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Message from the delegation of the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance to the Churches and People of Nicaragua

“We have sought to support dialogue as a means to resolve differences, and to reaffirm and strengthen calls for justice, peace and respect for diverse ways of thinking in contemporary societies”, reads a message issued by the members of an ecumenical delegation led by the World Council of Churches (WCC) that visited Nicaragua, on 28-29 August 2018.

31 August 2018

"Love and faithfulness will meet, justice and peace will kiss each other."
Psalm 85:10

"Our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."
2 Corinthians 1:7

We came to Nicaragua in the framework of the World Council of Churches’ Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace with the objectives of offering pastoral support to the churches of Nicaragua in the present context of pain and trauma suffered by many people since protests began in April 2018, and in the midst of their efforts to find solutions. Our intention was to listen to the experiences of people in churches, civil society and the government. We have sought to support dialogue as a means to resolve differences, to reaffirm and strengthen calls for justice and peace, and to advocate for the human rights of all people and respect for diverse ways of thinking in contemporary societies.

We have heard both voices and silences about recent episodes and experiences of violence. Given the experience of conflict that Nicaraguans have endured in the years before and after the Revolution in 1979, we can see that the process of reconciliation and peace is long and difficult.

Given what we have learned in these two days, we re-affirm the Christian vocation to build peace in the midst of conflicts and social tensions. As Christians, we are called to be promoters of peace, justice and reconciliation, so as to transform pain into hope. Peace is only achieved when all have been able to express their pain, admit their responsibility (by action or omission), and commit themselves to fraternal dialogue and to carry out the decisions made. We believe that inclusive and participatory dialogue is the mechanism that offers the most hope for promoting mutual trust and the possibility of a lasting peace. To achieve that horizon of mutual trust, it is necessary to affirm that all be able to engage in dialogue without fear.

The presence of the churches in all parts of Nicaragua represents an opportunity and capacity to respond to the Christian vocation to serve as conciliators of peace and justice. Sister churches and church-related organizations outside of Nicaragua convened through the World Council of Churches and the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance are committed to working collaboratively to support the role assumed by national churches in this process. It is also critically important to have the involvement of all sectors and levels of society so that peace and reconciliation may be sustainable, particularly through the participation of women, youth, Indigenous Peoples and other representatives of Nicaragua’s diverse ethnic groups.

Lasting peace cannot leave behind unresolved or latent challenges. It is very important that the Nicaraguan government respond to calls for clarification in a transparent way, in accordance with national and international law, so that all perspectives on what has occurred may be understood. Dialogue is necessary to allow everything to be said and for everything to be heard so that differences may be overcome—and so that from reconciliation of the differences, a new sustainable and inclusive peace may be built.

We commit ourselves to acting in support of the full exercise of the human rights of all people in Nicaragua, and for hope to be converted into action in the interest of all of the people.

Rev. Douglas Leonard
World Council of Churches representative to the United Nations

Jim Hodgson
United Church of Canada

Dr. Humberto Shikiya
Methodist Church of Argentina and representative of Action by Churches Together (ACT)

Rev. Cora Luisa Antonio Matamoros
Member of the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches and pastor of the Moravian Church of Nicaragua

Dámaris Albuquerque
Vice-Moderator of the Executive Committee of ACT, and Executive Director of the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD)

Sean Hawkey
WCC communication

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity. It brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians. There are now 350 member churches.

ACT Alliance is a coalition of more than 140 churches and church-related organizations working together in over 100 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalized people regardless of their religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality in keeping with the highest international codes and standards.