In Christ there are both males & females, both grown-ups & children

June 9th, 2016 10:42 pm

Natallia profileNatallia Vasilevich, Ecumenical Orthodox Belarusian living in Germany. Studied law, political sciences and theology in Minsk and Bonn, currently writing her PhD at university of Bonn on topic of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church. Represents WSCF-E in the Thematic Reference Group on Human Rights of CEC. Director of Belarusian SCM Centre “Ecumena”.

 

Report: WSCF-E at CEC Summer School on Human Rights

31 May – 4 June 2016 I participated in the Summer School on Human Rights of the Conference of European Churches, which took place in Thessaloniki in cooperation with the Theological Faculty of Aristotle University. This summer school is the third one organised by CEC and more precisely by the Thematic Reference Group on Human Rights, where I am representing WSCF-E. The topic of the summer school was an imperative: “Stand up for women’s and children’s rights”, and included sessions on theological, legal and practical approach to children’s and women’s status and rights in churches and societies all around Europe.

At the opening - member of the working group Geesje Werkman from the Netherlands. Picture by Patrick Roger Schnabel. More than 90 people participated at the opening session, including many students of the Aristotle University.

At the opening – member of the working group Geesje Werkman from the Netherlands. Picture by Patrick Roger Schnabel. More than 90 people participated at the opening session, including many students of the Aristotle University.

Women and children are still vulnerable members of the societies and churches, and often are victims of violence and harassment. Their dignity is diminished by the existing hierarchical social structures, by poverty and violation of the basic human rights and needs. In situation of refugees and other disadvantaged groups, these problems are increasing significantly. Apart from sitting for women’s and children’s rights at the university, sometimes we were also standing up – participants also could participate in study visits. Myself I visited organization Faros Tou Kosmou led by archim. Athenagoras Loukataris, Orthodox priest, working – and living – with Roma minors in Thessaloniki, promoting their education and activities. On Saturday participants visited detention camp / refugee relocation center in Diavata, where people are waiting months and months in tents in quite poor sanitary conditions. A lot of volunteers and NGOs try to help to the refugees to survive, but their possibilities are very limited, due to difficult financial situation in Greece.

Natallia SSHR 2016-6

Selfie with Fr. Athenagoras and Roma teenagers.

The Thematic Reference Group on Human Rights is one of 10 Thematic Reference Groups as the working mechanisms of the Conference of European Churches. For CEC human rights is a part of it’s DNA, European Churches recognized them as a very important topic in the significant ecumenical document Charta Oecumenica. Working group consists of representatives of the member churches and organisations, and is lead by CEC’s secretary on human rights Mag. Elizabeta Kitanovic. The work of the Thematic Reference Group concerns not only theological reflection on human rights, but also monitoring and advocating for human rights.

During break - still discussing women’s place in the church. With Fulata Moyo from WCC.

During break – still discussing women’s place in the church. With Fulata Moyo from WCC.

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