WCC Pilgrimage Blog

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Dignified and sustainable work for the common good

The environmental crisis and climate change are part of a more general economic, socio-political and spiritual crisis. The topic of work plays a central role in this connection. "The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it,” declares the psalmist (Psalm 24:1). And again "You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use; to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart (...). People go out to their work and to their labour until the evening” (Psalm 104:14f. 23).

The WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in South America

The aim of the WCC is to encourage spaces for encounter between the churches in order to give the witness of service to the world in unity with the Spirit of God. During this pilgrimage it has been stimulating to learn of the recognition accorded in Argentina and Chile to the churches and to the organizations that defend human rights.

Pilgrims freed from greed bear witness to the holiness of Creation

Twenty-six years after the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I first proclaimed September 1st as a day of prayer for the environment, Creation is facing an ever more threatening future. I see the daily crying of Creation and the continuous mourning of God’s suffering people: immigrants who have fled from terrorism, orphans of war, refugees from flooding, suicides caused by bankruptcy, children dying from poverty and from hunger,… perhaps like the old “Time of Destruction” in Sodom and Gomorra (Gen. 19).

United Church of Canada youth pilgrims inspired to be changemakers

This summer has undoubtedly been one of the most inspiring and eye-opening experiences of my entire life. On the 4th of July, 2015, a small group of youth from across the United Church of Canada gathered in Vancouver, on the Pacific coast of our nation. Along with our two adult coordinators, we would embark on a pilgrimage across Canada to reach Corner Brook, Newfoundland, on the Atlantic Coast, where we were to participate in the triennial general meeting of commissioners and delegates from across our Church: General Council.

Why pilgrims of justice and peace can't put their money in fossil fuels

Our religious traditions share values regarding the ethical use of financial resources. In the past, our communities have decided that profiting from certain economic activities is incompatible with our faiths. When an industry continually, over years, causes massive harm while intractably resisting calls for change, faith communities have moved beyond education, engagement and advocacy to divestment.

Does it matter if my ancestors owned slaves?

This week marks the 124th anniversary of the slave uprising in Haiti, which played an important role in the abolition of chattel slavery. Sunday, August 23rd is the UNESCO International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition. It is a day where the world is asked to pause and consider the legacy of slavery and the power of social movements like abolitionism.

On pilgrimage, journeys, and justice

Pilgrimages are familiar to many of us from The Canterbury Tales or The Pilgrim’s Progress. In both of these classics of Western literature pilgrimages feature prominently. You might remember that Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories represented as part of story-telling contest between a group of pilgrims journeying to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The prize being a free meal at the Tabard Inn in Southwark on the return journey. The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory about the life of a protagonist named “Christian” whose journey through the story represents the pilgrimage or journey that is the life of the Christian.

Bonhoeffer’s footsteps, an encouragement on our way

Going on pilgrimage can be both strenuous and inspiring. Every step of the way, kilometre after kilometre, has to be your own. No-one else can walk it for you, nor relieve of your blisters or aching muscles. As an old Scottish music-hall song puts it, “Keep right on to the end of the road, keep right on to the end….” But it can also be inspiring because you are not the only pilgrim, and even if just now you happen to be walking by yourself you can recall that others have walked the way before you. I feel the same about being a pilgrim for justice and peace.

Remembering the remarkable life of Brother Roger, Taizé

It was a warm August day and I was on my way to Taizé. I was looking forward to going to the community in France that was already close to my heart. As a young adult I participated in many Taizé worship services organized by local churches where I lived in Canada. We sang the beautiful chants that Taizé is so well known for: “Come and fill our hearts with your peace…” For me, these services were a refuge for the soul.

Indigenous peoples and pilgrimage: redeeming a concept once tarnished

The word pilgrimage is a linguistic double-edged sword. On the one hand, it connotes a kind of movement towards a higher, even spiritual or religious, end that one has in mind. When thought of in this positive sense, I think of the pilgrimages of the desert fathers who migrated into the sun and sand longing to be alone with God and who were eager to shed off the weight of this world so that they could experience His world more intimately. However, in our post-colonial context, the word pilgrimage equally stirs up mixed emotions, most of which might be negative, particularly amongst Indigenous peoples across the globe.

What sights and sounds tell Hiroshima’s A-bomb story today?

Hiroshima, 6 August 2015 - What sights and sounds told this city’s story today? A graveside scream at dawn? The penetrating gong that sounded to mark the moment the atomic bomb exploded 70 years ago? Candle lanterns floating toward the sea on the evening tide? Or a young pastor’s confession, “I feel guilty”, because his family was spared 70 years ago by a last-minute twist of fate?

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On the road for decent and sustainable work

According to the Bank of Italy, since 2008, 1,1 million work places have been cancelled. The unemployment rate has crossed the mark of twelve per cent (3,2 million people) and continues to rise. Among the young people, 43,3% are unemployed. Of course this situation affects also us, the members of the Protestant Churches in Italy. Nonetheless until now, there had been no grassroots debate on decent and sustainable work. In order to change this, a pilgrimage or caravan set out from Sicily in February 2015 and is passing through the Country toward the North within this year.