A message from Chris Andersen, InFaith Community Foundation's President & Executive Director.
This month, Time Magazine announced that their 2017 Person of the Year was “The Silence Breakers”, the hundreds of women and many men who have spoken out and named sexual assault as an epidemic and pushed us all to stop accepting the unacceptable. The hashtag #MeToo has now been used millions of times in at least 85 countries.
Fifteen years ago, InFaith donors named domestic violence as one of the most pressing and urgent needs that faces our shared community. The staggering statistic that one of three women will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime should be enough to place this issue at the top of any agenda.
We know that women are fully included in all the promises of God. And slowly we are learning to speak the faith in ways that more accurately reflect God’s expansive vision. When we disrespect and cause harm to women we are turning our back on God’s will and biblical teaching.
The Bible is full of stories that honor women and the role they have played in the building the church. From Tabitha (Acts 9:36-42), Lydia (Acts 16:11-15; 40 Philippians 4:2), the woman with the alabaster jar (Mark 14:3-9) and women benefactors (Luke 8:1-3), we know that we are called to listen to, be guided by and to learn from the voices of women as Jesus has instructed us to do.
Since 2002, InFaith has been following these Biblical lessons and been motivated by the voices of our donors in a campaign to eliminate violence against women. Through church-based training for clergy and lay-leaders, programs for women and in this years’ launch of the WomenInvest InFaith Portfolio, which focuses investments in areas that strengthen women and make them less vulnerable to domestic violence, InFaith joins with all people of faith to say, enough.
In light of our collective work to end violence against women and in the spirit of collaboration, The 2017 President’s grants of $15,000 has been made to FaithTrust Institute to support, Why Faith Matters, an online resource network for practitioners of faith to support victims of violence and sexual assault. FaithTrust Institute provides faith communities and advocates with the tools and knowledge they need to address the faith and cultural issues related to abuse. Why Faith Matters recognizes the central role that spiritual beliefs, practices and community play in the lives of victims/survivors. A person’s faith and faith community can create avenues of tremendous opportunity for healing and justice in the aftermath of violence. The Why Faith Matters network will connect faith communities in support of women, offer online quarterly convenings, and provide resources for faith leaders to stand alongside women.
Christians are hopeful. This hopefulness is born of and rooted in the birth of Jesus and in his resurrection. And we are committed to live a life modeled after his example and will not give up nor give in to evil. It is with this commitment and our trust in God that we at InFaith support the work of FaithTrust Institute in the 2017 President’s Grant of InFaith.
President & Executive Director