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Pilgrimage Bible studies are a “knapsack for the journey of faith”

Pilgrimage Bible studies are a “knapsack for the journey of faith”

©Peter Williams/WCC

24 January 2018

Seven pastor-scholars have crafted new Bible studies to enable congregations everywhere to wrestle with biblical insights into their journey of faith and the imperatives of contemporary discipleship that lie behind the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (PJP).

Together, says, Susan Durber, minister of the Taunton United Reformed Church in the UK and moderator of the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Faith and Order Commission, they provide food for the journey.

“As the pastor of a small local congregation and as moderator of the Faith and Order Commission, I need so much to have the Bible in my 'knapsack' for the journey of faith and for my own pilgrimage, with others, on the path of justice and peace,” she said.

“It is a repeated wonder and blessing to me that even the most familiar passages so often bring new light into my days and open up new paths for these tired pilgrim's limbs. I need daily bread for body and soul, and in reading the Bible with others I find food for the journey.”

A project of the Theological Study Group of the WCC’s PJP, the meditations on biblical forms of pilgrimage reap the wisdom of pastors and scholars from Indonesia, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Tonga, the US and the United Kingdom.

The Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, the framework for collaboration of member churches and ecumenical partners, is also meant to inspire personal and congregational engagement with concrete issues of social justice and peace. It is ultimately rooted in the biblical vision, says Fernando Enns, one of the studies’ authors, a coordinator of the pilgrimage reference group and its study group, and Professor of Professor of Peace Theology and Ethics at the Theological Faculty of the Free University of Amsterdam.

“Setting our feet on an ecumenical Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, we do not walk with empty hands. The ‘Word of God’ has been entrusted to us: the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.”

They can lead to startling insights, he says. “These witnesses of ‘God´s pilgrimage’ with creation invite us to see how we are in fact already participating in it – as a reconciled diverse fellowship of praying disciples. Being blessed by this cloud of witnesses, I feel encouraged to ‘walk gently’ (Micah 6:8) on the path of peace and justice with our God.”

The seven Bible studies, which are also being translated into French, Spanish, German and Arabic are the first of a dozen that will be issued during 2018, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the World Council of Churches in its assembly in Amsterdam in 1948.

They can inform and animate congregational life, as well as that of the whole fellowship, says Isabel Apawo Phiri, associate general secretary of the WCC. “These Bible studies are an acknowledgment of the centrality of reflection on the Bible for the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. We invite congregations to use these Bible studies as they reflect on what it means to be on such a pilgrimage in their own context.”

Access all Pilgrimage Bible studies here

Learn more about the PJP and how to get involved