Bishop Izani Bruch introduces herself as “a woman, a pastor, and a theologian of a small church.” She believes that her participation as a church on different issues is important in the national context, especially when it comes to human rights, inclusion, and dignity.
Reflecting on the reasons and outcomes of the rejection of the proposal of a new constitution presented last September, Bruch expresses mixed feelings. On the one hand, she believes that it was “a very long text and perhaps not everyone read it.” On the other hand, she also stresses a key factor that led to the rejection of the document was the wide production of fake news against the document and the process itself.
“I also feel like there was a certain disconnection with the real needs of people right now,” she added. “The different political forces are dialoguing to see which way to go. In my opinion, it is essential that the different instances of society are heard.”
As the national plebiscite took place on 4 September, Bruch was in Karlsruhe, Germany, as a delegate of the World Council of Churches 11th Assembly, which was held under the theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.”
Asked if a Christian understanding of reconciliation and unity could be of any use in the current national dialogue, she said that the role of the Christian voices is to present reconciliation as a peace-building proposal.
“We must talk about peace as the fruit of justice. We are a country marked by inequalities and that is why we must work for social justice.,” she said. “I think that as we move forward on that path, we will also move forward in reconciliation. Chile still has pending issues regarding the dictatorship and the violation of human rights. That is why reconciliation must also be seen as linked to truth and reparation,” added Bruch.
Despite the many challenges, she still believes that a new form of unity for the country can be sought.
“We have concerns and values in common, which are the basis of our coexistence,” she said while underlining the importance of diversity and inclusion. “It is not an easy road, because it requires effort, listening, and dialogue.”
That dialogue and encounter are fundamental in the process of building unity, Bruch concluded. “It is very important that our churches do not forget the ministry that has been entrusted to us, which is precisely the ministry of reconciliation,” she said.
A native of Brazil, Bruch moved to Chile in 1992 and was ordained as a pastor in 2002. In 2019, she was elected the head bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile.