Rev. Margarithe Veen, an ordained minister at the Protestant congregation of Achlum-Hitzum in the Netherlands, shared her year-long research findings with the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 1 July.
Veen has completed an academic internship in WCC Communication as part of her pursuit of a master’s degree in Peace, Trauma and Religion at the Free University in Amsterdam. Her research has focused on how WCC member churches are engaging in the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, as well as how the WCC has been communicating such initiatives through traditional and social media channels.
“To come to the results, I used a qualitative methodology by collecting stories of member churches of the World Council of Churches on issues of justice and peace,” Veen wrote in her report. She determined three dimensions that are used to walk a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace: the ‘via positiva’ (celebrating the blessings); ‘via negativa’ (visiting the wounds) and ‘via transformativa’ (transforming injustices).
Responses from WCC staff expressed appreciation for Veen’s work, describing how the research will inform their communication plans for the future.
“Rev. Margarithe Veen’s work on collecting stories from news releases of WCC member churches and ecumenical partners reaffirms the crucial aspect of the invitation to the ecumenical journey that participating in the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace will involve individuals, parishes, communities on local, regional, and international levels,” said Rev. Dr Jin Yang Kim, WCC coordinator of Pilgrim Visits.
“At the same time, her work also reminds us of the reality that not all people has been picking up the ecumenical concept of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in their own work on justice and peace.”
Rhoda Mphande, an intern for WCC Communication, said that Veen’s in-depth research offered an insight on the broadness of the pilgrimage.
“Veen’s personal reflections on the pilgrimage theme, how it relates to the lives of the churches in various parts of the world, and to justice and peace issues that Christians are confronting in their communities acted as a third eye in reviewing how WCC’s work and other member churches in this area is performing,” said Mphande. “As the need for peace and justice becomes more urgent, Veen’s reflections through the 60 stories she drew her conclusions from indicate the importance of sharing stories of what and how each committed organization or church is contributing to this ecumenical pilgrimage.”
Veen concluded that it is a gift to see the many topics in which issues of justice and peace can be differentiated. “It is a gift to see that member churches of the World Council of Churches are communicating on issue of justice and peace,” Veen wrote.