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Faith CAN END violence:

The Power of Gender Equality Theology

“When we go out from the right interpretation of the Bible, that men and women were created in the image and likeness of God, that does not allow you to do any harm or abuse to anyone.”

“It’s been a cultural and traditional norm for the male to come first and be at the top of everything we do. That’s how I was raised. I was taught that being a man meant to be strong, and women were inferior to men,” says Rev Noa Turaganivalu from Fiji. 

Rev Noa spent an entire year grappling with the gender equality Bible studies and other resources, first reading and meditating on the ideas, and then starting to enact them in his life. Rev Noa says his life has changed in a way that makes him proud as a husband, father and grandfather. “As I looked deep into the theology, it was something that transformed me: The way I see the world, the way I see my wife and my children and the way I see others.” says Rev Noa. 

Supported by UnitingWorld, Rev Noa is now the Gender Equality Theology (GET) Minister for the Methodist Church in Fiji, travelling throughout Fiji, preaching at churches and fellowship groups, running workshops, training ministers and lay leaders and changing hearts with his powerful testimony as he teaches the biblical basis for gender equality and anti-violence.

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All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.


We need your help

This program was previously supported by the Australian Government, but the grant expired in 2021. Your support will help us continue this powerful and unique work to end family violence, led by our Pacific partners. We hope to raise $90,000 to keep it going strong.

Rev Noa's testimony is a great example of how your donation will help end violence through our partners in Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.

 Read Rev Noa's powerful story

Faith that ends violence: Rev Noa and the power of Gender Equality Theology

Growing up, Rev Noa Turaganivalu had a typical life for a boy in Fiji. He was raised in a rural village on a small, remote island, played a lot of rugby and went away to a boarding school (where he played more rugby). And as the only son in a family of six, he was always regarded as ‘first’ and ‘above’ his three sisters. “It’s been a cultural and traditional norm for the male to come first and be at the top of everything we do. That’s how I was raised. I was taught that being a man meant to be strong, and women were inferior to men,” says Rev Noa.

It is no secret that such norms can be a factor in the prevalence of violence against women everywhere. In the Pacific, where the vast majority of people identify as Christian, Pacific churches have a huge role to play in ending violence.

Today Rev Noa is an ordained minister and, supported by UnitingWorld, is a champion of gender equality for the Methodist Church in Fiji (MCIF). But it’s been a long journey to where he is now, Rev Noa admits. The patriarchal mentality he grew up with continued into his marriage. “Back then I tried to take ownership of my wife. I was abusive and she can tell many stories of how I used to treat her,” Rev Noa says.

The journey to change for Rev Noa started at theological college but wasn’t fully developed until he was confronted by the theology of gender equality expressed by Solomon Islander theologians Rev Dr Cliff Bird and Rev Siera Bird, and others. Before embracing his post as Gender Equality Theology (GET) Minister for MCIF, Rev Noa spent an entire year grappling with the gender equality Bible studies and other resources, first reading and meditating on the ideas, and then starting to enact them in his life. “As I looked deep into the theology, it was something that transformed me: The way I see the world, the way I see my wife and my children and the way I see others,” says Rev Noa.

“When we go out from the right interpretation of the Bible, that men and women were created in the image and likeness of God, that does not allow you to do any harm or abuse to anyone.” Rev Noa says his life has changed in a way that makes him proud as a husband, father and grandfather. “I can now respect my wife for who she is, her dignity and also my children and grandchildren. They can tell the story of my transformation in the way I speak and the way I act now.”

Supported by UnitingWorld, Rev Noa has been travelling throughout Fiji, preaching at churches and fellowship groups, running workshops, training ministers and lay leaders and changing hearts with his powerful testimony as he teaches the biblical basis for gender equality and anti-violence. It’s busy, hard work. But Rev Noa says things are changing before his eyes. “The ball is rolling. Slowly, because this work is countercultural and counter-traditional,” he says. “Thank you all in the Uniting Church for your partnership. We need your prayers and support as we try to bring peace and stability to our nation and our world.”

 

 See it for yourself:
Download the Gender Equality Theology resource pack

As part of our Gender Equality Theology project with Pacific church partners, we support a network of Pacific theologians to create theological resources (Bible studies, workshop materials etc) and lead dialogue in gender theology; run workshops to engage men and women in examining beliefs and behaviour; and invest in education and livelihoods projects that empower women.

You can download the resource pack here.

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Account Name: UnitingWorld Donations
Account Number: 182657
BSB: 032-014

Reference: "End Violence"

IMPORTANT: On completion of your deposit, please forward an email to: info@unitingworld.org.au with the following details: the amount you deposited, to where you wish the funds be directed (e.g. "EOFY Appeal" or "End Poverty"), to whom the receipt is to be made out to and the relevant contact details (address and phone number).

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