WCC delegation visits Conference of Latin American Bishops

By agency reporter
February 9, 2018

As part of a Pilgrimage Reference Group (PRG) meeting in Bogota, Colombia from 6-10 February, a WCC delegation has visited the headquarters of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM).

CELAM shared details about its Department of Family Life and Youth; communications; Department of Justice and Solidarity; School for Theology and Bible Studies;  Department on Communion and Dialogue; and Department of Mission and Spirituality. The WCC delegation and CELAM leaders also discussed ecumenism and interfaith dialogue.

As they talked about the Colombian and Latin American context, the PRG and its hosts reported a positive camaraderie enhanced by a joint prayer service.

Monsignor Juan Espinoza Jimenez, CELAM Secretary General, said the meeting was a sign of the mutual commitment to working together to build justice, peace and reconciliation. “We welcome the cooperation”, he said.

The WCC shared its ongoing work on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. Dr Fernando Enns, a German Mennonite theologian, WCC Central Committee member and co-moderator of the PRG, said the churches in Latin America have been very important for churches internationally. “They present a prophetic voice to hold politicians accountable but also in solidarity with people,” he said. “This is why we decided to come to Colombia to learn from you – what is the hope that you have in your hearts, what is the vision that drives you and the pastoral hearts that keeps you going.”

Enns explained that the WCC has been on a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace for quite some time in different locations. “All people of good will are invited,” he said.

He also reflected on why Colombia is currently one of the WCC’s priority countries. “Colombia can teach us something about the Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace”, he said. “Look at the country – how beautiful it is and how rich.”

Colombia also has highly visible wounds, he continued. Fears and homicides of community leaders are increasing. “But people believe also that transformation is possible”, he said. “The injustices need to be transformed.”

Sister Maria Victoria Azevedo Salavarrieta, executive secretary of CELAM's Department of Justice and Solidarity, said CELAM has been working with Christian teams for peace in conflict zones. “It is among the poorest neighbourhoods that you find ecumenical experiences – that’s where you find unity and people gathered around the word of God”, she said. “What motivates to work for peace in Colombia? It is the word of God.”

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en


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