Women Theological Forum (WTF) – a subsidy of MAP - conducted two days’ seminar, on 1-2 April 2017, Topic was “Women’s Role in the Gospel” at Theological Institute of Laity (TIL), Sadhuke, Gujranwala.
In her welcoming remarks Mrs. Alishba Javed Akhtar (Directress-MAP) said that WTF-MAP hold regularly seminars for theological formation of women whereby they got the opportunity to learn different feminist theologies and share their views and experiences. Elaborating aims and objectives of the seminar she added that the topic of seminar “Women’s Role in the Gospel” would make the participants to evaluate their own role as women in the perspective of Pakistan. She advised the participants to share the outcome of the seminar with those women who could not attend this seminar.
In the first session, after self-introduction of the participants, Miss Nomi Munir introduced MAP highlighting its slogan “Participation, Formation and Leadership” of laity in the Church and society. Later, Miss Sunita Hameed explained historical background of WTF and its objectives aiming to promote feminist theologies and to train lay women for participation and leadership in the church.
The speaker of the seminar, Dr. Farhana Anthony Nazir was introduced by Ms. Suriya Chanan (Secretary, Women Desk, Lahore Diocese). Dr. Farhana spoke on the role of women in the Gospel dividing her topic into three parts. In part one: “Women’s Historical Background in the Bible” the speaker said that in the initial stage women had no status in the society and they were considered very inferior. They were deprived of their rights. But Jesus Christ made women part of his ministry.
The part two of the lecture, Dr. Farhana elaborated women’s role in Jesus’s Ministry. She said that women used to listen to the Word of God while sitting in Jesus’s feet. Mary always did this and preferred it over the worldly deeds. Likewise, in our homes we have to be more familiar with the Holy Bible. It will nourish love, mercy, care and participation in our lives and society. She concluded that women should assert their identity and struggle for restoration of their self-respect, equality and human dignity.
In part three of her talk, Dr. Farhana talked about financial assistance in Church Ministry. Referring to Luke 8 she said women financially helped Jesus in his ministry. That are the women who believe that by opening their fists lives would be saved for eternal life. She told about Mother Teresa who was symbol of love and sacrifice for us. She demonstrated love and care for others. She not only shared her life with others but her money also.
In conclusion the speaker said that a woman who was fearless touched Jesus’s clothes and got healed. Jesus admired that woman for her strong faith and character. Today women have to know their importance and open their houses for church ministry and play their due role in the church and society.
The session followed by the group workshop in which participants took active part and discussed women’s issues and presented their solution. They said that family was a unit which nourished and get promoted in women’s hands. If families are strong and have firm belief, then a positive change can come in the society. When women are strong in their Christian faith the families will survive threat of disintegration and breaking down. They added that women have to be independent and not to be slave of her wishes and needs. We have to start from little deeds to make change in our society. God will open His door of blessings and skills. Dr. Farhana encouraged the participants and appreciated their group work.
Mrs. Alishba Javed Akhtar concluded the seminar with vote of thanks to the speaker, participants and staff of MAP.
150 women attended the seminar from 11 cities and towns of the country - Sheikhupura, Ghazi Minara, Farooqabad, Hafizabad, Jurian, Gujranwala, Harpoke, Muridke, Lahore, Raja and Fr. Stani Selas Twon, Sadhoke.