- Violence against women is a growing problem in the Namibian society, which also concerns the country's many religious groups. Lutheran women theologians are now discussing how to enhance the fight against violence in Namibia.
Women theologians from the three Lutheran churches in Namibia - the country's largest religious community - contextually reviewed the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) document Churches Say 'No' to Violence against Women at a recent seminar under the theme "For the Healing of our Communities."
In the official opening address, Rev. Munyika, general secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) alerted participants to the difference between power that dominates and oppresses, and power that serves and enhances life.
The 30 congregational pastors and theological students also discussed, "The Combating of Domestic Violence Act," which was enacted by the Namibian parliament this year. Representatives from the Legal Assistance Centre explained the Act and its implications for Namibian citizens, and introduced practical conflict-resolution methods to the group.
In small group discussions, the women shared experiences of violence and abuse in their communities and discussed ways in which the church could and ought to get involved in such situations.
Rev. Angela Veii, coordinator of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) National Committee in Namibia, reported that "all those present agreed that violence - especially domestic abuse - is rife in our society, and that much needs to be done to assist in the healing of our people and putting an end to the vicious cycle of violence."
The women called for support groups, counselling and different forms of accompaniment that could help victims to overcome feelings of shame and worthlessness, helplessness and isolation.
The group encouraged women to be in solidarity and protest against the violence they experience at home or elsewhere, and urged men to renounce abuse and to stand by those subjected to it.
There are three LWF member churches in Namibia - the ELCIN, Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia, and the German-speaking Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia. They have a combined membership of 887,000 people, representing about 50 percent of the country's population.
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