International Women's Day

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International Women's Day

It's time – time to recognise the vital role that women play in Kingdom work. This role is not additional or supplementary. It's not minimal or optional. Women are fundamental, essential and foundational to the work of building God's Kingdom ...

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Fighting female trafficking

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Fighting female trafficking

Penny Attwells is restoring and empowering women who have survived human trafficking through an innovative support program, writes Hayley Lukabyo.

The trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world. Penny Attwells, founder of Iysha and a member of ADM’s 2018 Hub program, is committed to caring for the victims of such crimes in Australia.

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For as long as Penny can remember, she has been “personally affronted by the oppression experienced by trafficked women”. However, it was an encounter with a woman supporting sex workers in Australia two years ago that convinced Penny to take action, and eventually led to the establishment of Iysha. “She explained to me that women are trafficked into Australian brothels, predominately from Asian countries,” Penny recalls. “She also explained that women in Australia can experience slavery as a result of forced labour or forced marriage. It was at this time that I started to feel a stirring to help. After doing some research, I realised the extent of human trafficking and slavery in Australia, and it is unacceptable.”

This year Penny is developing Iysha through The Hub. Iysha is committed to working towards the worldwide abolition of slavery, servitude and slavery-like practices, including forced labour, forced marriage, human trafficking and extreme labour exploitation. Iysha aims to empower and restore women who survive human trafficking by placing them with ‘safe families’ for periods of time. Many survivors are currently waiting for NSW priority housing or attempting to secure private rentals, and Penny hopes that that Iysha will provide them with the final step that they need before transitioning to independent living.

What makes Iysha unique from similar not-for-profits is its focus on Australia. Before founding Iysha, Penny noticed that while there were multiple organisations and charities focused on overseas women, those trafficked to Australia were being overlooked. “We wanted to establish a not-for-profit with a local focus,” Penny explains. “At the moment, there are only one or two safe houses in Sydney where survivors can be referred to for housing and support. We did consider starting another safe house, however, we decided to think about a strategy that was innovative, scalable and therapeutic.”

Penny hopes that through the work of Iysha, the lives of vulnerable women can be transformed by making them feel safe and connected. “We believe that the framework is restorative, empowering and has many therapeutic qualities,” she says. “Initially, we sought advice from a professional working directly with survivors and asked, ‘Do you think the survivors would feel safe in homes and would want to live in this sort of arrangement?’  Her response was ‘yes and yes’ because survivors want freedom of movement within the wider community, and they want to build new relationships and community connections. We believe that being placed with an Australian family provides a sense of connectedness and belonging, restores trust, provides positive experiences and helps survivors imagine a better future.”

I believe that a genuine love for the Lord will also meet those on the underside of power with mercy, compassion and justice. Whatever we do for the least, we do for Him.
— Penny Attwells

Penny acknowledges that the goal of Iysha is “quite ambitious”, but she trusts that God has called her to pursue it. “I believe that God wired me to deeply care about women experiencing oppression. And I wholeheartedly believe God is grieved by the oppression of women … Jesus made no secret of being opposed to certain things during his life and ministry, and he took particular aim at oppression in various forms: social, religious, political, etc. I believe that a genuine love for the Lord will also meet those on the underside of power with mercy, compassion and justice. Whatever we do for the least, we do for Him.”

Penny is qualified in law and community development, and has worked for 15 years among people facing disadvantage and marginalisation. Her work has mostly focussed on child protection and working with children and families. Penny sees the work of God in both her own life and the development of Iysha.  “Without trying to be overly 'spiritual', I do believe God has called me to start up lysha for ‘such a time as this’,” she says. “This is the first time I have led an initiative, and I believe I am ready and able for the task.” 


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Who was Mary Andrews?

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Who was Mary Andrews?

Mary Andrews College and ADM* stand on a legacy of inspiring women – one of whom is Mary Andrews herself. This courageous pioneer sets an example for women of faith today ...

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Meet ADM's new Chief of Operations

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Meet ADM's new Chief of Operations

Anglican Deaconess Ministries is proud to continue our heritage of exceptional leadership with the appointment of Clare Steele as the new Chief of Operations (COO), as long-serving Director of Operations Ken Breakspear steps down from this role ...

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2017 Fellows finish at ADM

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2017 Fellows finish at ADM

It’s been an incredible journey for our first cohort of Fellows, with their time at ADM coming to an end on 31 January. We caught up with them in the final month of their fellowship to ask about the experience and the inspiring projects they have created...

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Building A Safe & Strong Marriage in 2018

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Building A Safe & Strong Marriage in 2018

ADM's brand-new marriage course ­– Building A Safe & Strong Marriage – will be launched in 2018, created by our Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute. Co-Directors of the MH&PCI, Keith and Sarah Condie, give a sneak peek into this home-grown course, which combines strong biblical content with significant insights from marriage research.

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ADM hosts Walk with Me (Mercy & Justice in Action) Workshop

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ADM hosts Walk with Me (Mercy & Justice in Action) Workshop

The inspiring Walk with Me (Mercy & Justice In Action) workshop at ADM on 28 November 2017 explored the challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. 

Special guest speaker Andrea Mason – 2017 NT Australian of the Year and 2016 Telstra Australian Businesswoman of the Year – shared about her experiences as an Aboriginal Christian leader and gave insight into the challenges facing Aboriginal women in remote areas. As Chief Executive Officer of Ngaanyatjarrra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC), Andrea spoke about the council’s successful work to break the cycle of domestic violence and other challenges in remote communities.

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Take a tour with the queen of pop: Alissa Wilkinson

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Take a tour with the queen of pop: Alissa Wilkinson

ADM’s 2017 Visiting Fellow – New York writer, critic and scholar Alissa Wilkinson – led hundreds of people through the labyrinth of pop culture during a week of events from 9–14 October 2017. Read on to find out more about these events, described by attendees as “stimulating, engaging, urgent and thoughtful” …

 

Hundreds of people came together to hear 2017 ADM Visiting Fellow Alissa Wilkinson share her expertise on the relationship between faith and culture during a series of events in October. Around 300 people attended events from 9–14 October, including the ADM Annual Public Lecture, with countless more reached through Alissa’s media appearances on The Drum, The Minefield on Radio National and in Eternity news. ADM was excited by the large amount of positive feedback we received from those who found Alissa’s insights into contemporary culture to be both insightful and challenging.

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Seeing women flourish in 2017

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Seeing women flourish in 2017

As we come to the end of 2017 and reflect on what God is doing through the work of ADM, we thought you might like to hear a summary from our CEO of how ADM's ministries and programs have helped women to flourish in Kingdom work this past year...

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ADM supports new domestic violence shelter in Vanuatu

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ADM supports new domestic violence shelter in Vanuatu

In the wake of the Cyclone Pam disaster, ADM gave $50,000 to Anglican Aid's Emergency Appeal (which equated to almost half of all funds donated). 

ADM is thrilled to see these funds now being used to construct the first domestic violence shelter in Santo, Vanuatu, in partnership with the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Diocese of Vanuatu.

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Hundreds experience Life with the Luthers

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Hundreds experience Life with the Luthers

Mary Andrews College was asked early this year to do something to mark the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to a Wittenberg church door in 1517. The outcome of this request was the ‘Life with the Luthers’ event held on 23 and 25 September, at which was attended by around 800 people. Rev. Jill Williams tells us about the day...

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AEF and ADM launch project for Aboriginal women

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AEF and ADM launch project for Aboriginal women

Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship Australia (AEF) and Anglican Deaconess Ministries (ADM) have come together to design a Loss, Grief and Trauma Care Pilot Project for Aboriginal Women.

The 11-month project – beginning on 31 July 2017 – will be rolled out initially across Queensland, NSW and Victoria. It aims to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to explore their experiences of loss, grief and trauma, and support hope and healing through use of creative tools, all  within a biblical framework.

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