This week I had an interesting discussion with my granddaughter. We were watching a television series on Netflix and a babysitter had to rush her charge to hospital. While waiting for the parents to arrive the doctors started treating the child and referred to the child as him. The babysitter saw the child become anxious. This child loved dressing up as a princess and to be referred to as her.  My granddaughter asked is it a boy or a girl? We had quite a discussion about what that meant. The child in the TV programme was referred to by the family and the medical staff as she even though physically the child looked male.  My granddaughter informed me they had been discussing in class something similar. We had to tell our teacher what an electrician was like, some said it was a girl and some said a boy. We finally agreed that it didn’t really matter if you were a boy or girl you should be allowed to dress as you wished and be known as however you wanted to be known.

March 8th is International Women’s Day and the theme this year is                    #Break the Bias

  • Imagine a gender equal world.
  • A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination
  • A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
  • A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
  • Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Women’s World Day of Prayer on March 4th tackled similar issues. It began to give women a voice in the church even if it was only one day a year. For some churches that  is still true. A different country plans and prepares the service each year. 2022 is a special year for World Day of Prayer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This year, we prepared the World Day of Prayer service. It has been both challenging and rewarding to write about the three countries that make up our area: our landscape, people and culture all shaped by our history. We celebrate our diversity and the contribution made to our countries by the many groups and individuals who have made their home here. We use our Bible text “I know the plans I have for you” from Jeremiah to reflect on some of the issues facing us today: poverty, domestic abuse and disability, finding hope in difficult situations and encouragement in the help we can give to each other.                                                                                                                                                   In this service, the phrase “God our Mother and our Father” was used not to be provocative but only to draw attention to the wider imagery of God and to try and take a small step towards an understanding of God beyond gender. It is also for this reason that both male and female pronouns were avoided in all the prayers.

Use the IWD list against bias to pray for change. Be quiet before God and allow the Spirit to speak to you of the plans God has for you. As I complete this I join in prayer across the world for the people of the Ukraine, Russia and the rest of Europe that peace might prevail and God’s hope in and for humanity might be realised.