Church leader appointed White Ribbon Ambassador, calls on churches to support campaign
November 20, 2016
White Ribbon’s newest ambassador is calling on churches to support the campaign opposing violence towards women.
New ambassador the Very Reverend Ray Coster of Mount Manganui, is a former national leader of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa who recently retired after 39 years of parish ministry. Ray is on the international World Council of Churches committee as the representative for New Zealand member churches, he is also the Chair of the NZ Board of the International Christian Blind Mission.
During his nearly four decades as a Presbyterian minister – providing church-goers and people within the community with pastoral advice and support – he found that helping to move relationships to become more respectful take times. “Changing men’s attitudes and behaviour towards women can be done, but it does require modelling compassion and patience.”
Ray says that churches have many opportunities in their work and engagement with their communities to promote concepts of positive masculinity which support gender justice.
Cam Ronald, White Ribbon Committee Chair, welcomes Ray as a White Ribbon ambassador. “White Ribbon is about connecting with kiwi men and promoting respectful behaviour. Ray has considerable experience of doing exactly that. His experience as a leader will help him stand up and speak out, which is just what ambassadors need to do.”
Cam says churches have an important role to play in helping to eliminate men’s violence towards women through the significant influence they have in their communities. “Preventing violence requires communities to clearly reject violence and to emphasis their respectful values. Faith-based communities can do this as they connect with many different people and are about positive, peaceful values”.
The Presbyterian Church has long been committed to supporting the White Ribbon campaign and each year many of its churches take part in events aimed at educating about how to prevent and stop violence against women.
During this November, White Ribbon month, Presbyterian parishes north and south will hold events to promote White Ribbon Day in their communities.