“Break the Chains” Project Ends as AB Women’s Ministries Refocuses Mission Outreach

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“Break the Chains” Project Ends as AB Women’s Ministries Refocuses Mission Outreach

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 4/26/13)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries’ Break the Chains project has led the organization to refocus its mission outreach through its Women and Girls Mission Fund, said AB Women’s Ministries Executive Director Virginia Holmstrom in an announcement that the Break the Chains project and grants will end this year. The Women and Girls Mission Fund will be the primary funding vehicle for AB Women’s Ministries’ mission work on behalf of women and girls in the U.S. and worldwide.

From 2007-2013, AB Women’s Ministries sponsored a national mission project, first named “Break the Chains: Slavery in the 21st Century” to specifically address sex trafficking, and then renamed in 2011 as “Break the Chains and Stop the Pain” to recognize a shift from a focus solely on sex trafficking to one that encompassed any violence against women and girls. Through Break the Chains, $515,651 was raised and 25 grants were awarded by AB Women’s Ministries to new ministries addressing sex trafficking and other forms of violence against women and girls in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and other countries.  The Break the Chains project will cease this year; the last round of grantees will be determined per the 2013 grant guidelines at www.abwmbreakthechaing.org. Fundraising for the Break the Chains project concludes this month.

“The Break the Chains project has led us into deeper and more complex issues that need widespread attention,” Holmstrom explains. “The sex trafficking and gender-based violence issues made us deeply aware of systemic problems that fuel the exploitation of women and girls. Such underlying issues may deny education to girls, reinforce cultural practices that discriminate against women and girls, limit entrepreneurial opportunities for women and the management of earnings to nurture and support their children, limit the availability of pre- and post-natal health care, and much more—these are reprehensible obstacles that hold women and girls back.  We want to be about the work of empowering women and girls to live into the fullness of God’s purpose for their lives.”

Individuals and groups can contribute to the Women and Girls Mission Fund to support a variety of crucial missions to women and girls. The mission fund provides the means for AB Women’s Ministries to partner in mission initiatives at home and around the world that focus on bringing healing and hope to women and girls. Initiatives include AB Women’s Ministries work in leadership development, Refit, and the AB GIRLS ministry. The Women and Girls Mission Fund, begun in 2011, has supported such ministries as the Cholera Project in Haiti, under the guidance of international missionary Kihomi Nzunga; the COTAAN project, a congregational outreach in Ohio to women reentering society after incarceration; and providing wholistic support to middle school-age girls through an “I Am Awesome” summer camp program in Maine.

The funds will support mission initiatives of AB Women’s Ministries and in partnership with American Baptist entities and through relationships with BWA Women’s Department and ecumenical partners, in accordance with guidelines set by the national board of AB Women’s Ministries.

The Break the Chains mission accomplishments will be celebrated at the 2013 summer events of American Baptist Women’s Ministries. For more information about the Women and Girls Mission Fund, including online donation links, visit www.abwministries.org/donate.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.