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Straight talk for 16 Days

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Dec, 2019 05:45 PM

At noon on Tuesday 3rd December, Mothers' Union met at Salisbury Cathedral to launch this year's '16 Days' campaign to combat gender-based violence.

Straight talk for 16 Days

Mayor John Walsh, Revd Jane Palmer, Nikki Sweatman, Lady Lansdowne, Revd Jo Naish, Cllr Richard Gamble, Mayoress Carrie Walsh

The international '16 Days' campaign seeks to raise awareness of the scale and nature of gender-based violence across the world, and is an annual fixture in our Diocese.

In addition to dozens of Mothers' Union members - male and female alike - attendees included the current Mayor of Salisbury, Cllr John Walsh, with Mayoress Carrie Walsh; Cllr Richard Gamble, Vice Chair of Wiltshire County Council; Lady Lansdowne, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Wiltshire; Mrs Nikki Sweatman, MU Provincial President of Canterbury and Central Board Trustee for Britain and Ireland; the Revd Jane Palmer, who preached the Sermon; and the Revd Joanna Naish, our brand-new MU Chaplain.

Revd Palmer began her Sermon, entitled 'The God of Justice and Love', by saying:

"We come together today to raise awareness of gender based violence across the world, and in this holy place and in sacred time to hold fast to the promises of God: who is faithful and full of compassion, hearing our prayers and the cries of our hearts.

"The Mothers' Union has been at the heart of a movement across the world, seeking to help humanity flourish in keeping healthy relationships, and the call to end gender based violence is at the heart of its ministry – indeed, of our ministries."

Read her talk here

Sharing worrying statistics such as 1 in 3 women experiencing gender based violence, she continued:

"It is not God’s desire that any of His people go through these terrible situations. When people experience trauma, some find themselves asking “how can there be a God?” It is not God who destroys, but the propensity within us as human beings to want control and power and we are a creation that needs some very basic things in place for us to flourish: like love, connection, relationships, a safe shelter and food and water. When these basic things are not in place, or indeed it is the place of suffering, it is heartbreaking."

In the face of widespread violence against women - and also against men - Revd Palmer urged those present to pray for their eyes to be opened, to address injustice, and to:

"Join together with the whole Church across the world in building God’s Kingdom and declaring the hope to be found in Jesus, who is the only true hope for the world."

Read the whole talk here

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign co-ordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and used by activists around the world as an organising strategy to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. The core 16 Days campaign takes place every year between November 25th and December 10th, and is run by more than 6,000 organizations in 187 countries.

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