Right Reverend Dennis Dabukari Tong, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale has condemned acts of violence at every facet of society and admonished the church to be a strong advocate against Gender Based Violence (GBV).
The bishop indicated that, “Gender based violence is a sin. It often destroys the proper relationship established by God. The church has the responsibility to rise and speak against this evil, and to act against it not just speaking, but action”
The bishop made the condemnation when members of the Tamale Diocese branch of the Anglican Mothers’ Union held its fourth biennial conference at the Saint Cyprian’s Anglican Parish in Bolgatanga to discuss the transformation of the Church through active action from women.
The four-day conference had the theme, “Be transformed with the renewing of your mind”, attended by Union members from all diocese parishes extending to the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East, and Upper West Regions.
The occasion coincided with the commencement of the world’s celebration of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which is a worldwide action for the elimination of GBV, especially against women.
The bishop who preached on the theme, “The unity of the father”, noted that women were more affected in terms of cases of gender-based violence, and said it was God’s intention for human beings to be at peace with one another. “God has planned the day. It is not just a coincidence. The church must speak and act against GBV.”
He said GBV destroyed relationships instead of building the church and family, adding that violence in marriage and family destroyed beyond the family to affect society. “Violence affects a whole community not only the church, and individual families.”
Bishop Tong said, “Violence in the family is violence in society, that is why we, at the Diocese of Tamale have collaborations with the Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organisation (ADDRO) and have involved GBV in our work, because we want peace in the family and society. Peace in the family means peace in the church and in the community.”
He said Human beings were equal before God saying, “The fact that you are stronger than your spouse does not mean you should turn him or her into punching bag. Husbands have been told to love their wives such as Christ loved men.”
The bishop said the antidote to GBV, “is when we begin to love one another beyond ordinary verbal claim to love”
He referred to Proverbs 10:31 and said the Bible instructs the church to hold the family together and charged spouses to ensure that the home is not used as a boxing platform to perpetuate any form of violence against a family member “Today I will show you! And because of that, you, as a woman goes to wear jeans to sleep. We must not use punishment as a form of protection against what somebody needs. It is also a form of violence”
He bemoaned intimidation from colleague workers at the workplace and said the workplace should not be used to intimidate others for selfish gains, indicating that emotional torture was violence and should not be entertained. “Any person or system that makes another person suffer for another person’s gains is violence. It is wrong and should not be entertained”
He urged Christian men to make Joseph, husband of Mary, a role model, and explained that, Joseph was very patient and so contained the announcement that Mary had conceived, and he (Joseph) was responsible, even though he had not had intimate relationship with her.
“I want all of us to go out and preach and teach against GBV. The Church must condemn GBV. The church must take up the duty to ensure that GBV is outlawed from every facet of society. Report all forms of GBV to get help. Do not hide it, even if you are a man, be bold and disclose it to safe others. Let us work together to root out this evil called GBV”
He urged members of the Church to ensure care and embrace a safe community. “Let us provide education, it is critical in the response against GBV,” and charged women to take care of their families unconditionally.
The Anglican Mothers’ Union is purposed to protect and preserve the family and the church, and to promote wider understanding of Christian life and to encourage parents to bring up children in the likeness of God.