The Path of our Pilgrimage is not Towards War

The Path of our Pilgrimage is not Towards War

Rev. Gloria Ulloa, the World Council of Churches (WCC) President for Latin America and the Caribbean, has participated at the 35th Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF). Ulloa addressed the women’s pre-assembly gathering and brought greetings on behalf of the WCC. The event is currently underway in Bogotá, Colombia, until 5 March.

During the women’s event, Ulloa said that women in Colombia have been taking part in the peace process through their work and vibrant voices in churches, professional environments, homes and social movements.

Ulloa, who comes from the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, sees clear connections between the ecumenical work of women in Colombia and the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, a mandate from the WCC 10th Assembly. “The motto of the women’s movement in Colombia over the last 30 years has been ‘walking together towards peace,’” she said.

“One of our greatest concerns is that there must be peace in our country. We don’t envisage peace in the state or just the absence of war, but a peace with justice that upholds human dignity,” Ulloa added.

She also expressed concern about the Colombian government’s investment in its budget for warfare. “We are tired of seeing our government directing substantial shares of the national budget to war. We want to see those resources invested in education, health and the implementation of new and inclusive land reform policies,” said Ulloa.

“We don’t want to give birth to children who will go to war. The path of our pilgrimage is not towards war and violence,” she added.

Later, Ulloa addressed the opening session of the WSCF assembly. She shared a letter from the WCC acting general secretary George Lemopoulos with greetings to the federation’s highest governing body.

“You, young people, are the ambassadors of justice and the accomplishers of peace,” reads the letter.

In the letter, Lemopoulos also valued the crucial role of youth in the development, operation and ownership of programmes designed to create unity, peace and social change.

“We embrace the power of youth as agents of social change and leaders within the ecumenical movement. As we work together and empower each other in the pilgrimage of justice and peace, I hope we will lift up and engage the pro-active and dynamic spirit of young people.”

The message concluded with a call to action: “Let us make our diversity into our strength. Let our unity shine brightly in the world and carry high the banner of human dignity for all”.

Established in 1895, the WSCF is a global federation of student Christian groups, with members from diverse Christian traditions and other faiths.

This article originally appeared on the World Council of Churches website.