically, sending strong messages from our pulpits and making ‘zero tolerance towards gender inequality’ our official policy as a church.”
A total of 66 participants from different parts of the CSI took part in the conclave. The participants included the presidents of diocesan Women Fellowships, Women Fellowship secretaries and Men Fellowship secretaries from the CSI’s 24 dioceses.
The Moderator of the CSI, Thomas K Oomen, opened the conclave, which took place last month, and delivered a Bible study on the biblical story of Zelophelad’s daughters claiming property from the 27th chapter of the book of Numbers 27; affirming the right of women to family property.
The Moderator “strongly affirmed that only the church can give leadership to bring gender equity in society,” the CSI said. “Only the church can give new hope and life for women and men partnering for gender equity. As the church brings the kingdom of God on earth, church becomes the source of gender equity, new life and new hope.”
The general secretary of the CSI, the Revd Dr Rathnakara Sadananda, said that both men and women were “ex nihilo” – created out of nothing, “which indicates that all are equal,” he said, pointing out that “we have partnerships in the church but many a times they are not equal partnerships.”