With depictions of panels, stories from creators, and heartfelt quotes from those who are hurting and those who are helping, the book’s textured cover and translucent pages add to a sense of fragility woven together with resilience.
The tapestry on which the book is based is over six meters wide and five meters long, with over 180 panels hand-crafted by people all over the world sharing personal pain and hope to overcome sexual and gender-based violence.
As Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, former WCC vice moderator, observes in the foreword, “Not everyone can see the tapestry. This publication can carry the powerful message of the tapestry throughout the world. This publication will change lives. Please get involved.”
The book was produced by the WCC with support from the United Church of Christ, Finn Church Aid, Church of Sweden, and World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women.
Receiving a copy of the book on his visit to the Ecumenical Centre, Church of Sweden Archbishop Martin Modéus said, “This is an urgent book on an important subject. Also beautifully designed. I hope that this book will be widely distributed and read”.
“We are thankful to be partners together in this important global ministry, as we continue to educate and advocate for women’s rights via the Thursdays in Black campaign,” said Rev. Dr Karen Georgia A. Thompson, a Thursdays in Black ambassador as well as general minister and president of the United Church of Christ.
Rev. Dr Antti Laine, Head of Unit, Church and Ecumenical Relations, Finn Church Aid, said, “I am thrilled about the publication of Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance – sharing the stories that presents powerful pieces of art against rape and violence. Finn Church Aid welcomes creative ways to address any issue. I am also glad that many contributions to the tapestry came from Finland.”
“The World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women is pleased to be among those celebrating the efforts of the World Council of Churches to overcome gender-based violence,” said Mrs. Alison Judd, president emerita, World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women. “Individuals and groups of women around the world have expressed their support of the Thursdays in Black campaign through contributing panels to this impressive tapestry.”
Judd noted that many have personally experienced the horror of gender-based violence. “Violence against women is an almost daily item in our news media,” she said. “We must continue to find new and creative ways of teaching our children and siblings, colleagues and leaders, that such violence is always unacceptable. We commend this initiative as a significant step towards raising awareness of the scourge of gender-based violence and its devastating effect on victims and survivors.”
The book’s graphic designer, Åsa Höjer, reflected on the eye-opening, creative journey. “Working alongside Sara Speicher in the making of this book has been an inspirational, emotional, and eye-opening journey,” said Höjer. “At first I had only seen images of the tapestry and the individual panels, then I started to receive the written stories.”
As the material grew, the creative process was not always easy, Höjer added. "How could we grant dignity to all these panels and their stories, each and every one of them worthy as its own book?” asked Höjer. “At the end, we had filled many more pages than we thought initially, but I hope you will join me in believing that we managed to keep the strength of each panel and story.”
“Thursdays in Black and the Waterfall tapestry are brilliant examples of how to combat the terrible reality of gender based violence: with witness, facts, and resilience," states Sigurdur Hafthorsson, Church of Sweden’s Theological Secretary, Department of Church and Society.
Laine adds, “it is good to remember that through Thursdays in Black we have 52 Thursdays of activism throughout the year against rape and violence. It is extremely important to attain visibility for sexual and gender-based violence and thus grow international awareness of this problem.