16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Please find in this link: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/16-days-of-activism-against-gender-based-violence  an article on 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. This link will take you to the World Council of Churches’ website, feel free to explore the website, but also consider what you can do to be an activist against gender-based violence.

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Unity Synod Outcomes

The following are the actions that Unity Synod took with the proposals that the Unity Women’s Desk sent with the help of the women from the 4th Unit Women’s Consultation. Thank you all for your support and love, as we are making great progress!

RESOLUTION #1 FROM THE FOURTH UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATION AND THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK

RESOLUTION TO REPLACE ARTICLE #810 OF THE COUF ON THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK AND CONSULTATIONS

Whereas the First Unity Women’s Consultation affirmed the need for a Unity Women’s Desk to address the needs and concerns of the women of the Moravian Unity; and

Whereas each succeeding Unity Women’s Consultation (2002, 2008, and 2016) has reaffirmed the need for such an organization; and

Whereas the Unity Women’s Desk (hereafter referred to as the UWD) was officially formed in January 2011 and recognized by the Unity Board; and

Whereas, the Unity Board elected/appointed an official Advisory Board for the UWD that took office in January of 2013; and

Whereas the UWD has been responsible for working for global change for Moravian women from that time; and

Whereas the UWD Advisory Board took responsibility for the planning and implementation of the Fourth Unity Women’s Consultation held in 2016; and

Whereas the UWD is the most likely organization to arrange for the planning of future Consultations; therefore

Be it resolved that the UWD be responsible for coordinating the ongoing work with the women of The Unity in the future and be responsible for coordinating the efforts of planning and implementing future Consultations in addition to its regular work of looking out for the welfare of the women of The Unity as regards Education, Violence against Women, Alleviating Poverty and Unemployment, Health Issues of Women and Children, Parenting, and issues pertaining to Women in Ministry; and

Be it further resolved that the Unity Board and Unity Synod continue to elect members to the Advisory Board in the following manner:  There will be one woman from each of the four Regions of The Unity on the Advisory Board. Each Advisory Board member will be elected for a four year term with the possibility of re-election for one additional four year term.  Two Board members to be elected every two years by the Unity Board or Unity Synod with the terms staggered so that there will be continuity for the Board members with two members remaining on the Board and two new members being elected every two years; and

Be it further resolved, that the Advisory Board will be responsible for appointing officers of the Advisory Board:  Coordinator/President (with the approval of the Unity Board/Synod), Assistant Coordinator/Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer and other officers as deemed necessary for the efficient operating of the UWD.  Appointment of these officers to be made at the beginning of each calendar year at the first quarterly meeting of the Advisory Board; and

Be it resolved that each Region be represented by an appropriate number of Sub-Desk Coordinators (three from the Africa Region, two from the Caribbean Region, one from the European Region, and one from the American Region), and by an appropriate number of Provincial Coordinators within each Province, Mission Province, and Mission Area to coordinate efforts within the Province and to report to the Advisory Board and to make requests for support and financial assistance as may be needed to award scholarships, micro-loans, and other project support.  The Sub-Desk Coordinators will be approved by the Unity Board and Provincial Coordinators will be chosen with the cooperation of the Provinces and the Advisory Board; and

Be it further resolved, that the Advisory Board may appoint additional members to the Planning Committee for the purpose of planning the Consultations which have been approved by the Unity Synod The Planning Committee will begin its work at least four years before the planned Consultation in accordance with the Unity Synod schedule; and

Be it further resolved that this resolution replace Article #810 in the Church Order of the Moravian Church, effective upon the completion of the Unity Synod of 2016 to continue the work of the Unity Women’s Desk and the planning of future Consultations.

 

PASSED AS WRITTEN AND IN CHURCH ORDER OF THE UNITAS FRATRUM AS ARTICLE 810.

 

RESOLUTION #2  from the Fourth Unity Women’s Consultation (February 2016) and the Unity Women’s Desk

RESOLUTION TO HAVE A UNITY WOMEN’S DESK DELEGATE TO UNITY SYNOD

Whereas Article #844 (1995) of the Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum (COUF)  resolved that the representation of women in Provincial and Unity Synods be considerably increased in order to reflect the actual participation of women in church life; and

Whereas, the women of the Moravian Church represent a majority of the membership of the (Moravian) Church world-wide; and

Whereas, women of the Moravian Church are confident of the necessity of the work of the Unity Women’s Desk, and

Whereas the Unity Women’s Desk has been approved and officially recognized as an entity of the world-wide Unity by the Unity Board; and

Whereas, the Unity Women’s Desk is recognized by the women of the Moravian Church as their advocate and voice;

Therefore be it resolved that the Unity Women’s Desk be given at least one voting delegate beginning with the next meeting of the Unity Synod.

BECAUSE THIS WAS CONSIDERED A CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE, IT REQUIRED A 2/3 VOTE.  Although the vote was over 50%, it was not two-thirds.   A substitution was made and the following resolution did pass, thus giving women a much better representation at Unity Synods in the future.

Resolution US2016.35: Unity Women’s Desk Representation at Unity Synod

Whereas Unity Women’s Desk has become an entity structured in accordance with the Unity structures by adopting proposal 43; and

Whereas the gender balance of delegates at the Unity Synod is still an aim the Provinces have to achieve; and

Whereas the UWD does important work in networking, supporting women throughout the Unity and addressing their issues; be it

Resolved Unity Provinces are mandated to elect at least one female delegate into their delegations to Unity Synod; and be it further

Resolved the UWD is given the right to send one delegate without vote to Unity Synod to report about its work and to contribute to the deliberations at Synod.

 

RESOLUTION #3 FROM THE FOURTH UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATION AND THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK

RESOLUTION TO HAVE AN EX-OFFICIO REPRESENTATIVE ON THE UNITY BOARD

Whereas the Provincial Board chairs do not reflect the actual participation of women in the church life; and

Whereas women’s issues need to receive the continuous attention of the Unity Board to make a better life for women and their children in the Moravian Church and in society; therefore,

Be it resolved: that the Unity Women’s Desk be represented on the Unity Board by the UWD Coordinator (or by a member of the UWD Advisory Board) as an ex-officio member of the Unity Board.

 

THIS RESOLUTION WAS CONSIDERED “UNNECESSARY” AND WAS DEFEATED.

RESOLUTION #4 FROM THE FOURTH UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATION AND THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK

Resolution to Provide Funding for the Unity Women’s Desk

Whereas the First Unity Women’s Consultation (1995) affirmed the need for a Unity Women’s Desk (hereafter referred to as the UWD) to address the needs and concerns of the women of the Moravian Unity; and

Whereas women represent the majority of members within most Provinces, and

Whereas each succeeding Unity Women’s Consultation (2002, 2008, and 2016) has reaffirmed the need for the UWD; and

Whereas the Unity Women’s Desk was officially formed in January 2011 and recognized by the Unity Board; and

Whereas the UWD has been responsible for working on global change for improving the lives of Moravian women from that time; and

Whereas the Unity Women’s Desk has impacted the lives of countless women since its inception at the first Consultation in 1995; and

Whereas the UWD has been responsible for raising its own funds to provide for the needs of the UWD and the women it supports and by heretofore using all volunteers for its work; and

Whereas the work of the UWD grows exponentially each year; therefore

Be it resolved that the Unity Synod re-affirm the work of the UWD by providing funding in the amount of fifteen thousand dollars US ($15,000.00 US)  per year to sustain the work of the UWD for the future and to hire a part-time Coordinator; and

Be it further resolved that each Province provide support for the UWD as may be available  or by authorizing  fund-raising efforts in each of their Provinces for the Unity Women’s Desk (2002,#902); and

Be it further resolved that each Province will support the work of the UWD through prayer and providing any other resources available from that Province.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS MODIFIED IN COMMITTEE BUT RESTORED TO ITS ORIGINAL VERSION AND PASSED WITH THE FOLLOWING ADDITION:

that the Unity Synod re-affirm the work of the UWD by providing funding to a maximum of fifteen thousand dollars US ($15,000.00 US) per year, depending upon a budget being sent to the Unity Board, to sustain the work of the UWD for the future and to hire a part-time Coordinator

RESOLUTION #5 FROM THE FOURTH UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATION AND THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK

RESOLUTION PERTAINING TO THE TIMING OF UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATIONS

Whereas the Unity Synods of 2002 and 2009, affirmed the gathering of the women of the Moravian Church once every five years for a Consultation; and

Whereas the Unity synods meet only every seven years; and

Whereas these Consultations are costly to the Provinces and the UWD; and

Whereas more provincial and regional women’s conferences are being held on a regular basis;

Therefore be it resolved that the Consultations be held every seven years,  one year or not less than six months prior to a Unity Synod; and

Be it further resolved that the Unity Women’s Desk and the Provincial Boards will support and encourage each Province and Region to hold such regional conferences to maintain good communication within the Region and with the Unity Women’s Desk

THIS RESOLUTION WAS PASSED.

RESOLUTION #6 FROM THE FOURTH UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATION (FEBRUARY 2016) AND THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK

RESOLUTION PERTAINING TO HOLY COMMUNION

Whereas the Article #850 (b), pertaining to CHURCH DISCIPLINE currently states: “Holy Communion be understood essentially as a means of grace rather than an instrument of church discipline”; and

Whereas Holy Communion is still being used as an instrument of church discipline in some Provinces, where Holy Communion is currently being denied to women in a disproportionate manner than it is to the men of the church; therefore,

Be it resolved that “rather than” be changed to “and not as” so that Article #850(b) reads as follows:

“Therefore be it resolved that: Holy Communion be understood essentially as a means of grace and not as an instrument of church discipline.”

THE POSITION OF MAINTAINING THE WITHHOLDING OF HOLY COMMUNION AS A FORM OF DISCIPLINE WAS RETAINED; HOWEVER, THE ARTICLE ON “JUSTICE FOR WOMEN” WAS CHANGED AND ADDED THE FOLLOWING:

Resolution US2016.24: Resolution pertaining to Justice for Women

Whereas Church discipline in some areas of the Unity is being imposed on women in a disproportionate manner than to men; be it

Resolved that COUF #845 be amended to read “d) Unity Synod 2016 affirms that both women and men are equally valued and loved by God; and any discipline exercised by the church should not be imposed on women disproportionately more than to men.”

RESOLUTION #7 FROM FOURTH UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATION (FEBRUARY 2016) AND THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK

RESOLUTION TO INCLUDE THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK (UWD) IN                                    THE UNITY MISSION AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD (UMDB)

Whereas the Unity Women’s Desk functions as a ministry of the Unity; and

Whereas some of the Focus Areas* of the Unity Women’s Desk overlap with the work of the UMDB; therefore,

Be it resolved, that the Unity Women’s Desk be included in the membership of the UMDB and the UWD Coordinator (or a member of the Advisory Board of the UWD) be the representative at all meetings.

*Education, Violence against Women, Alleviating Poverty and Unemployment, Health Issues of Women and Children, Parenting for Justice, and Women in Ministry.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS AMENDED TO READ:

Resolved that the Unity Women’s Desk be represented at meetings of the Unity Mission and Development Board by invitation of the Board.

 

RESOLUTION #8 FROM THE FOURTH UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATION (FEBRUARY 2016) AND THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK

RESOLUTION PERTAINING TO ORDINATION OF WOMEN

Whereas the Unity Synods of 1957, 1967, 1981, 2002, and 2009 have affirmed the call of women to the ordained ministry of The Unity; and

Whereas the Synod of 2002 requested that all Provinces report on the progress of the implementation of this resolution to the inter-synodal meetings of the Unity Board (2002, #905); and

Whereas such a report has not been compiled; therefore,

Be it resolved that the research and writing of this report be assigned to the Unity Women’s Desk; and

Be it further resolved that said report shall be completed by the time of the Unity Board meeting of 2018 to establish that the goals set by the foregoing resolutions have been fulfilled and that women are being included in all forms of ministry within the church; and

Be it further resolved that this report be widely distributed to all Provinces, Mission Provinces, and Mission Areas by 2020.

PASSED AS WRITTEN.

 

RESOLUTION #9 FROM THE FOURTH UNITY WOMEN’S CONSULTATION AND THE UNITY WOMEN’S DESK

 

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Whereas Article #843 of the Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum (COUF) addresses Violence against Women and Children, and

Whereas Article #843 (c) “Mandates all Provinces of the Unitas Fratrum to form support and study groups to provide contexts for discussions, counselling and support to victims and perpetrators of violence;” and

Whereas this matter still does not receive sufficient attention in all Provinces because the victims are afraid to raise their hurt and pain in the church; therefore,

Be it resolved that the following addition be included, “Every Province should mandate a process by which a woman or child can safely report the abuse by an individual (including the pastor, the spouse, relative, teacher).’’ So that 843(c) reads as follows:

“Mandates all Provinces of the Unitas Fratrum to form support and study groups to provide contexts for discussions, counselling and support to victims and perpetrators of violence. Every Province should mandate a process by which a woman or child can safely report the abuse by any individual (including the pastor, the spouse, relative, teacher, etc.).”

Be it further resolved that said provincial policies be formulated and sent in written form to the Unity Board President and the Business Administrator by the year 2018 and copied to the Unity Women’s Desk.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS SOMEWHAT AMENDED TO READ:

Resolution US2016.37: Violence Against Women and Children

Whereas we affirm Article #843 of the Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum (COUF) addresses Violence against Women and Children, and

Whereas Article #843 “Mandates all Provinces of the Unitas Fratrum to form support and study groups to provide contexts for discussions, counselling and support to victims and perpetrators of violence;” and

Whereas this matter still does not receive sufficient attention in all Provinces because the victims are afraid to raise their hurt and pain in the church, be it

Resolved that every Province mandates a process by which an individual can safely report the abuse by another individual (including the pastor, other church leaders, teacher, family member, etc.):” and be it further

Resolved that said Provincial policies be formulated and sent in written form to the Unity Board President and the Unity Board Administrator by the year 2018 and copied to the Unity Women’s Desk; and be it further

Resolved that a Provincial Code of Conduct wherever it exists be made public, and in cases where a Code of Conduct does not exist, efforts be made to develop one.

 

 

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Prayer Requests for the Unity Women’s Consultation 2016 Paramaribo, Suriname – February 2016

Please be in prayer for our Delegates, Observers, Speakers, Panel Discussion Leaders, Bible Study Leaders, Advisory Board, and Volunteers. (Click Read More for details!)

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Preparing for the Fourth Unity Women’s Consultation

“Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.” Psalm 96:3

On February 18, 2016, we will open the Fourth Unity Women’s Consultation. The Old Testament daily text reading will be from Psalm 96:3, and what verse could be more appropriate? Women from five continents, twenty-eight countries, and numerous cities, towns, and villages, will be convening on February 18 to begin discussing how to declare the glory of God and to continue to share God’s marvelous works among all the peoples around each and every woman.

That is February 18, but what about the time between now and then? What are we doing and what can we do to prepare ourselves-our hearts, our heads, our bodies, our souls-to be wholly present in Paramaribo, Suriname? Perhaps the daily text for January 18, 2016 can help us with that; it says: “The Lord makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters.” (Isaiah 43:16). So exactly a month before the first official day of the Fourth Unity Women’s Consultation, our texts tell us the Lord will help us to prepare. Beyond travel arrangements, last minute details, and literal sea-crossings, we can pray each and every day for the guidance and support of our Lord so that we will arrive with open hearts and willing minds. Open hearts and willing minds that will allow us all to be wholly present with our Lord and with each other. Open hearts and willing minds that show us the way to creating resolutions and solutions for our focus areas for the Consultation: Violence Against Women, Health Care for Women and Children, Education for Girls and Women, Women in Ministry, Employment and Overcoming Poverty, and Parenting for a More Just Society. Open hearts and willing minds that make connections and lifelong friendships. Open hearts and willing minds that will bring us all one step closer to living in the world as Jesus imagined it.

We not only ask for open hearts and willing minds for our delegates, observers, and staff, but also for the friends and family members who will remain home. We ask that you keep your hearts open and your minds willing, and that you pray for all of the women who will be in attendance at the Fourth Unity Women’s Consultation in Paramaribo, Suriname, and that you pray for safe travels and resolutions, but also that you pray that love and friendships will blossom and further bring each and every disciple closer to Jesus and each other.

While travel plans, charts, more charts, Skype meetings, program books, and busy everyday lives might feel overwhelming, there is always time to take a moment to read the daily text and pray for an open heart and a willing mind. Because with those, the travel plans, charts, meetings, and booklets will fall into place and be exactly as they are meant to be.

So as the Lord makes his path, we will prepare ourselves to declare his glory to all nations and with our sisters from all nations.

Adrianna, Assistant Secretary — Unity Women’s Desk

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