Today, as in the past, faith based communities are called to advance the cause of justice in relation to racial, ethnic and gender concerns in society. It is a call to faith communities to continue their advocacy and concrete solidarity. But it is a call also for more commitment from faith communities to face their own racism, ethnicism and gender discrimination. The journey towards racial and gender justice can be sensitive and lonely. Yet, in essence, the journey towards racial and gender justice is collective, communal and inclusive.
Some faith communities and the ecumenical movement have issued numerous statements and declarations against racial and gender discrimination. Yet racism and gender discrimination remain as deeply entrenched as ever. Transformation continues to be resisted and to be seen as a threat to the call for change of direction.
To this end, the South African Council of Churches is holding a National Consultation on racial and gender justice in the faith based communities and society. This consultation will mark a completion of a cycle of research on racial and gender justice which the SACC launched at the beginning of 2004 in response to the resolution of the National Conference of 2001. Delegates from all faith based organizations, human rights and civil society organizations have been invited. The consultation will be addressed by the theological stalwarts of the struggle against apartheid such as Bishop Paul Verryn, Professor Itumeleng Mosala and Dr Libuseng Lebaka-Ketshabile. The main focus of the consultation will be the major challenge of racial and gender justice to the faith based communities as well as women’s experiences of discrimination. It is hoped that the faith communities will collectively develop a strategic project plan that will translate words into action in a way that will enable faith communities to face all forms of discrimination within their structures.
The consultation will be held at the Kempton Park Conference Center on 25-26 October 2005 starting at 9h30. Reverend Luke Pato of the South African Council of Churches said, "It is almost five years since the faith communities collectively took stock of their journey together in relation to these sensitive concerns. The time is long overdue to consult with one another again to advance the cause of justice in communities and society"
For further information, contact: The Revd Canon Luke Lungile Pato at 083 357 3961.
20 October 2005