Anglican women’s organizations not sufficiently valued, network says

By ACNS staff
Posted Nov 18, 2013

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Steering Group of the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN) has said that in many parts of the Communion full value is not yet given to Anglican women’s organizations that contribute to God’s mission among marginalized women and girls.

In a communiqué issued after their UK meeting, Steering Group members reflected on the place of women in the Anglican Communion and concluded that more needed to be done to ensure the work and voices of women be acknowledged and appreciated.

“During our discussions it became clear that many of the challenges faced by women are held in common, whether in the developed or developing world,” the group wrote. “In particular, poverty in its many forms too frequently has a woman’s face.”

“It also became clear that in many parts of the Communion, full value is not yet given to Anglican women’s organizations that contribute faithfully to God’s mission among marginalized women and girls in their areas.”

The group reviewed how it might better support the women who serve the Women’s Network as Provincial Links around the Communion, particularly in taking forward the implementation of the Anglican Consultative Council resolutions concerning equal representation of men and women on decision-making bodies in Anglican Communion churches.

One possible way of supporting Provinces to address many of the challenges they had identified during their meeting was by facilitating two regional gatherings in South Asia (in 2015) and Africa (in 2016) which would focus on women’s economic empowerment.

The big challenge for IAWN’s Steering Group over the coming months is to find the resources and support to realize these meetings.

Read the full statement below:

IAWN Steering Group Communiqué

We, the members of the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN) Steering Group, thank God for the opportunity we have had to meet and reflect together at the Anglican Communion Office in London from November 7 – 12, 2013. All members of the Steering Group were present, apart from our Co-ordinator Mrs Ann Skamp from the Anglican Church of Australia, whom we greatly missed.

During our meeting, we heard news of the loss of life, homes and livelihoods caused by Typhoon Haiyan, and held the people of the Philippines in our prayers. We also heard about the fragile peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and pray that this will lead to renewed, urgent efforts to eliminate sexual violence which is a deeply traumatic and unacceptable weapon and legacy of conflict.

We were delighted that a number of experts within the Communion gave us time. The Revd Rachel Carnegie, soon to be Co-Director for the Anglican Alliance, expressed her desire to explore fresh approaches to collaboration between the International Anglican Women’s Network and the Alliance. Mr Jan Butter, Director for Communications at the Anglican Communion Office, challenged us to expand our approaches to global networking and sharing news. Anthropologist the Revd Dr Elizabeth Koepping, a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, gave an inspiring theological reflection and described her research into the contradiction between Scripture and practice with respect to domestic physical violence. This enhanced our own reflections on the implications of Anglican Consultative Council Resolution 15.07 on gender based and domestic violence.

In order to learn about a particular area of mission and outreach in an urban context, we visited the Church Army’s Day Centre in the Marylebone area of London. Day Centre Team Leader, Ms Valentina Ines La Mela, explained the work and ethos of the Project which successfully empowers vulnerable homeless women to live independently.

We reviewed how the Steering Group might better support the women who serve the Women’s Network as Provincial Links around the Communion, particularly in order to take forward the implementation of the ACC resolutions concerning equal representation of men and women on decision-making bodies in our churches, and Anglican responses to gender based and domestic violence.

The Steering Group includes women from around the worldwide Communion. During our discussions it became clear that many of the challenges faced by women are held in common, whether in the developed or developing world. In particular, poverty in its many forms too frequently has a woman’s face. It also became clear that in many parts of the Communion, full value is not yet given to Anglican women’s organisations that contribute faithfully to God’s mission among marginalised women and girls in their areas.

In order to deepen conversation and resolve concerning common challenges, we will explore the possibilities of two regional gatherings, one in South Asia in 2015, and one in Africa in 2016, with a focus on women’s economic empowerment and related issues.

The Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon, welcomed us warmly to the Anglican Communion Office. The Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Bishop James Tengatenga, encouraged the Steering Group. He reaffirmed the importance of the Networks as “where things are happening; they make Anglicans visible, representing the whole Body of Christ, everyone and in every place. They show the life of the churches throughout the Communion.”

We wish to thank the Anglican Communion Office for their hospitality, and in particular the Revd Terrie Robinson, Networks Coordinator and Women’s Desk Officer, for her generous and loving support and encouragement.

Elaine Cameron, Scottish Episcopal Church; Meenakshi Das, Church of North India; Margaret Dempster, Anglican Church of Canada; Claudette Kigeme, Anglican Church of Burundi; Elenor Lawrence, Anglican Church in the Province of the West Indies; Kim Robey, The Episcopal Church; Pumla Titus, Anglican Church of Southern Africa.


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