With the Womens March 4 Justice taking place on Monday, it was good to hear some good news yesterday about the Baptist response to this issue.
Steve Barlett, Director of Ministries for the Association wrote:
The increasing groundswell of reporting of violence and abuse against women and girls in recent times, from allegations in our parliamentary environment to reports of sexual assault and abuse in schools to revelations of misconduct by leaders in Christian organisations, bring again into sharp focus an awful reality that continues to be with us: we have significant work to do to end violence against women.
We know that one in three Australians have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by a man since the age of 15. One in four women have experienced it at the hands of an intimate partner*….As the voices of women and men increasingly join to say ‘enough’, I believe it is important for us also to continue to speak. To say to victim-survivors of abuse: we hear your voice. To say we acknowledge and grieve the disproportionate burden of abuse that is suffered by women; that too often their voices have gone unheard. And that we grieve for the times when these things have taken place within our own church communities.
Steve goes on to speak about how Creating Safe Spaces training (the training that we ask everyone who works with vulnerable people in the life of the church to complete) has added extra material on the misuse of power, accountability, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. He also speaks of the impact the No Place for Violence Here campaign has had and subsequent initiatives around domestic violence.
As a church we are glad to support such initiatives around domestic and family violence through the work of Tara’s Angels and we are continuing to explore the possibility of a stronger partnership with them here in Canberra.
We are also striving to create a healthier culture in our own church; where people feel safe; where – if unacceptable behaviour does occur – people don’t fear reporting it and are listened to when they do; where healthy and respectful relationships amongst staff and volunteers are fostered. It is very encouraging that over 100 people now have attended a General Volunteer Induction. (From this Sunday on, in line with the recommendations given to churches from The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Assault and the ACT’s Reportable Conduct Policy, all staff and volunteers, on any roster, need to have completed a General Volunteer Induction. There will be one immediately after the service this Sunday – and supervision will be provided for children while parents are attending.)
There are quite a few things happening this Sunday!
- During the service, Family Church will be meeting in the hall and learning about the events of Holy Week.
- After the service there’s a picnic to welcome Nagaraj Govindharaj to Canberra! Nagaraj has been involved with our church for some time, while on Manus and has been attending services over Zoom from hotel detention in Brisbane. It will be wonderful to see him face to face and no longer in detention! Thank you, God! If its too wet to go to the park, please bring your picnic lunch to the hall.
- Finally, this Sunday, after the service, the manse will be open so people can have a look and see the wonderful work that Alan Williams and the Property Committee and others have been doing.
And please note our upcoming events during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday.
- From the Monday to Thursday of Holy Week (29th March to 1 April) there will be online prayers, following the lectio divina/holy readings method, each morning at 7:30am and each evening at 7:30pm.
- On Good Friday there will be a service of music and reflections at 9am. We are also planning, with Covid Safe provisions, to share hot cross buns together after the service. Please donate some hot cross buns or if you can help prepare and serve them, contact the church office.
- Finally on Easter Sunday at 10am we will celebrate together the light of life that has come into the world; the light that can never be defeated by the darkness.
God be with you. Grace and peace.