Caribbean Women’s Bible Study attracts UN interest

A Caribbean workshop on how reading the Bible can contribute significantly to ending male violence against women has caught the attention of the United Nations agency responsible for women’s programmes.

Toni-Ann Brodber, a representative from UN Women who attended a recent workshop in Grenada to test new models for Bible study, noted the critical contribution of faith-based communities in eradicating violence against women and expressed interest in supporting a campaign for action against violence that is connected to the Bible study project.

The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Presbyterian Church in Grenada, in collaboration with the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission (CANACOM), hosted the Caribbean Women’s Bible Study Workshop in late January. Approximately 25 persons attended the workshop. Participants included Bible study leaders and writers, pastors, lay adults and young people both from the region and from Caribbean communities in other countries.

The project is made up of three components and processes: a Bible Study workshop; a violence against women campaign; and a Bible study book. The book will include stories of women, study guide, reflection on emerging Caribbean “hermeneutics” (interpretation of texts), liturgies, violence against women campaign resources, short poems, and prayers.

Workshop coordinator, Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, says: “The prevalence of violence against women, economic hardship, climate change, political instability and leadership crisis call forth a prophetic movement of people led significantly by women.”

Sheerattan-Bisnauth, who heads WCRC’s Justice Office, notes: “Women have played an important role in survival of people and finding ways to resist injustices, bringing healing, providing food, shelter, hospitality, comfort, and avenues for peace and reconciliation. They have acquired survival skills in the face of poverty, violence, and social and political unrest.”

Marie-Claude Julsaint of the YWCA says the project “will be very useful” for exploring “a theological approach to issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights, [and] HIV and violence against women”.

The Bible study book is to be published in April 2011 and will be available through the WCRC website

World Communion of Reformed Churches  – WCRC was created in June 2010 through a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC). Its 230 member churches representing 80 million Christians are active worldwide in initiatives supporting economic, climate and gender justice, mission, and cooperation among Christians of different traditions.

News Release

24 February 2011

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