3 Mar 2018

A Community of Heart and Justice

           Each year, around International Women's Day (March 8), the United Nations holds its annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York City. CSW is "instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women."[1]
            In addition to the commission's diplomatic members, invited delegations and interested individuals gather in parallel and side events, with focus on a priority and review theme. There is much emphasis on learning, networking, advocacy, and collaboration.
            The Anglican Communion is one of the accredited non-governmental organisations invited to send a delegation of up to 20 persons. It was a privilege and honour to represent the Anglican Church of Canada as part of this delegation in 2017. I attended numerous panels and events whose predominant themes included climate change, human exploitation and trafficking, indigenous rights, migration, and humanitarian zones. The intersectionality of these issues with each other and within the framework of women's rights is undeniable.

            In addition to the learning and advocacy opportunities, being a part of an international Anglican delegation was profound. More than a delegation, we became a community; our experience exemplifies the present and future strength of the Anglican Communion, living the truth of being one in the body of Christ. The sisterhood, solidarity, and hope from our 2 intense weeks together in New York continues via technology; regular communications include prayers and celebrations of our home churches. We are empowered, called to action, supported in prayer, and living in hope.
            So this week I am preparing to return to the UN: our beloved Primate has again entrusted to me the honour of representing the Canadian Church. With a priority theme on rural women and girls, and a review theme of media and technology, the discussions promise to be informative and important as we strive to meet the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
            My hopes for this year are high: that worship with other women of faith (through Ecumenical Women) will be spirit-led; that the sessions will be enlightening and inspiring, bolstering ministries already begun and those waiting to commence; that the friends I will meet in this year's delegation will have as positive an experience as I have had; and that the glory of the Lord will shine through all we will do and become.
            So I ask your prayers for our delegation: for traveling mercies, for confidence in the Spirit to lead us, for alliances and friendships to be formed, for finding the face of Jesus in all we encounter, for the work we do to build up the whole people of God, and thanksgivings for the gospel call to seek justice through community.

The 2017 Anglican Delegation issued the following statement to the Anglican Consultative Council,: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/289039/csw61-anglican-delegation-statement-to-acc.pdf

[1] http://www.unwomen.org/en/csw

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