The Ecumenical Commission for Human Development (ECHD), in partnership with Netherlands-based Kerk in Actie, has organized a weeklong Ecumenical School on Gender Equality at the Murree Christian School in Murree – a scenic mountainous city.
The summer school is a major ecumenical event, which brought together more than 35 young people from across Punjab province. It is pertinent to mention here that the ecumenical school was on the theme of ‘God’s justice, and relationships between women and men, and girls and boys.
Ecumenical Commission for Human Development Executive Director James Rehmat, Joseph Jacob Dogra, Dr Farhana Nazir, Nargus Azhar, Rashid Manzoor, Naureen Akhtar, Jamshed Gill, Dr Matthew Jeong, Nida Feroze, Asher Shahzad Gill, South Asia Partnership Deputy Executive Director Irfan Mufti, and Jarida Daiily Executive Editor Minhas Justin deliver lectures on gender equality, and women’s empowerment.
The event provided a platform for young people from Christian community to discuss on a wide range of emerging issues in relation to gender equality context and theological themes such as empowering young girls and women in leadership and ministry, promoting gender equality in church and society, women’s health and well-being, and empowering young girls and women for social transformation.
The school also discussed topics on introduction to gender dynamics, the Biblical perspectives on gender, stereotypes and biases, inter-sectionality, women in church history, theology of leadership, developing young girls and women leaders, overcoming barriers, promoting gender equality, addressing gender-based violence, advocacy and activism, engaging men and boys as allies, young girls and women physical health, mental and emotional well-being, balancing roles and responsibilities, creating supportive communities, women’s empowerment and social change, women’s voices and representation in political decision making, and engaging in social justice issues.
The summer school provided an opportunity to young people to foster a deep understanding of gender equality issues, promote young girls and women empowerment and explore their role in religious and social contexts. This platform highlighted a time for people of faith to renew their relationship with God and all creation through celebration, prayer, and action, and raised different avenues of collaboration for unity, witness, and services together on gender equality related issues for poor and marginalized communities across the country.
The participants took part in ecumenical holy communion, as per the theme of the school, which were organized by the Church of Pakistan, Roman Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, and the Salvation Army in Pakistan. Two special communions were also organized on the commemoration of Pakistan’s Independence Day of prayer for peace and prosperity and the celebration of the unity and witness together.
James Rehmat sees ecumenists as an agent of change for justice, peace, mission, and outreach
The school adopted a formal declaration – Journeying together in search of gender equality: empowering young girls and women in church and society. Explaining significance of the summer ecumenical school of young people, ECHD Executive Director James Rehmat stated that the Bible called young people in times of danger and challenge. He said that the young people stands for warm blood, strength, passion, freedom, bravery, growth, identity and even confusion. He said that young people should focus on advancing girls and women’s rights, advocacy and policy dialogue, provision of service delivery and research and networking in relation to gender equality.
“We are very blissful to facilitate a major ecumenical event open exclusively for young Christian. As Pakistani, young Christians have to face numerous challenges in their daily lives, it is our sincere hope and prayers that the ecumenical school will help participants and churches to discuss and reflect on problems faced by young people in their respective contexts,” he said. “We hope that the event will address all issues as per theme effectively and equipped young ecumenists become an agent of change for justice, peace, mission, and outreach,” he said.