In a symbolic act of ending the year that began with the first World Council of Churches general assembly in Latin America, WCC central committee moderator the Rev Dr Walter Altmann visited an interactive exhibition on domestic violence in downtown Porto Alegre/Brazil earlier this month (December 2006).
"Nem tao Doce Lar" ("Not so sweet Home") is a local initiative related to the WCC‚Äôs Decade to Overcome Violence. "The churches' commitment to overcome violence should be established not only on global levels, but also in interpersonal relationships‚Äù Altmann declared.
The interactive exhibition is based on a German initiative, "Rosenstrasse", created by the anthropologist Una Hombrecher with the support of the agency Brot fur die Welt. The idea is to reproduce a domestic environment (there are many secrets behind those four walls) that people can enter, touch objects, read about the issue of domestic violence, and discover, little by little, clues that show that things are not as wonderful as they appear.
The exhibition has been adapted to the Brazilian reality, and is being organized simultaneously in several Brazilian cities by the Lutheran Diakonia Foundation with the support of local groups of women, young adults and children.
"This exhibition is having an enormous impact here in Porto Alegre‚Äôs public market. It takes the issue of violence outside the church and makes more people aware of the problem of domestic violence ‚Äì that affects not only women, but also children, people with disabilities and the elderly‚Äù, Dr Altmann commented.
He was visiting the exhibition, Altmann explained, in order to express that churches in Latin America had heard the call of the WCC Assembly on the issue o violence and remain committed to combatting it.
"This year's Decade to Overcome Violence focus on Latin America has enabled churches to express their public witness to issues beyond their religious and confessional environment."