By Rev Dr Cliff Bird, Mission Secretary for Pacific region

The Pacific Young Women Enabling Transformation (YWET) regional training workshop organized by the Council for World Mission (CWM) Research and Capacity Development and Pacific Region officially began on Monday, 4th December at the Novotel Hotel in Nadi, Fiji Islands. In attendance are twenty (20) young women from member churches in Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Maohi Nui (aka Tahiti) and Nauru, and representatives from ecumenical partners in Fiji and Vanuatu. There are three facilitators at the workshop – two women and one man. The five (5) day workshop will end on 8th December.

CWM is committed to resistance of Empire as being the legitimate form of mission in our context today. CWM recognizes that the primary obstacle to freedom and equality in church and society is patriarchy. As such, this workshop aims to develop the capacity of young women to be critical and to provide creative resistance towards patriarchy, as well as contribute towards constructive alternatives.

A wide range of topics are covered at the workshop. This includes bible studies using tools of hermeneutics of suspicion and hidden texts of resistance; patriarchy in its various manifestations, patriarchal foundations and nature of Christianity and the bible, socialization processes, social analysis tools, bible study tools (textual and contextual analysis, hidden texts of resistance, etc.). In addition, they are covering socio-ecological models and tools for advocacy and action for transformation, human dignity, God’s vision for human relationships, and Jesus’ leadership styles that reflect God’s vision through the kingdom declared and lived out by Jesus himself.

The interest and energy has been high since Monday, participation in group work and plenary quite inclusive and the quality of group responses to activities are reflective of real issues and challenges faced by different churches.  Not surprisingly, a few of participants are completely new to this kind of training and need encouragement and guidance. It is heartening to note that others who have been through similar events are always on hand to provide assistance. The sense of “we” is growing and they have already created a Facebook page for themselves. This group of young women demonstrate have the vision and energy to make a difference and the energy.

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