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Churches Hunker Down to Tackle Child Abuse, Urge Paradigm Shift

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Masimba Kuchera

Masimba Kuchera

A World Council of Churches (WCC) conference in Norway has called on churches to respect children’s rights and protect them from abuse.

After receiving recommendations from a committee on children’s liberties, the WCC said churches should develop themselves into “child-friendly” institutions.

The World Council of Churches characterizes itself as a “worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service.”

Its Central Committee “heard a series of presentations by representatives of member churches and ecumenical partner organizations, UNICEF and the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children.”

Addressing the seminar, Masimba Kuchera of the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, said due to unpleasant things that have given the church institution a bad image, most children were no longer going to church.

“You might be aware that in several places across the world, children are not found in churches anymore,” said Kuchera, a member of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

“Have you ever thought where these children are spending their time? My guess is as good as yours; but I’d like to believe that it’s in a worse off place.”

Doubling down on his point, Kuchera told VOA that the breach of children’s rights, including sexual abuse, was rampant in the church institution.

“Many cases go unreported,” he said. “You find that there is a lot of abuse, we get reports all the time of children being raped; boys and girls being abused.”

Kuchera said Zimbabwe was no exception. “We don’t look good as a country. There are reports of children being abused both in the church and outside of the church.”