Battle Cry for women and girls sounds at International Headquarters
On 9 March, international Women's Ministries launched a Battle Cry for women and girls, a new initiative for all involved in ministry to, with and for women in the global Salvation Army. Led by Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, World President of Women’s Ministries, who first ‘sounded the battle cry’ to officers and staff who gathered at International Headquarters, as well as special guests including two retired World Presidents of Women’s Ministries, Commissioner Gisele Gowans and Commissioner Freda Larsson.
Battle Cry stems from a desire that all who have an investment in Women’s Ministries – that is as participants, leaders or as champions of women within The Salvation Army – would be informed on social justice matters and prepared to speak out with boldness, wisdom and grace. Battle Cry rallies those who want to be part of the fight against systemic social injustice faced by women and girls. International Women’s Ministries has identified and prioritised three focuses for individuals, groups, and territories to adopt:
- Improved access to healthcare and a better understanding of women’s health
- Increased education and development opportunities for women and girls, with fair compensation for their skills and labour
- The elimination of violence against women and girls.
The launch of Battle Cry coincided with the observance of International Women’s Day at International Headquarters, which included an exhibition featuring 33 stories of Salvation Army women who have overcome difficulty with grace, faith and courage. A digital version of the exhibition is available: ‘The waters are rising, but so am I!’
International Headquarters staff gathered for a time of prayer and worship led by the international Women’s Ministries section. We commenced with sung worship, before Commissioner Yvonne Conrad led a time of prayer for our Salvation Army leadership and for our territorial prayer focus, the Zambia Territory. It is a blessing and a privilege to join brothers and sisters around the world in prayer in these days, particularly through the Praying for Leaders initiative. Commissioner Shelley Hill then introduced our theme, ‘The waters are rising, but so am I’, and invited those gathered to share in the testimony of Meagan, a powerful story from the Women of Hope resource produced in the USA Southern Territory.
Commissioner Eva Kleman, Commissioner Martha Pawar and Captain Eva Siwi presented a synopsis of the Book of Esther, detailing the many unexpected and unforeseen events that result in a narrative of justice and goodness prevailing even in the darkest times. Following this, Commissioner Rosalie brought a devotional thought on the unfailing presence of God, his redemption of all things, and lessons on allyship and justice, through reflection on the Book of Esther. Amid this message, the World President sounded the justice aims of the Battle Cry, confident, convicted and determined as she borrowed the words of Catherine Booth: ‘The waters are rising, but so are we! We are not going under, but over.’
As this time of worship drew to a close, Commissioner Robyn Maxwell closed in prayer: ‘You, Father, have rooted in our hearts your cause of justice! And, today, we commit to investing in the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development of women and girls by use of our time and resources. Lord, go with us as we seek the values of your Kingdom on earth. And may we make every effort to learn from each other as we are mutually transformed by your grace.’
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