WCC Pilgrimage Blog

Join the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace!

Between politics, climate change and the role of the Church of Norway

During our travels accompanying the northern Norway part of the ecumenical Climate Pilgrimage 2015 project, the two local bishops of the Church of Norway (Bishop Olav Øygard of the Diocese of Nord-Hålogaland and me as bishop of the Diocese of South-Hålogaland) were invited to discuss climate change with people from the petroleum industry and local politicians.

A centuries-old desire for peace in Europe

After century upon century of periodic warfare, the continent of Europe has, for the last 60 years or so, enjoyed a period of unprecedented peace. The most one can say for European peace is that since second world war no western European power has gone to war against another western European power. But are we on the real and deeply true way to reach, keep and develop justice and peace?

On World Refugee Day, closed doors or a welcome for the stranger?

One generally thinks of a pilgrimage as a journey undertaken voluntarily, in an attitude of reflection, peace and serenity, and with its objective or purpose being internal and spiritual. But on World Refugee Day (20 June), we may consider that the unprecedented numbers of refugees around the world are also embarked on their own pilgrimage of justice and peace. Though forcibly and unwillingly displaced by war, violence, oppression and deprivation, refugees are journeying away from insecurity towards safety, recognition of their plight, and ultimately the restoration of peace and the realization of justice.

Becoming pilgrims: walking alongside our brothers and sisters in Egypt

Egypt, that ancient and mysterious land where the pyramids of Giza grace the hot desert landscape and the Pharaohs once reigned. A land overflowing with beauty and a historical richness unparalleled in all the globe. Today, it is a place whose regal image has been tarnished by the devastating consequences of revolution, economic decline, and fanatical religious zeal.

Playful pilgrims, changing the face of the Earth

Today is a travel day for me, journeying from Stuttgart, where many thousands of Protestants from all over Germany along with many fellow believers from other confessions and countries had gathered for a four-day festival of faith and action, to the venue of the European Christian Internet Conference in Helsinki, Finland. Being offline for a few hours of travel time is an opportunity to think about my work and how it contributes to the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.

Churches in the DRC embark on a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been experiencing great distress because of the armed conflicts over more than ten years, and its economic fabric has noticeably deteriorated as a result. As part of its main mission, which is fulfilling the work of humankind’s salvation by Jesus Christ, who came that the sheep might have life and have it abundantly, the church in the DRC has during this time been active in promoting the people’s well-being.

Share the prayer: grassroots ecumenism means praying together

Christians in Argentina, Brazil, Australia and many other places in the southern hemisphere have been engaged in responding to the joint call by the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church to pray for Christian unity this week. Lately I have been witnessing, mainly through social media, how groups from this part of the world are gathering to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU). But I also see how production and use of these liturgical resources and prayers bring to light the importance of these most basic elements in our common search for Christian unity.

Reviewing the “travel security warning” for the world

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel widely (and freely). I’ve explored and experienced many different corners of the world and moved relatively freely between countries with my magic passport. But always before travelling I am advised to check the countries “security warning” to make sure that it is safe to travel there. If it is considered a level-four country, I cannot travel to it. This got me thinking, what are the factors distinguishing the levels? War, violence, terrorist threats, political tension? And how can these levels change? Justice and Peace.

Journey toward justice and peace

As a youth leader, I have been involved in this pilgrimage since 2011 when I was nominated to attend the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches. I wanted to know many things about the WCC but most importantly I wanted to know about the call to justice and peace. I searched for any information that could explain the real meaning of these two words especially in regard to Christian unity. After attending the assembly at Busan, I realized that it was not just a meeting but it was a calling to a journey.

Walking to Emmaus

After a long walk in the streets of Bethlehem, we finally had the chance to wander around in the market for a couple of hours. Each Palestinian had to be a leader for some of the youth that were in the group, so a South African, two Germans, and a Swede formed my group. While hanging around on the roads, we passed by some tourist buses. One of the youths who were with me said: “Wow, there are a lot of tourists in Bethlehem. I’m glad I’m not a tourist but a pilgrim!”

Walking to Emmaus

At our first meeting in South Africa, a few months before going to Sweden for the first part of the international youth pilgrimage “Walking to Emmaus”, we were exited to meet each other and to know that we would all be going on a plane. It was a first for all of us so I’m sure you would imagine the excitement you could see on our faces going down the terminal and into the aeroplane.

European pilgrims, open to God’s transforming spirit

On 5 May each year the Council of Europe marks Europe Day. It is a day to celebrate peace and unity across the continent. It is also a day to honour successes of Europe—widespread peace and free movement at internal borders, increasing prosperity and cooperation, recovery and flourishing following times of crisis. It is also a time to reflect on where we want to go, who we want to be as Europe.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance in the context of one's own learning, beliefs, or faith. It can be a physical journey to a particular place, or a metaphysical journey in search of insight. It can be a revisiting of spiritual roots or a first visit to the faith domain of a friend.

The right to hope

"This is the year to act. We, the people of the world, need you, the world’s religious leaders, to motivate your communities, to advocate and persuade others to take the necessary, if difficult, decisions." This was the message from Ban Ki-moon and many high-level scientists yesterday, as we met in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome to discuss sustainable development and climate change.

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