Pastors from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG (ELCPNG) and the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church have been attending CPP workshops in Jiwaka and Western Highlands provinces, to discuss the theological basis of gender equality.
They considered Bible passages taken from Genesis 1:27, “in which God created man and woman in his own image” and Galatians 3:28, which reminds Christians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.
ELCPNG Pastor, Bomai Forenguka, from Chimbu Province, said: “I never received this type of training in the Seminary. Now I feel I can confidently address gender-based violence in my church and community.”
Jiwaka workshop facilitator, Guannah Kihi, from the Salvation Army, encouraged participants to challenge gender-based violence in their churches and through church-run institutions such as tertiary institutions and seminaries.
Kihi said churches have great influence in the community and gender equity messages preached from the pulpit could have a lasting impact.
CPP executive officer, Maryanne Kehalie, said Christian values were the strongest argument against gender-based violence.
“When we read the Bible, it is clear that God created women and men as equals. So we try to help people to understand that gender discrimination and gender-based violence is a sin,” Kehalie said.
The CPP is a partnership between the Australian Government, PNG’s seven mainline churches and their Australian counterparts. It aims to strengthen the PNG churches’ contribution to development, social stability and good governance in PNG, through effective policy dialogue, service delivery and peace and reconciliation activities.
(Participants in a group discussion using the Bible as reference during the gender and faith session.)