“Do we have a reason to hope in the world we live in, into which we introduce children? Will the environment sustain them, will it be healthy, can the planet be saved, will there be enough for all, will our children be safe, will they have a reason to live and grow up into abundance of life and fulfilment? ...A growing child very quickly learns whether it is personally welcome and loved, whether it is raised in a household of hope.”
Archbishop David Moxon poses some important questions reflecting on the WCC ‘Churches Commitments to Children’ initiative. This latest edition of IAFN’s newsletter explores these commitments through stories that exemplify “candles lit for hope for children in many different parts of the world, even in places where the shadows appear to have gathered.”
“To be caught up in healing and healthcare is to be drawn into God’s passion for human flourishing and the family offers a primary context where such flourishing is founded - an agency for restoring hope and recovering community.” (Bishop David Rossdale, IAFN Chair)
These words encapsulate what IAFN’s latest newsletter is all about, sharing stories from around the Anglican Communion of the many supportive ways churches and dioceses are coming alongside families affected by health difficulties and challenges. From pregnancy and birth care through to chaplaincy care for elders, this newsletter contains stories of mental, physical and emotional health, of community action and creative response throughout the varying stages and circumstances of life.
We give thanks for the extraordinary service of the people represented in this newsletter and for many more whose stories have not yet been told but whose work and commitment to the restoration of those who suffer reflect Jesus’ kindness and compassion.
IAFN’s latest newsletter is an encouragement. It tells stories from many different parts of the Communion about work being done to include children and young people in the life of Anglican churches and to assist them in exploring their own faith and spirituality.
The common themes are the need to involve the young, listen to them, and celebrate their energy and gifts. Some of the projects, such as the Umoja self-help groups and church-based playgroups which welcome all nationalities and faiths, build the life of the community as well as benefiting the young participants. Others focus on church growth and responding to the questions of young people as they explore their vocation.
And not forgotten are those outside the Church - children and young people who struggle with pressures such as abuse and family breakdown, or who simply need to be able to get to school.
This newsletter starts with the Editorial exploring the theology of the Cross where Christ’s strength is revealed in weakness. So what makes a strong family, strong family relationships and a strong Church? This is an important question when ‘strength’ can so easily mask abuses of power.
Jesus showed how love can be resilient and continuing, not diminishing in the face of injustice and cruelty. For strong families in the Way of Christ, this strength depends on their ability to live out the love of God in the face of so much which undermines family life. Articles from all over the Communion then show this Way with strong foundations being built in Bible classes; the early marriage of young girls and domestic violence being challenged by an understanding of Scripture; and families being helped to cope with the trauma of loss and stigma. The final section shows how in some places the family of the Church is ‘welcoming the stranger’ and providing some help to the many refugees fleeing persecution and war.
This Newsletter continues IAFN’s exploration of the theological basis for the concept of ‘family’ and celebrates the potential of Christ’s reconciling love lived out in family settings. We all have a deep need to belong and family can provide a community where each of its members experience mutual love, encouragement and support. But families can also be places of tension, exclusion and oppression, particularly in times of rapid change.
The Family – A Reconciling Community shows how practical, Gospel-centred approaches to the family can lead to healing. In West Africa, for example, new models of gender roles are improving relationships in the home and increasing household income and stability. Positive Parenting Programmes in many parts of the Anglican Communion help parents respond to changing social contexts. The reality of family divisions and the possibilities of reconciliation are powerfully expressed in a Tanzanian response to female genital mutilation. A story from England reveals an approach to working through the pressures on teenagers and their families, and initiatives in Hong Kong and Burundi show how the family can be the place for reconciliation when members are affected by the impacts of substance abuse or the stigma of disease.
The International Anglican Family Network (IAFN) and the International Anglican Women's Network (IAWN) have produced a joint newsletter for January 2015. The subject of human trafficking is a key issue for both Networks as Anglican churches and other faith groups rise to the challenge of responding to the reality that every year, thousands of men women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad.
This joint edition looks at how churches can partner each other and with other agencies to prevent human trafficking; how they are supporting survivors in very different contexts, and how they are raising awareness in their communities.
Partnerships may be international as in the case of the Global Freedom Network and Stop the Traffik, or they may be at national or community level as in Malawi where the churches are raising awareness among vulnerable groups and in Nepal where practical steps are being taken to protect children.
Stories from the UK, Kolkata and Hong Kong describe different models for enabling survivors to recover and thrive.
Raising awareness is all our work. As the story of missing Jessie Foster reminds us,we all need to be aware.
This newsletter introduces inspiring and challenging stories with a theological reflection on 'family' experienced as redemptive community, where all its members find equal dignity, belonging and forgiveness.
A South African student is surprised and excited by a new understanding of positive masculinity. Projects in Madagascar seek to empower women to help their families develop and flourish. Articles from Australia and Scotland describe work to help children and youth establish respectful relationships. The Christian organisation Viva Uganda shows how overcoming difficulties in registering births contributes to a sense of belonging as well as formal identity. In order to thrive, families need to be safe and feel secure. Stories from Peru, Vanuatu and a Syrian refugee camp give us a glimpse of the threat to families from poverty, war and global pressures. Finally, an article from Rwanda shows how a Mothers' Union parenting and child protection programme is supporting parents in giving children a safe environment where they can flourish.
Published to help mark the 16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women, the IAFN newsletter on the theme of Church Responses to Domestic Abuse shows both the scope and international extent of such abuse within families and the growing efforts now being made by churches and faith organisations to combat it.
Instead of dismissing physical violence and coercive control as a "private matter" or part of a culture, work is being done on the causes of such violence.
Christian theology teaches that men and women are created by God in God's image; they are partners, and Jesus' whole life showed that power and authority should not mean dominance but self-giving love.
Churches can help families to overcome obstacles to birth registration. The stories in this newsletter show how this can be done. Why should churches care about this? Because children who are not registered at birth may not have access to education, health care, and other benefits of citizenship. In Uganda, Mozambique and Madagascar, successful partnerships between UNICEF and the Mothers' Union have resulted in thousands more children obtaining birth certificates. This not only opens many doors for them but provides a more accurate database of statistics which assists governments and civic authorities in their task of providing vital services.
Civil conflict, eviction from informal settlements and demolition of homes, drug and alcohol abuse, incarceration, migration in search of work, and family breakdown are just some of the circumstances that can split families apart. The stories gathered in this newsletter 'Divided Families' describe some of the causes of separation and the pain and loss that go with it. But they also speak of innovative and hopeful projects undertaken by Anglican churches and Christian organisations which set out to heal and restore, offer practical support, and make life more bearable for those who have been cut off from their loved ones and those who would normally provide for the safety and daily needs of home and family.
This newsletter, the final IAFN publication for this year, raises issues about birth registration and identity. A birth certificate "is a small paper but it actually establishes who you are and gives access to the rights and the privileges and the obligations of citizenship."(Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
“Violence in the home is a violation of God’s wish for humanity.” This is how Bishop David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, begins his editorial for the third IAFN newsletter in the series on Violence and the Family.
This edition shows how churches in many part of the Communion are responding to the challenge of violence in the home. Participants’ in the recent IAFN Oceania consultation on Violence and the Family were quick to put their learning into practice and have been raising awareness of the issue and working to prevent it in their own contexts.
The Primates have called on the churches of the Anglican Communion to combat the global problem of gender violence and this newsletter shows how some churches are already taking action.
This newsletter on Violence and the Family is the first of a series of three issues on this theme. It includes articles from different regions of Africa, from Pakistan, Australia and UK. All make clear the prevalence of violence within the home, both between couples and against children, and the newsletter gives a wider Communion context to the work of the consultation for the Oceania region held in October at the Family Centre, Lower Hutt, Wellington.
Trafficking is a world-wide problem, driven by the same forces that drive the globalisation of markets, with no lack of demand and supply. In varying degrees and circumstances, men, women and children all over the world are victims of what has become a modern day slave trade. Almost every country of the world is affected either as a source, transit, and/or destination country for women, children and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual or labour exploitation. This Newsletter looks at Anglican and other Christian initiatives across the world, such as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa's response to increased trafficking around the Football World Cup, raising awareness in rural communities in India, and the care and support of vulnerable migrant women in Hong Kong.
The Church preaches a Gospel of reconciliation. But what work does it do to help alleviate breakdown in relationships and discord within families and society? This newsletter helps to answer this question, with articles from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, bishops from the Congo and Mozambique, the Melanesian Brotherhood, parish priests in Argentina and Kenya, church workers and organisations in Israel, Ireland, Hong Kong, Columbia, Canada, Australia and England. There are amazing stories of forgiveness from people who have suffered horrific violence; of patient work to help parents whose relationship is breaking down and to support their children; of schemes to turn swords into ploughshares; and of efforts to help child soldiers, who are shunned and feared, to re-integrate back into their families and society.
This is a difficult subject. The articles in this newsletter tell of how the churches in many parts of the Anglican Communion seek to respond to death. There are stories of almost unbearable grief and loss: both on a personal scale within families and where large-scale disaster through war or hurricane brings tragedy to whole communities. But the newsletter also tells of Christian faith and hope, of compassion and help for the bereaved, and people facing the pain of separation from their loved ones and clinging on to belief in the risen Christ.
This is the latest IAFN newsletter to be published and includes articles from Africa, Argentina, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, West Indies, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, the Anglican Indigenous Network and the UK. The newsletter celebrates the value age can bring while also highlighting the importance of facing the realities of age and ageing and describing projects which work to provide support for those who need it. An example of creative ageing is embodied in the cover picture of a Canadian woman, 75 years old at the time of the photograph, who published her autobiography in her 90s and continued to visit elderly people when aged 100.
2009 sees the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the 30th of the Year of the Child (1979). What progress has been made investing in those things which work for a more child-friendly world? The articles in this newsletter, drawn from many countries, present a sombre picture. Our investment in the growing trees of the forest (the children) remains woefully inadequte. But many of the stories also tell of resilience and courage; of projects starting from very small seeds which have grown to bring encouragement, support and education to many - girls as well as boys; and of work being done by followers of Jesus who, despite the odds, have not lost hope.
The Report of a recent Conference held in South Africa on Towards Effective Anglican Mission noted "As frequently reiterated during the course of the Conference, many congregations within the Anglican Communion are doing work around the Millennium Development Goals; however, this work is largely unknown to the rest of the body. Accordingly, the Communion must strive to improve its communication in an effort to disseminate best practices and share expertise and resources.
This newsletter follows the consultation organised by the Family Network in co-operation with the Anglican Church of Korea and held in Seoul n 2007. It includes articles based on papers presented by several of the delegates. These tell of the impact of global economic forces on families in Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, The Philippines, Singapore and Australia, with the growth in the numbers of women and men working away from their homes and the resulting pressure on them and their families.
It is estimated that worldwide some 15 million children have already lost one or more parents to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Apart from the devastating effects of bereavement, many orphaned children have to cope with the care of siblings while others are themselves infected by the virus which can be transmitted to them at their birth. In some parts of the Anglican Communion, the statistics are known and horrifying; in others the known numbers are small but the problems of combating ignorance and stigma are huge. In this newsletter, stories from many different Provinces of the Anglican Communion reveal the terrible disparity of provision for children affected by HIV/AIDS, but all tell of faithful work being done to protect and help them: education projects; medical care, support projects which provide food and clothing or simply friendship and a chance to forget about HIV.
Over half the global population now live in towns and cities. Cities with over 10 million people are becoming commonplace. Elsewhere smaller settlements are exploding with rural migrants. And cities are young places, as young adults are most likely to move to urban areas to make their new homes. Urban life exposes young people to new worldviews, technologies and lifestyles. It also exposes them to the inequalities of the society where they live as shanty towns grow up near gated communities. In the midst of our cities - and the slums - are stories of hope, of risks taken in faith. Articles in this newsletter show glimpses of visions of a different city - one of possibility, of energy and safe spaces; the place where the stranger can become the neighbour and where new expressions of community can flourish.
The newsletter marks the 200 years since Britain abolished the Slave Trade and looks back at the history and achievement of William Wilberforce, inspired as he was by his study of the Bible and Christ's teaching. But the main focus of the newsletter is to show that 1807 did not mark the end of slavery as a practice or system. The newsletter also tells of work being done to help the victims of modern forms of slavery and calls on Christians to recognise today's oppression and - like Wilberforce - labour to oppose it.
explores the significance and nature of different forms of community: L'Arche communities for the disabled; communities for children who have no families; migrant communities and religious communities. The newsletter contains articles from South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Kenya, Cambodia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and UK.
contains moving stories from all over the Communion, written by people who have suffered from acts of terror. They tell of the loss of family members and the pain of bereavement, the trauma of terror and its effects on the family and the wider community. At the same time there is hope in their journey towards recovery and healing and their efforts to lessen such pain for others.
This newsletter contains articles from a wide range of countries in Africa, Asia and parts of the Western world telling of the efforts to combat malaria and malnutrition and work to promote understanding of HIV/AIDS and to prevent its spread.
This newsletter tells of "the feminine face of poverty" and shows how women are often the most afflicted by poverty because of factors such as their lack of economic power; skills and status and the need to care for their families. Yet women's voices have not often been sought or listened to. In this newsletter, articles from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Uganda, South Africa, Brazil, Burma, India, Bangladesh, Israel, USA and UK enable the voices of some women to be heard.
This newsletter shows how many people face up to inter faith issues in family life, in inter faith marriages, in bringing up young people in an inter faith context. Projects and individuals in Jerusalem, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Indonesia and UK work to break down the religious barriers and develop understanding of a common humanity.
This newsletter tells the stories of people displaced from their homes by violence: in the Sudan and the Congo, Burma and Kosovo. Articles reveal the struggle to re-settle in a new land, often not knowing whether close family members are alive or dead. The newsletter also has articles about migrant workers in China, the Philippines and Hong Kong telling of their exploitation and encouraging action by churches and Christians to welcome and support them. The final section is about travelling families - the difficulties of gypsies in UK and the rapid changes to the life of nomads in the Sinai desert.
This newsletter asks what has been achieved since the International Year of the Family in 1994. Articles from a wide range of countries tell of the increasing number of single parent families, of the changing role of parents with more women becoming the breadwinners and some men becoming more involved with the care of their children. A major concern over the ten years is the spread of HIV/AIDS and the newsletter tells of practical projects developed to help those affected by the pandemic.
Newsletter tells of children fending for themselves in the face of danger and disease not only without adequate material resources but also without the love and emotional support that all human beings need to survive. But as well as of the horrors, articles tell of the work being done: the provision of refuges and day care for children in Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina, Burundi and Rwanda; the work of a church in Estonia to repair the building and use it as a centre for hungry and neglected children; the work of organisations in Scotland and England where even in such wealthy countries run away children and children in care need vital support.
This newsletter follows the regional African consultation held on this theme in Nairobi in 2003. It draws on the issues discussed with great energy and application by the 32 delegates at the conference and sets out their recommendations for action. Perspectives are also included from other parts of the Anglican Communion, showing how violence against women and within the family is endemic across the world and calling on the Church to listen and break the silence about such abuse.
In 2003, the International Labour Organisation estimated there were 246 million working children aged between 5 and 17. Although some tasks can teach important skills, for millions their work is dangerous and destructive, depriving them of their childhood, if not their life. Articles from India, Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, China, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Scotland show the international nature of such exploitation of children and work being done - often linked with churches - to help them.
This newsletter is one of startling contrasts. In some Western societies, obesity and ill health are the problems, while in many developing areas of the Anglican Communion the articles highlight malnutrition and starvation. But the picture is not simple and articles from UK tell of anorexia, a form of self starvation and its effect on family members. Other articles look at the effect of globalisation and practical ways forward such as the Fairtrade movement which works to ensure that food producers in the Two Thirds world are adequately paid for their produce.
tells of parents coping with a disabled child, of children coping with disabled siblings and of how many find joy in caring and manage to care for numerous additional family members orphaned through AIDS. In countries such as Papua New Guinea and parts of Africa, the extended family and local community frequently help. But even here, the culture of such support is being weakened and the Church, as an intergenerational community with a mandate to care, needs to encourage the work already being done by organisations such as The Mothers' Union, the Salvation Army and many others, and increase its support for those whose burden is too heavy.
Many African mothers are desperate to get funds to help them educate their daughters and enable them to escape the cycle of poverty, early pregnancy, single parenthood and more poverty. Research shows that educating women and girls is the single most effective strategy for reducing poverty. Several articles in this newsletter show that women in many parts of the world are now the breadwinner for their families. For some, this can develop their opportunities and this newsletter also celebrates the strength of women, working to bring peace in the Sudan, more social cohesion in S. India, learning new skills in the Lebanon. But the extension of "women's work" can also be an added burden - particularly if there is little partnership between men and women in the many tasks of family care.
The articles in this newsletter tell of increased marriage and relationship breakdown, more children on the streets, more despair fuelling alcohol and drug abuse. But the picture is not all bleak. A Canadian author points out that a marriage breakdown may, in some cases, represent a new start, free from hidden violence and abuse. Many articles tell of vigorous efforts, from all over the Anglican Communion, to help the casualties of family breakdown, both parents and children and the potential of churches and parishes to provide a supportive "family."
In 2001, a UN Report concluded that in as many as 50 countries children are suffering in the middle of armed conflict. Increasingly in some areas children are specifically targeted, recruited as combatants or abducted to serve as sexual slaves to soldiers. Articles from Burundi, Sierra Leone, Congo, Rwanda, the Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, give glimpses of the horror. Not only Africa is affected: authors from Iraq, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Cambodia, Palestine, Israel and Northern Ireland write of the violence perpetrated against children and tell of the ministry of the Church to these casualties of war.
Newsletter tells of the "treasure of education" which is lost through war, poverty, family breakdown or - in parts of the world - is denied to girls and women. The articles give voice to those for whom education is not provided by the state free of charge and shows how the gender gap has a high cost with an increased mortality rate among babies born to ill-educated women. In the developed world, articles from Australia and New Zealand and UK emphasise the importance of value-based education and the need to support and strengthen families.
Newsletter outlines changes in society which affect families and their faith. Now the transmission and nurturing of faith is not "fashionable"; it has to be worked for in a range of ways by parents, by church evangelism, by modern communications, by fathers as well as mothers. There is Good News in the newsletter. Some articles, eg from Paraguay and Australia, tell of difficulties leading to deeper faith and commitment.
The families of prisoners have been described as invisible, the forgotten victims. Partners and children, parents and relatives are often stigmatised and placed in situations of great hardship through no fault of their own. Articles in the newsletter tell how churches and church organisations in USA, South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Pakistan and many other countries have set up projects to help both prisoners and their families.
Throughout the Anglican Communion, there is evidence of the dislocation of rapid change, often in part brought about by economic forces which undermine the role of men for example as "breadwinner" of the family. Many of the articles tell of the difficulties of fathers, particularly the young men who have had little education or job opportunities. At the same time, research from many countries shows the importance of fathers in the upbringing and nurture of children.
For those in rain-drenched countries, imagination is sometimes needed to grasp the importance of water. But in many parts of the world, water is a matter of hard labour and survival. And wherever there are water shortages or pollution, it is the poor who suffer most. Articles from a wide range of countries tell of projects and partnerships to provide clear water and so fight disease, of education about environmental degradation and increasing water shortages. Articles written by expert contributors from USA show that the global water situation concerns us all.
Please note: the views of individual contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the International Anglican Family Network