Photo Credit: Christian Aid Zimbabwe
[World Council of Churches] To strengthen the work of churches in achieving gender justice, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has launched the Gender and Faith Network. The network is a movement of faith leaders in Zimbabwe committed to build a church that understands the cause of gender justice and supports local communities with deeper insight and sensitivity.
The network reiterates the need for church leaders to be agents of social transformation.
The network was formed by the ZCC in collaboration with the Padare-Enkundleni Men’s Forum on Gender and Christian Aid, with facilitation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy, Harare office.
The ZCC, which represents WCC member churches as well as other churches in Zimbabwe, formed the network at its Consultative Conference held in Nyanga from 29 June to 2 July.
In Nyanga, conference participants using the Contextual Bible Study method focused on the role of church leaders in promoting gender justice. They reflected on different biblical passages and analyzed the role of religion and culture in gender injustice.
The participants also deliberated on the concept of patriarchy and power while planning actions regarding their churches’ response to gender-based violence. Participants also discussed the national laws related to gender equality and how such laws can support families, churches and communities in upholding cultures of peace.
While the senior church leaders expressed their unwavering commitment to gender justice by establishing the Gender and Faith Network, they also joined the “Thursdays in Black” initiative which, through the simple gesture of wearing black on Thursdays, promotes an end to violence against women. Together, the church participants pledged to work for a world in which no one is excluded on the grounds of gender and where diversity is celebrated.
The conference participants agreed to conduct training sessions for church leaders and lay community leaders to spread awareness about gender issues and achieve their vision of gender justice.
Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda, Diocese of Central Zimbabwe; Bishop Erick Ruwona, Diocese of Manicaland; and Bishop Godfrey Tawonezwi, Diocese of Masvingo, participated in the launch. Bishop Chad Gandiya, Diocese of Harare, sent a representative. The four Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe belong to the Church of the Province of Central Africa.