VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/23/11)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries announces the launch of the national mission project, “Break the Chains and Stop the Pain,” addressing the oppression of women and girls worldwide.
The 2011 “Break the Chains and Stop the Pain” focus is on violence. Simply being female puts over half of the world’s population at risk for violence. They are at risk at home, in their neighborhoods, in countries all over the world. Sometimes the violence is perpetrated by individuals, other times it is the result of cultural values and traditions. Engaging in education, awareness-raising and violence prevention initiatives, victim care, and outreach to at-risk women and girls can bring hope and relief.
“American Baptist women were catalysts for change in their churches and communities when they engaged in the 2007-2010 national mission project, ‘Break the Chains: Slavery in the 21st Century’,” said Virginia Holmstrom, executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries. “Their faithful commitment began new mission outreaches to survivors of sex trafficking, prevention programs, and advocacy efforts. In their zeal to participate, American Baptist women exceeded the initial goal of $250,000 by raising over $480,000 to fund grants to twenty organizations nationally and internationally engaged in the prevention of sex trafficking. Moreover, AB women made it clear that our work was not done; it was not time to end our mission project.”
Peggy Burke, AB Women’s Ministries national coordinator for Mission & Service Ministries, was anxious to continue the project. She noted the excitement among American Baptist women across the country to be part of such a major effort that impacts the lives of women and girls the world over. “We do not want to imagine for even a moment that labor exploitation and prostitution are the only issues that deserve our attention. There are many other issues of mistreatment and abuse unique among women that need to be addressed. We should be taking the lead as American Baptist women to address these problems,” said Burke. “We can try to understand the circumstances that cause pain for women and girls and do what we can to bring relief. God knows their circumstances and loves them in their circumstances. This is our call to be the voice and hands and feet of Christ to break the chains of their oppression. ”
American Baptist Women’s Ministries will promote and resource the “Break the Chains and Stop the Pain” initiative, which includes a 3-year fundraising goal of $250,000. Monies received will be awarded as grants to programs focused on ending oppression of women and girls in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and globally. American Baptist-related organizations involved in these ministries may apply for Break the Chains funding.
For more information, resources, how to donate, and grant application forms, visit www.abwmbreakthechains.org.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.