Symbolic Piece: Juvenal Pacheco

Symbolic Piece: Juvenal Pacheco.


Prof. em. Hans de Wit (Free University) highlighted in his lecture, “How Scripture Becomes Sacred Scripture: Discovering the Other Reader as Epiphanic Space,” that the Bible text will be sacred “when readers will look at the text as a message for their lives and start to dialogue and to ask each other,” and not to see the text as an object.

We, as participants, had started to share and dialogue the Bible text, Numbers 27. The text is about Zelophehad’s daughters, each with a name. The daughters enter, in this text, a religious assembly of men leaders and ask whether the name of their father, who died, would disappear because he did not have a son, or if they, his daughters, could get his property. Their voice has been heard, and Moses brings their request for the Lord. After this prayer, the women were able to get the property.

María León Olarte (MA, Free University) prepared this text in relation to her work with GemPaz, the ecumenical group of women peace-builders in Colombia. GemPaz did meet women who could not stay on their land because their husbands has been killed or kidnapped. This text helped to strengthen them. In the discussion of sharing and listening, Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, emphasized how important it is to realize that “not the system has to be changed, but change can happen in the system itself.” Structures, opinions, and visions of righteousness can be enlightened.

Sharing, asking, and listening to each other, a pilgrimage of justice and peace enlightened.

In the past years, the Reference Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace came to places of injustices. Listening to and sharing stories. A valuable method for the pilgrimage, according to Prof. Dr Fernando Enns (Free University, University Hamburg). In his lecture “Ethical-theological Dimensions of the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace: Introducing an Ecumenical Theology of Companionship,” he shared how intercultural Bible reading may be valuable to continue and come to a Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation and Unity in the coming years.

The experience of the pilgrimage made clear that it cannot be without women’s voices, Phiri concluded. They cannot be only cookers and singers in meetings. In her lecture on “Women´s Involvement in the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace,” Phiri emphasized how women have to tell their stories about social and economic deprivation, about women used as weapon and, or, attacked by sexual and gender-based violence, and how they have to deal with the complexity of raising their children born out of rape. Phiri concluded: “Churches and societies have widely failed to recognize women’s potential to assume leadership roles and did not give them a seat at the table of decision-making in peace-building.” 

Through sharing, listening, and asking ourselves, the symposium became itself a sacred space by sharing faith in transformative spiritualities with us.

Prof. Dr Isabel Phiri, Prof. Dr Fernando Enns and Dr Andrés Pacheco Lozano

Prof. Dr Isabel Phiri, Prof. Dr Fernando Enns and Dr Andrés Pacheco Lozano.


Other speakers: Prof. Edgar Lópzez, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, “Contextual and Intercontextual Readings of the Bible in Colombia: An Empirical Approach.,” Dr Christiane Karrer, Doopsgezind Seminarium, “Mission Impossible. On Interculteral Biblereading in the Netherlands,” and Prof. em. Daniel Schipani, AMBS Elkhart, USA, “Blessed Are You, Pilgrims of Justice and Peace…´: Learnings on Transformation.”

INFORMATION: Mini Symposium on “COMMUNITIES OF FAITH - READING THE BIBLE ACROSS CULTURES: A PILGRIMAGE OF JUSTICE AND PEACE” 24th and 25th October 2022 – Singelkerk and Free University Amsterdam.

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.