WCC Pilgrimage Blog

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Standing Rock: the pain of the past and the challenges of the future

They stopped counting at 524, but many more showed up. The 524 were clergy, registered from over 50 different groups, but many others were along to show support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. They also called for an end to the militarized governmental response to the peaceful protest.

An Orthodox view on the commemoration of 500 years of the Reformation

On 31 October 2016, Lutherans and Catholics co-hosted for the first time in history a joint commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The events took place in Lund, Sweden, under the slogan “From Conflict to Communion”. Many Orthodox representatives attended the event. What did it mean for them? I cannot respond to this question on behalf of all the Orthodox present, but I will try to explain how I perceived it through my eyes.

Walking the Pilgrimage, on my feet and in my heart

In May and June, leading up to the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee meeting in Trondheim, I was on a pilgrimage from Oslo to Trondheim, promoting peace and peaceful co-existence between religious groups in my home country, Norway. On 18-20 October, I was again at a pilgrimage of justice and peace, this time together with about 50 people, representing councils of churches, specialized agencies and other ecumenical actors, who were gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for the annual meetings of the South Sudan Ecumenical Network and the Sudan Ecumenical Network.

Together Towards Life: becoming a Church of inclusivity

When I was invited to attend the consultation on spirituality, worship and mission, I was asked to prepare some personal reflections on my own spiritual journey as a young person. I was asked to share what advice I had for the WCC with respect to how to engage youth in the Church as they aimed to define what they could say "about the spiritualities of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace and how to manifest it in worship, spiritual formation, and mission activities of the church as well as in daily life."

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Intercultural community garden “Rainbow Land”

In Landskron, where I am a pastor of the Lutheran Church in Austria, we have a dynamic, growing and socially engaged congregation. Our town hosts hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers from various countries. While their papers are being processed, they are not allowed to work. In our interactions with the refugees and asylum seekers, they have expressed their frustration at not being able to use their time fruitfully. Most of them miss working, and the contact with the land.

Religious groups working for peace and love

Teenagers pose lots of challenges for any parent. Emotional, rebellious, and subject to inevitable pressures, it is undoubtedly difficult to raise children who are transitioning from becoming children to adults. I am in this situation—I have three. As I reflect on their growing into individualized people, I can only hope that, once they embark on their respective paths, they live in a society that is peaceful and accepting.

A new moment for Colombia

We have been breathing joy, optimism and excitement to promote a new way of being a country. 26 September was a very busy day for all of us who were invited to attend the official ceremony of the signing of the Colombia peace agreement, in Cartagena. As I met other participants, a strong common feeling of hope was present in every shake of hands, every hug and every look.

Global water community introduced to Season of Creation

For the past 26 years, the global water community is gathering in Stockholm for a week in August or September, at the World Water Week, organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute, to discuss the importance of water for human development and a sustainable planet. Call it a coincidence: just one year before the first World Water Week, September 1st was proclaimed as a day of prayer for the environment by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in 1989. For some reason, in the past, faith communities, even though engaged in the water sector, were barely present at the World Water Week.

Celebrating Peace Day as part of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

When we began planning for this year’s Peace Day, I started to think about the many different visions of peace in the Bible and from the Church of the Brethren tradition. Peace Day has been a ministry of On Earth Peace since 2007 and an international event since the UN resolution in 1981. But this year we really wanted to connect our visions and dreams of peace with what we hoped for the church and the world.

The path of love leads to justice and peace

A group of young Christians and Muslims met at Cairo, 18-22 August, for the seminar “Youth Engagement, Religion and Violence”. The meeting organized by the World Council of Churches and the al-Azhar University comprised of lectures, working groups, and various official meetings. As a part of the Christian delegation, I can say that we were all very impressed by the spirit of friendliness and fraternity that the al-Azhar met us with.

Re-affirm the culture of peace through dialogue

Indonesia had been chosen as the third YATRA (Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity) venue, as it represents a multi-cultural and multi-religious context which is also sensitive to conflict. For about 14 days there were lectures, discussions, and exposure visits to some places to get to know more about the multi-religious reality in Indonesia, issues that need to be solved and need our action rather then talk and think only.

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Small yet beautiful

I grew up in a society where faith is above everything. My country (Pakistan) had even based its campaign for independence on religious ideology, and religion has great impact on the social, cultural, political and economic values. From my childhood I have had Christian friends from different Churches and many friends from other religions. On this journey I experienced ecumenism and learned from different perspectives.

More voices contributing a wider range of experiences

At the annual conference in Uniting Church in Sweden at the beginning of May, we decided to change the procedures in the annual conferences to consensus methods, inspired by the Uniting Church in Australia and the World Council of Churches. Developing democracy is a proud legacy from our founding churches. As early as in the late 19th century, the founding churches used the principle one member, one vote. We hope that this decision is a way to live up to the legacy and to show that we still and always try to develop democracy.

Africa churches unite behind a nuclear weapons ban treaty

Africa space is a religious space, a combination of 54 states from North to East, West to South. Differences in culture and religious persuasion exist, but a unity of purpose is always on peace and development. What is not negotiable is the strong believe in God, the piousness of Africans. That's why we boldly and unanimously walk on the common ground to say this weapon of mass destruction remaining unbanned is totally unacceptable.