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Maria Chavez Quispe

Tribute to Maria Phaxsi Chavez Quispe, 1975-2012, renowned biblical scholar and consultant for the WCC Indigenous Peoples programme

26 July 2012

The World Council of Churches mourns the passing of Maria Phaxsi Chavez Quispe, consultant for Indigenous Peoples' Programme, who passed away on 24 July in Liestal, Switzerland, after a long battle with cancer. A laywoman from the Methodist Church of Bolivia, theologian, and biblical scholar, Maria joined the staff of the WCC in Geneva in December 2008. Before then, she held teaching posts in theological education and was actively involved in various grassroots advocacy efforts, offering training in local churches and to small groups of women and social movements.

Maria prepared a short message to be shared to announce her death; it concludes by saying:

She passed away peacefully as she wanted and prepared. She fought breast cancer and in her genes knew how to embrace life when the time comes.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said of her, “Maria was born in Bolivia in La Paz which means peace.  She came to us at the WCC in peace. She worked for peace.  And finally, she left us with a deeper understanding of what peace means. Through her focused and faithful work related to theological reflection and advocacy for just and inclusive communities and indigenous peoples in particular as well as her gentle demeanor and collegiality, the World Council of Churches, the ecumenical movement, and likewise the WCC staff community have been made stronger and richer. Maria’s life and witness fully embodied the prayer, God of Life, lead us to justice and peace. She truly will be missed.”

Maria is survived by her husband, Hansueli, and daughter, Zoe.

The funeral service for Maria will be on the 2nd of August at 14h at the Liestal cemetery, Liestal, Switzerland. There also will be a memorial service on the 20th of August at 14h at the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General Secretary
World Council of Churches

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