Home > Queensland Synod News > ‘Religious beliefs shape male actions’, Guyana interfaith panel says

‘Religious beliefs shape male actions’, Guyana interfaith panel says

World News

Religious beliefs have a profound influence in shaping men, including their sense of masculinity and sexuality, members of an interfaith panel have said at a gathering promoting positive masculinity held in Georgetown, Guyana.

Religious institutions prescribe boundaries, impose sanctions and affirm identity, the panellists said.

Thirty-five pastors, church leaders, theological students and lay persons from Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, South Africa, Malawi and India gathered in the Guyanese capital from 18 to 22 January for the event sponsored by the Women’s World Day of Prayer and the Bread for All aid agency from Switzerland.

The meeting initiated a process of education for action in response to gender-based violence and coincided with an awareness campaign in Guyana aimed at "stamping out" gender-based violence, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches said in a statement on 26 January.

In remarks at the opening of the event, Guyana’s Minister of human services, Priya Manickchand, challenged churches to work in partnership with other faith groups and specialised agencies to make a difference in the communities they serve.

Manickchand emphasised the importance of education at all levels of the church – from Sunday School to Bible groups to women’s and men’s groups – and offered to provide support for churches which develop action plans to end domestic and sexual abuse.

"We feel that the task we pledge to embark on at this workshop is huge and multifaceted. However, if every man commits to make a difference in his family life then that is the first step towards building strong families and communities," said lay pastor Noel Holder of the Guyana Congregational Union.

"The workshop is a significant step in engaging men as partners and as part of the solution to address broken families and societies. This opens new ways for churches to enable healing and transformation of relationships," said the Rev. Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, one of the leaders of the event.

The Rev. Collin Cowan, a member of the executive committee of the Reformed alliance, emphasised the importance of men being involved in transforming patterns of violent behaviour. "As men who have occupied a privileged space created by systems of patriarchy, the time has come to reject that pattern of living because of its inconsistency with the theology of life, which finds expression in relationships," Cowan said.

Participating partner organisations in the event included the World Council of Churches, the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission, the Council for World Mission and the General Board of Global Ministry, United Methodist Church, Help and Shelter (Guyana) and the Guyana Formation for Ministry and Mission.

(c) Ecumenical News International

Photo : World News