Vicar will launch naked calendar

A Gloucestershire vicar is to launch a nude calendar in his church after a group of 13 women posed naked to raise money for rape victims in Rwanda.

The Rev Stephen Earley of St Martin’s Church in Horsley said: “As Christians we are taught to help widows and orphans, so I didn’t hesitate.”

The calendar will help Surf, an organisation working for survivors of the genocide and those with HIV.

It will be launched at an evening service at the church on 26 September.

“Many of the atrocities in Rwanda took place in churches where people had sought sanctuary, so it seems fitting to try and redress the balance,” said the Rev Earley.

Empowering women

Jo Hofman, 50, who posed for the calendar said: “We wanted to celebrate womanhood to heal a little of the pain suffered by our sisters in Rwanda.”

A sentiment echoed by Sarah Clifford who also posed for the calendar when she explained her reasons for taking part.

“It seemed unbelievable that 10 years after one of the worst genocides in history, the survivors were now having to deal with even more suffering – Aids as a result of rape and children being orphaned for the second time – and we felt we had to act,” she said.

The vicar also said he was expecting a few complaints about his decision.

“Undoubtedly some people will complain but it is important to see it before making any criticisms.

“A lot of thought has gone into this and it is about empowering Rwandan women who have been so debased. It is about reasserting women’s essential female selves,” he said.

The calendar has been produced to mark the 10th anniversary of the genocide.

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