“Rights & Religion – Implications of Faith for Development in the Pacific”

Stream: Cultural Constructions and (Re)Conceptualisations
Date: Thursday, 12 February 2015
Time: 1.45 pm – 3.30 pm

Abstract

“If a Minister [Church] abuses a child or a women, we will remove the Minister from the congregation for 1 year and pastorally support the Minister to rehabilitate and then place him back in his congregation. The girl is taught to forgive”. [Church Leader] Women’s Rights, Child Rights … terms that often conjure responses of fear and rejection in Christian Churches throughout the Pacific. They are often viewed as “western” terminology imposed from outside the culture; terms that reflect a secular culture foreign to the Pacific. With the majority of Pacific Countries identifying as Christian, this gap between Rights and Religion is standing as an impediment to the rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups from being realised. UnitingWorld’s Pacific Program works to build a bridge between Rights and religious belief through Pacific Contextual Gender-equality theology and by working with Churches to understand the Rights of Women, Girls and Children from a biblical perspective. It is providing the faith foundation to challenge Pacific Church to reflect on their own theology, institutional structures and practices in relation to the rights of women and girls, child protection and gendered violence, and then to be the agents of social change in community.

Author

Bronwyn Fraser (Presenter), UnitingWorld
After a career as a high school teacher, Bronwyn completed an MA (Development Studies), UNSW, including participation in an internship through the Centre for Refugee Research working with refugee communities in India in Human Rights Education while conducting reciprocal research for UNHCR. Bronwyn joined UnitingWorld in 2009 as the Development Education Office and is now the Manager, Livelihoods & Peacebuilding Programs (Pacific). In this role, Bronwyn works alongside Church Partners especially the Women Fellowship organisations across the Pacific in a gender themed program focused on Women’s Health and Well-being, child protection and anti-violence for Healthy Families and Safe Communities.