A Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in the Dutch province of Friesland

A pilgrimage in the Achlum-Hitzum parish, November 2015. Photo: Minze Aardema

It is Monday 27th June, the sixth day of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches in Trondheim, when a regional council of Churches in the Netherlands, the Council of Churches in Friesland, is gathering.

Just days before the chairperson of the Dutch Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace group, Kees Nieuwerth, wrote an inspiring article about the second day of the Central Committee, the day of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. In this article he mentions the spirituality of the Pilgrimage as explained by Prof. Dr. Fernando Enns. It is about the Via Positiva, the Via Negativa and the Via Transformativa.

In the article, Fernando Enns raised a couple of questions: where do we walk with the marginalized, the excluded and the oppressed? And where do we walk together the way of the Cross to work on justice and peace on this pilgrimage? In this article Nieuwerth described examples of this Pilgrimage that were presented that day in Trondheim by representatives from the indigenous peoples, the Conference of European Churches and the  ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

As a member of the Dutch Pilgrimage group and as chairperson of the Council of Churches in Friesland I read out this article at the opening of our Frisian council meeting that Monday.

The article was touching and the members of the Council started to react on it. It was clear without a question that we would start a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in our context.

However, which wounds did we could recognize in our context? We didn't settle on a final answer to this question that morning, although two issues were raised: Firstly the unemployment in our region, and secondly the care for the children who grow up in poor situations.

It was an inspiring meeting. Not only because we as regional council of churches decided to participate in the movement of the Pilgrimage, of course, but also that we as members from different Christian traditions wanted to be involved in this Pilgrimage as one community.

From my point of view it is inspiring that the council is not promoting this Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace or asking others or churches to do this, but that we as Council decided to walk the Pilgrimage ourselves.

In September the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace will be continued in Friesland. I’m looking forward to it very much, also to keep you informed.

With warm greetings and Peace,
Rev. Margarithe Veen

Click here for the article by Kees Nieuwerth (in Dutch)

About the author :

The Rev. Margarithe Veen is ordained minister in the Protestant Church of the Netherlands. She is the also a member (chairperson) of the task force set up by the Council of Churches in the Netherlands to promote the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. She holds a Master's degree in theology from Utrecht University and is an alumni of the Graduate School at the WCC's Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.