A Pastoral Letter to Side by Side Chapters, Members and Friends

Home |  News | A Pastoral Letter to Side by Side Chapters, Members and Friends

Dear Side by Side Chapters, members, friends and co-labourers in the work of gender justice,

We hope this message finds you and your families safe and well.

The COVID-19 virus is a challenge to us all. As faith leaders and people of faith, who are rooted and trusted in communities, we are called to respond to this global pandemic. We are in unique positions that can enable transformation in our homes, communities, nations and globally. We have the power to be change makers:

  1. By communicating World Health Organization guidance on physical distancing and preventative measures, by following that advice ourselves and teaching and encouraging our communities to do the same.
  2. By adapting our worship and developing and facilitating new, safe, practices of fellowship.
  3. By ensuring our responses, including the theologies that we promote, are based on our values of love, dignity and justice.

As a faith movement for gender justice our network is expansive, multi-disciplinary, interfaith and inter-generational. We reach deep into our communities. This affords us a significant opportunity to curate, create and share information and other resources in order to encourage safe attitudes and behaviours.

We are particularly concerned by the gendered implications of Covid-19. In times of crisis, existing inequalities are often exacerbated and gender injustice remains. Women and girls are so often the primary carers and therefore especially vulnerable to infection. As people are asked to stay at home, we must recognise and address that the home is not a safe place for everyone. We know that incidences of sexual and gender-based violence are already increasing as a result of the pandemic.  As faith leaders and people of faith we can and must stand firmly for love, dignity and justice, by:

  1. Speaking out in our communities and using all available media against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
  2. Informing ourselves and our communities about available support for SGBV survivors and equipping ourselves and our communities to respond effectively
  3. Listening to, advocating for and championing the human rights of all those marginalised in the Covid-19 response.

Over the coming weeks and months, Side by Side hopes to continue bringing faith actors together (via digital platforms) to enable conversation and collaboration. We hosted our first conversation on faith responses to Covid-19 on 24 March you can read the summary on our website here. Further conversations are planned and we would be delighted if you were able to join us. See our website for resources and the latest information on these.

Please do reach out to our International Coordinator, Rachel, if you have questions, ideas for collaboration, or stories to share during this time, or if you require assistance as you prepare your own response to the crisis. We all have much to learn from, and to offer, each other, in these extraordinary times.

We close this message with a prayer acknowledging our shared purpose and solidarity:

We are bound together, our futures intertwined.

When the path is uncertain, help us to discern our next steps.

During this crisis, use our collective strength to bring hope.

Where there is darkness and pain, may we find ways to be the light.

Thank you for calling us all to be change makers, and channels of your love.

We are here to serve you.

Side by Side: Faith movement for gender justice


Posted by: Side by Side | Wednesday, April 29th, 2020
Back to Top