Are you familiar with the term “gender justice”? What do you think of when you hear it? Perhaps you think about equal rights for women—that is certainly part of it, but there is so much more. Here are some of the ways our church is currently working for justice for all genders.
THURSDAYS IN BLACK
For several years, the ELCIC has been involved in the World Council of Churches Thursdays in Black campaign.
Thursdays in Black lifts up gender justice by focusing on an end to gender-based violence including rape and rape as a weapon in war.
This last year we used Thursdays in Black to draw attention to the increase in domestic violence in Canada during the pandemic, and to the ongoing issues of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), the National Inquiry into MMIWG and its calls to justice.
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM
Churches Beyond Borders, our partnership with the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church, is preparing to release a series of devotions based on Mary’s song for use during The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The 16 days of Activism is an annual international campaign that kicks off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day.
NATIONAL YOUTH PROJECT
The National Youth Project, a joint initiative of the ELCIC and ACC, was created so that youth, youth groups, leaders and their congregations from across Canada can focus and direct their energy on an important area of concern.
The current National Youth Project, called More Precious, focuses on learning about the issues of human trafficking. The goal is for groups to become agents of change in their own lives and communities, and be able to identify the warning signs to protect themselves.
The initial resource walks participants through topics of identity, self-worth and confidence, shared humanity, consent and healthy relationships, internet safety, gender inequality, gender-based violence, rape culture, female hypersexualization, sex trafficking, forced labour and child slavery.
More resources are coming including youth group sessions, media and book studies, and devotions. Find out more here: https://claygathering.ca/nyp.
TASK FORCE ON ADDRESSING HOMOPHOBIA,TRANSPHOBIA, AND BIPHOBIA
The ELCIC National Task Force on Addressing Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia is helping our church to recognize that gender justice is broader that women’s rights or men’s rights but that gender is a spectrum that includes people who identify as agender and transgender.
People who identify outside the binary gender system are more likely to experience violence and harassment than cisgender Canadians.
In Galatians Paul wrote There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
With our new understanding of gender as a spectrum, Paul would today write “there is no longer gender.” That is not to say that gender does not matter, but rather that all genders matter equally.
Gender justice is about all of our human rights for each person. That is God’s intention for humanity. That is the commitment of our church.
Susan C. Johnson
ELCIC National Bishop