WCC Pilgrimage Blog

Join the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace!

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.

A Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in Korea: Exodus from division and nuclear threats

The summer in Korea is a lush and attractive season for vacationers. Yet it is far more than that. It is a period haunted by heavy historical memories. June 25 marks the day of the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950; July 27, the day of the conclusion of armistice in 1953; and August 15, the day of liberation from Japanese occupation in 1945, which immediately led to the division between North and South by the Soviet Union and the United States.

Cambodia War Museum - an encounter with a violent past and a resilient present

The YATRA training (Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity), organized each year by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in cooperation with the Cambodia-based Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS), is an opportunity for young Christians from different countries of Asia to learn about other religions of their contexts and become involved in the “pilgrimage of justice and peace” which the WCC Assembly had called for in 2013. This year, there were 25 young people gathered in Siam Reap, Cambodia, for two weeks of living and learning together.

A Pilgrimage from Thursday to Thursday

When first introduced to Thursdays in Black, it seemed like an “easy” thing to do. What could be simpler – wear black clothes on Thursdays and wear my pin to show that I dream of a world without rape and violence. Every ‘good’ Christian could support this and I casually suggested to my colleagues that this was something CABSA could support. But what does a seemingly simple campaign to create awareness about sexual and gender-based violence have to do with 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.