[Anglican Church of Melanesia] The Archbishop of Melanesia, who is also the patron of the Mothers’ Union (MU), has urged MU delegates to promote the place of women in the church and society.
The Most Rev. David Vunagi made the statement at the official opening of this 13th Provincial Mothers’ Union General Conference at the Melanesia Haus on August 25.
The theme for the conference was: Faithful Relationship in Unity, Mission and Service.
“Your mission is to liberate women from cultural and religious beliefs that oppress and discriminate against women,” Vunagi said.
“But before you can do that, you must take the initiative to raise your own self-esteem and liberate yourselves from the negative impacts of culture and religion that restrict the place of women in the church and society.”
He said women, particularly in Melanesia, have been conditioned by culture and religion to think that their place is at the periphery of any organization or body of people.
The archbishop urged church and society, especially in Melanesia, to listen to the voices of women, girls and children who are “always placed at the deep end of the stick”. He said it is only when church and society are listening that they can establish achievable goals to remedy unjust systems and structures.
“It should be part of the witness for the gospel that the church must work towards dismantling the conditioned mentality of the society that put women at the backburner. But women must have trust and confidence in themselves that they are equal partners of men in the mission and ministry of the Church.”
It is for such reason that this general conference can help women in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands recognize the negative impacts of the different forms of oppression and discrimination that have continued to hinder them in fully participating in the decision-making processes in the church and in the communities they live.
It is also for such reason that this consultation will help to develop a dynamic process that will help establish a societal environment that is truly free and inclusive to help women fully realize their worth and potential.
The general conference ran from August 25-30.
About 80 MU delegates from the nine dioceses across the Anglican Church of Melanesia plus provincial MU staff took joined the conference.