Four churches joined activists, governments officals and private sector representatives to highlight issues relevant to end violence against women and girls in Samoa.
The support was expressed last Sunday during Orange Day.
Orange Day promotes messages to end violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month. The day is an opportunity to raise awareness about Gender Based Violence and show solidarity with the movement to End Violence against Women and Girls.
This time, it fell on Sunday 25 September.
Four churches based in Apia joined UN Women dedicating their sermons to the cause.
Participating churches included: Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral, Baha’i House of Worship, All Saints Anglican Church and the Apia Harvest Centre Church. All services were well attended with some members of the congregations wearing orange or sporting “Strong Hands Stop Violence” buttons.
Members of the Baha’i Youth group, lead by Soul Weaver coordinator Tahere Talaina Leota Siisiialafia, wove orange stars to honour the day.
The Baha’i house of Worship chose an excerpt from Baha’i writings that stated: “As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.”
Reverend Tilafono David Hunter of All Saints Anglican Church said in his moving sermon: “I will remind us all, that God made us in His image, both male and female. We are all equal in the eyes of God, and likewise, He loves us all the same!”
And Father Falaniko Matulino, of Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral, addressing the large audience said, “We pray for our women and children as we celebrate Orange Day. A day for awareness of ending violence against women and girls. Churches all around Samoa join us in prayer today.”
As one worshipper stated, “These issues affect many families in Samoa. It is good to see so many different denominations participating to raise awareness. I hope the discussion started here is continued at home by families during to’onai.”