WCC Pilgrimage Blog

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The five stages of grief in Palestine and Israel

When it comes to the stance of churches towards the so-called conflict between Israel and Palestine, it is useful to understand it as a process of grief. The theory of the five stages of grief from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is a creative way to describe the “dying” and “mourning” process of the churches and international community. The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 was seen by the Western world as a sign of justice for the suffering Jewish people after the Holocaust and centuries of persecution of Jews in Europe. Two elements played a major role in this initial excitement: the historical guilt of Europeans and the fulfilment of biblical prophecies related with the reestablishment of Israel.

Celebrating Sea Sunday - justice and peace for seafarers

Sea Sunday is celebrated by churches all over the world. Many churches will celebrate it on the 9th of July but many more will celebrate it at different times during the year. Sea Sunday is the one day of the year when churches honour and pray for seafarers. It is a day of celebration and praise but also a day to reflect and be grateful for the work seafarers do.

Theological reflections on the way of just peace

What are the prospects for theology in peacebuilding? A couple of years ago this question became the springboard for my research on a textual process that was carried out by the World Council of Churches. The process towards an international ecumenical declaration on just peace resulted in An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace and the study document Just Peace Companion being published in 2011. Eventually, it formed part of the groundwork of the current Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. My research on this process drew my attention to a couple of themes that inspire theological conversation around the very idea of a pilgrimage: the way, the movement, the process, and the fellow traveller.

Prophetic voices and the AIDS epidemic

Now, perhaps more than at any time in the history of the AIDS epidemic, the world needs strong prophetic voices from Christians as well as from people of other faiths. HIV and AIDS have faded from public consciousness. For a variety of reasons, most people don’t think about AIDS much anymore. Perhaps they think the war is already over, that the scientific and medical advances of the last few decades have solved the problem. Perhaps they think that the epidemic only affects other people, people we don’t need to care about. Perhaps it’s just fatigue, with other issues pushing AIDS aside. Whatever the cause, the lack of attention and awareness may lead us to make some serious mistakes with some even more serious consequences.

The pain and the glory.

The days after the Ascension are a time of waiting and expectation, a time like the earliest disciples in Jerusalem in which to reflect on the meaning both of Jesus’ life and its significance for ourselves: indeed a season of both pain and glory. That is certainly the experience these days of our brothers and sisters in those lands where Christianity first began.

Echoes from Namibia: an ecumenical spring

I was sitting in the space reserved for media, in the back of the plenary hall, when Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, of the Roman Catholic Church, brought greetings from Pope Francis to the 12th Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Windhoek, Namibia.

My heart is crying – but Pope Tawadros said, “love never ends”

Time for reflection after my visit to Egypt. The story has etched itself into my memory. I can’t leave it behind. It comes to me every day like a constant reminder of the fragility of life, of our mortality, of the courage and faith of our fellow humans that carries us in our darkest and most despondent hours.

The Reformation and us

It has often been questioned whether it is possible for Christians of different traditions to jointly commemorate historical events that have marked and traumatized the collective memory of Christianity over the centuries. The Reformation is certainly one of those events that not only changed the course of world Christianity in a dramatic way but that also ceaselessly redefines the basic concepts of Christian theology and life in ways that affect even those who do not embrace its positions.

Connected, yet disconnected: Famine in the midst of plenty

Never has humanity lived in a more connected, yet disconnected time! Connected by the endless notifications on our smartphones – alerting us to all the latest news and tidings in our social media, yet not connected deeply enough to respond substantially to people's suffering. Among the many tragedies are the human-made famines in South Sudan, Somalia, North-Eastern Nigeria and in Yemen.

On the inaugural address of one of the greatest world leaders in human history

“See I set before you today two ways in which you can walk, the way of life or the way of death, the way of blessing or the way of curse.” During the last few weeks I have listened to, and then re-read several times, the inaugural address given by one of the greatest world leaders in human history. I am referring of course to the Sermon on the Mount.

Interfaith harmony, every day

World Interfaith Harmony Week 2017 is coming to an end and I wonder how many people are even aware that it exists, especially in my country, Indonesia. Indonesia presents a unique situation when it comes to interfaith relations. On the one hand, it’s been deemed an example of religious tolerance. On the other hand, it has seen many cases of extreme religious violence. Not to mention the fact that the government only recognizes six “official” religions, and every citizen is required to choose one of them – as it is noted down in our identity cards.

One year and still moving forward

When you choose to join the ecumenical movement, it means you'll never stop moving. You need to always find a new perspective of life, to share your faith to all people that you'll met in your journey. It also means you'll never stop learning, from all things that you encounter, good or bad. And it means you should never stop sharing about your ecumenical movement so the people you meet can start their own ecumenical journey.