The sharing of the Latin American group underscored three crucial topics demanding immediate attention and collective action: the commitment to a just and sustainable future by actively addressing the climate crisis and the protection of Indigenous rights, combatting gender-based violence, and strengthening the institutional capacity and theological reflection of the churches.
“Our beloved Abya Yala is blessed with a diversity of natural resources, ancestrally preserved by our Indigenous peoples,” reads the message from the regional group shared in the plenary of the WCC central committee.
Abya Yala (living land or land that flourishes) is one of the names the original peoples called the land that would later be named by the colonizers as America.
As any other region of the world, Latin America suffers the consequences of environmental degradation caused by reckless exploitation of natural resources, which affects vulnerable populations, leading to displacement, endemic diseases, and impoverishment. Additionally, the expropriation of ancestral lands from Indigenous communities poses a significant threat to their livelihoods and cultural heritage.
“Our churches advocate for intergenerational collaboration through means such as dialogues, Bible studies, and Christian education material to explore and promote sustainable solutions to care for God’s creation and protect the rights of Indigenous communities,” said Rev. Mariela Pereyra, from the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (Argentina), a member of the WCC central committee.
Confronting gender-based violence and discrimination emerged as another priority for the Latin American region.
“We must raise our prophetic voice against the structural sin of violence. It is urgent to provide new tools for dialogue and hermeneutics in the face of religious and social fundamentalisms that continue to perpetuate hate speech, femicides, and all forms of violence against women, girls, adolescents, and the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the loss of acquired rights,” reads the group’s message.
They also underlined the need to strengthen the churches’ institutional structures and theological reflection as an important way to invigorate their grounds to promote trustworthy testimonies of justice, reconciliation, and unity through words and actions.
“Unity, mission, and ecumenical formation are crucial aspects that require attention and investment,” reads their message.
The group also acknowledged the digital divide and limited access to virtual platforms as significant obstacles to educational continuity, particularly for children and adolescents. “Bridging this gap is essential to ensure equal opportunities for all and a more inclusive society.”