Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture.RodeboschUnited Church, Cape Town, South Africa, 24thApril 2018

God of Life Lead us to Water Justice

Isabel Apawo Phiri

I. Preamble

It is a great honour for me to give the 2018 Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture. Steve de Gruchy was my colleague and head of our School of Religion, and Theology at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He was a visionary leader who always pushed the boundaries in order to assist the school to read the signs of our times from a multi-disciplinary approach. Steve de Gruchy was not only a great leader, activist and theologian. He was also a great entertainer, especially during staff retreats. The last school retreat we had with him in February 2010 stands out for me. Using a guitar, he played Redemption Songby Bob Marley for us, which he dedicated to me because he knew it was my favourite song. Steve de Gruchy also inspired many post-graduate students from all over Africa who came to the University of KwaZulu Natal, specifically because they wanted to be supervised by him.  He was the pioneer of the Theology and Development programme at the University of KwaZulu Natal. His passion for the subject made both staff and students want to journey with him on this trajectory. He had the largest number of students in the school.

Pietermaritzburg was not the first place where I met Steve de Gruchy. I first met him in the early 1990s here in Cape Town at his parent’s home and later at Rodebosch United Church when I was a PhD student studying under the famous South African Theologian, Prof John de Gruchy. Thank you John and Isobel for inviting me to give this lecture today. The second contact with Steve was in 1995 at Kuruman when the World Council of Churches organised a consultation on ecumenical theological education in Africa.

While I hold in high esteem Steve de Gruchy’s contribution at the UKZN and in Kuruman, it is what he wrote when he was a member of the Working Group[1]of the Justice, Peace and Creation and a member of the Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches that I would like to highlight. This is because these two groups fall within the Public Witness and Diakonia programmatic area that I oversee. In addition, climate change, economic justice and human dignity that Steve de Gruchy wrote about forms part of the priority themes[2]of the pilgrimage of justice and peace between the WCC 10th Assembly in 2013 to the 11thAssembly in 2021.

II. Title and Structure

The choice of title of this paper is inspired by three things: First, inspiration comes from the theme of the WCC 10th Assembly which was ‘God of Life Lead us to Justice and Peace’. This theme also inspired the assembly to issue an invitation to all WCC member churches, other churches, ecumenical partners, and people of other faiths and of good will to join the pilgrimage of justice and peace. The pilgrimage was also chosen as the theme to guide the Council’s efforts to foster greater unity among Christians and to respond, within the context of today’s religiously plural world, to the challenges facing the human family in our time.[3]Second, inspiration comes from Steve de Gruchy’s writings about justice, economy and ecology in his analysis of water and sanitation. Third, inspiration is from the current water crisis in Cape Town, which should motivate us to reflect together on ecumenical theology of accompaniment in the context of the wound of water stress. Therefore I have chosen to enter into conversation with Steve de Gruchy while on a pilgrimage of justice and peace based on two of his publications, namely;‘Dealing with our Own Sewage: Spirituality and Ethics in the Sustainability Agenda[4]and ‘Water and Spirit: Theology in the Time of Cholera’[5].  This paper is divided into three sections: 1) reading the signs of our times: then and now; 2) theology of the pilgrim way; 3) the Churches Response Towards Water Justice . In conclusion, I will argue that Steve de Gruchy’s passion for a comprehensive water justice which he calls the Olive [6]agenda is worth emulating both at academic and congregation levels as we make a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals for the survival and fullness of life for all God’s creation.

III. Reading the Signs of our Times: Then and Now

a) Water is life and water causes death

In Steve de Gruchy’s two articles cited above, he affirms the fact that water is life not just for human beings but for all creation. He refers to the cycle of life to make his point that:

The truth of evolution is that all life evolves from water, and the truth of the hydrological cycle is that “we all live down-stream”. There is only one stream of water. What passes through the bodies of humans passes through the bodies of animals, insects and plants. It flushes through our sanitation systems, flows through the rivers, seeps through wetlands, rises to the heavens to become clouds, and returns to nourish us and all living things.[7]

Steve de Gruchy also draws our attention to how people over many millennia have used water in agriculture to nurture life. However, he uses the story of cholera in London and in other parts of the world, including Zimbabwe, to show that as humans developed cities and many people lived in close proximity, water, which is the source of life became the course of death. He has shown how this has continued up to the time he was writing his articles and makes a case for theology to address this as a sign of our time.

In his writings Steve de Gruchy made discussions about water and sanitation as if they were a normal topic for conversation in the theological institutions and in the churches. They were not. He was pushing the boundaries of what can be on the agenda of the theologians and the churches.Steve de Gruchy challenged all people to take time to understand more deeply the link between water and death. The hesitation of the churches and theological institutions to talk about sanitation is understandable since it relates to filth, sewage, toilets, and the like, and therefore considered profane to discuss within the churches, let alone within liturgy or bible studies. We need to recognise that trends are changing, particularly after the United Nations in 2013 recognised the observation of World Toilet Day annually on 19 November.[8]Conversation related to sanitation is slowly catching up even within the faith sector, including within churches. It has also become a topic for conversation on the pilgrimage of justice and peace.

In addition, information about sanitation and water has increased. According to the UN Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) 2017 report on “Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene”, there are still 2.1 billion people who do not yet have access to safely-managed drinking water, and 60% of the world’s population, over 4.4 billion people, do not have safely-managed sanitation.   These figures are alarmingly higher than the previous statistics, which put 760 million people around the world not having access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people not having access to adequate sanitation facilities.

A case in point is what happened in Lilongwe, Malawi in July 2017. At the time the UN Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) 2017 report was released, it was discovered that a sewage pipe which was near a drinking water pipe burst and the sewage entered the drinking water pipe. Unfortunately people drank the contaminated water for days before the problem was discovered. As a result many people died but the government did not take responsibility for what happened. Except for a statement from the World Council of Churches, the churches in Malawi did not see it as their responsibility to speak prophetically to protect the vulnerable.

The UN Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) 2017 report [e1] stated that there are 884 million people who still lack access to an improved water supply within a 30-minute walk and that at least 1.2 billion more people use an improved water supply that is not safely managed, resulting in fecal contamination of their drinking water.

From the same report we also know that nearly 900 million people globally are still practicing open defecation.  South Asia constitutes the majority of people practicing open defecation but sub-Saharan Africa is the only region which witnessed an increase in this practice, with over 220 million practicing open defecation by 2017. [9]

We are also informed that inadequate sanitation and lack of safely managed sanitation is one of the major reasons for waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, etc.  Globally 280,000 diarrhoeal deaths take place annually.  That's close to 800 children dying every day due to a preventable disease. When we are hearing news of the possible chemical attack in Syria and the death of dozens of innocent children we are really disturbed! However, every day about 800 children are dying silently due to lack of sanitation and unclean waters and we are not bothered.  Does it really matter how a child dies? Why are we not disturbed by these preventable deaths related to water and sanitation?

A WHO study in 2012 calculated that for every US$ 1.00 invested in sanitation, there was a return of US$ 5.50 in lower health costs, more productivity, and fewer premature deaths. Therefore, it is imperative for us to encourage our governments to invest in water and sanitation sectors for the wellbeing of people.

b) Fresh water is limited

Steve de Gruchy was concerned that there was water stress globally. Since then the situation has become worse. Two thirds of the earth is covered with water of which 97 percent is in the ocean. The remaining three percent is fresh water found in glaciers and ice, below the ground, or in rivers and lakes.

Of the three percent of the water that is not in the ocean, about 69 percent is locked up in glaciers and icecaps. 30 percent of the remaining freshwater is groundwater. About 0.3 percent is found in rivers and lakes. This means that the water source we are most familiar with in our everyday lives -riversand lakes - accounts for less than one percent of all freshwater that exists on earth.  A very small percentage of water (0.1 percent of all water) is also found in the atmosphere.

Steve de Gruchy was particularly worried about shortage of water in South Africa. He had predicted that by 2025 South Africa will have a shortage of water. We are now having this Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture on water issues in Cape Town at this particular time when the local and international media are discussing how Cape Town will run out of the water by April this year. Following the discussions, there are many reasons mentioned for the Cape Town water shortage which include: population growth, record drought, perhaps exacerbated by climate change, lack of political will to have a long term strategic plan, and other factors.

Cape Town is not the only major city that is facing the imminent water scarcity.  BBC reports that 11 other cities may run out of water sooner than later.  These cities include Sao Paulo, Bangalore, Beijing, London, Cairo, Istanbul, Moscow, Mexico City, and others.

Arjen Y. Hoekstra has cautioned us that water scarcity will affect all of us. He said: “Freshwater scarcity is a major risk to the global economy, affecting four billion people directly.”Hoekstra also said,“But since the remaining people in the world receive part of their food from the affected areas, it involves us all.”It affects every continent and was listed in 2015 by the World Economic Forum as the largest global risk in terms of potential impact over the next decade.[10]

c) Uneven distribution and use

Steve de Gruchy also pointed to the fact that at a global level, the water distribution differs. There are some countries that have a lot of fresh water while others have very little. In Southern Africa, Mozambique has the largest supply of fresh water. Furthermore, only 10% of fresh water is used for drinking and sanitation.  70% of fresh water is used for agriculture and food production and the remaining 20% is for industrial purposes and energy production.  This global water crisis is not only because of scarcity but because of the unequal distribution of this precious resource. It is an issue of justice and of rights.

In the case of food production, modern methods of farming which include irrigation mean drawing water from underground rivers at a high rate. The use of chemicals in agriculture has also meant contamination of underground water with toxins.

There is also a gendered aspect to the access of fresh water. In the poor rural areas where the houses do not have running water, it is women and girls who walk very long distances in order to get fresh clean water.[11]Besides girls missing school in order to do such tasks, there are also health risks on women’s spines later in life because of carrying heavy water buckets. Experience has shown that whenever there is a crisis, girls and women are also at risk of sexual violence. The recent revelations of global humanitarian aid workers, including Christian ones, in Haiti, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, show how the power of aid packages is used to demand  sex from girls and women. This is something that one has to be aware of even in the context of the water shortage in South Africa.

Land grabbing by big companies for privatization of fresh water dams is one of the contributors to water stress, which affect poor people the most. In February 2018, the reference group of the pilgrimage of Justice and peace was on pilgrim team visits in Colombia. This is where we witnessed firsthand the power of multinational companies who have continued to displace indigenous people and Colombians of African descent from their land and establish big mines, which also use a lot of water and contaminate the rivers, lakes and underground water.

d) The nexus of water-food-climate change in justice perspective

The global water crisis by definition is the scarcity of availability of fresh water use. Steve de Gruchy was arguing that it is not only talking about the availability of fresh water for drinking and sanitation purposes. It is about health, ecology, economy and justice. The World Council of Churches Eco-School[12]echoed Steve de Gruchy’s concerns by focusing on the nexus between water, food, climate change and health as deeply and directly impacting the sustenance of communities regarding their livelihoods and survival. They examined the adverse consequences of climate change directly impacting ecosystems, agriculture, fishery, food security and the availability of water. Furthermore, they also demonstrated that agriculture, animal husbandry, exploiting water and land resources and the unbridled consumerist lifestyle, all, in turn, contribute to climate change. Preserving the world's water resources and securing access to water for all is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Food security and nutrition are directly linked to the availability of fresh water, as already mentioned, because 70% of fresh water is used for agriculture. Climate change is affecting both the availability of water and food production. Eco-School students also addressed the link between Ebola, cholera and diarrhea to water and food. To be effective and to bring about change, these issues have to be addressed in a holistic manner as suggested in Steve de Gruchy’s Olive agenda.

e) Water in the Sustainable Development Goals

Steve de Gruchy wrote his article in the period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He was appreciative of goal 7, target 10: “To reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”.  His conclusion was that ‘Yet even if these goals are met, there will still be 800 million people without water and 1.8 billion people without sanitation in 2015.’

We are now in the era of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are 17  SDGs with their related 169 targets. They seek to address global challenges the world is facing. In addition, they are presented as global, with relevance both for the global North and the global South.  Governments, civil society and faith-based actors have been invited to contribute towards the realization of the SDGs. According to the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Diakonia document (2017)  it is argued that in the case of the churches, the SDG Agenda 2030 represents a new public platform for diaconal engagement. It challenges ecumenical diakonia to develop strategies for action, and for equipping local churches and other partners toassume an active role in advancing the SDG agenda. Due to the comprehensive approach, the targets that deal with water are found in goals 3 on Good Health and Well Being, goal 6 on Clean water and Sanitation, goal 11 on Sustainable cities and communities, goal 12 on responsible consumption and production and goal 15 on Life on Land. This comprehensive approach is what Steve de Gruchy was aiming for in the Olive agenda.

The Ecumenical Study Document of the World Council of Churches gives us guidance on how to approach the SDGs. It says:

From a critical point of view, it may be claimed that the focus of the SDG agenda is too broad, containing too many goals and targets. When addressing issues such as poverty, it lacks an approach that analyzes root causes and questions ruling political and economic models. Nevertheless, the goals manifest the will of the global community to move in the direction of a sustainable world order and of fostering processes that will strengthen human rights and wellbeing.

Sustainable development is as much a process as a goal, leading to a life of dignity for people in relationship to the overall context of their community and the environment which sustains them. Development that isolates a person from part of himself or herself, from the community or from the ecosystem which supports life is not sustainable. As well, development of a local area that is not linked to the sustainability of the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the human family is likewise not sustainable.[13]

Thus the issue of a sustainable water justice is what Steve de Gruchy propagated. He could have supported the SDGs for that reason.

IV. Theology of the pilgrim way for water justice

At the beginning, I mentioned that a prayer for water justice is placed within the framework of the pilgrimage of justice and peace. With the WCC, from initial conversations about the pilgrimage of justice and peace, it became clear that the choice to use “pilgrimage”as opposed to decade was meant to send a message“that this is a journey with deep spiritual meaning and with profound theological connotations and implications,”[14]The conversations seek to engage people in a transformative journey grounded in love which is the foundation of justice and peace and with attentiveness to the signs of God’s reign.  The pilgrimage calls the ecumenical movement to journey together with an open mind and heart and to engage with a sense of offering companionship and accompaniment to those who join the pilgrimage. In the case of the issue of water justice in Cape Town, the ecumenical movement is invited on a pilgrimage of water justice by focusing on the three dimensions of the pilgrimage: celebrating the gifts, visiting the wounds and working towards transformative actions.

a) Celebrating the gifts:

  1. Theology based on signs of our times

It is a gift to recognise that water justice should be based ofn the lived experiences of the people. Indeed the majority of South African theologians have this gift. In both ‘Dealing with our Own Sewage: Spirituality and Ethics in the Sustainability Agenda’and ‘Water and Spirit: Theology in the Time of Cholera’, Steve de Gruchy is making a case for importance of theologians to base their theology on the signs of their times. He says: ‘whatever else we do as theologians, we cannot do theology other than in response to reality.’[15]He goes further to say ‘In many ways this is nothing new. Both Aquinas and Calvin taught us that understanding the world and ourselves is deeply related to understanding God’.[16]

In the World Council of Churches the praxis of the pilgrimage of justice and peace has shown the value of lived experience. Now  more emphasis is on Pilgrim Team Visits as a methodology of the pilgrimage of justice and peace. The 2018 report of the Theological Study Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace says:

‘In the process of identifying these themes, we recognize a distinctive approach and methodology to doing theology, grounded in the three dimensions of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (celebrating the gifts, visiting the wounds, transforming the injustices), which has a point of departure in peoples’experience. This is possible through the Pilgrim Team Visits, which allow the perceptions and experiences of people to play a major role in the selection of themes, focuses and theoretical development in theology’.[17]

However, one also needs to bear in mind that while putting the context first to inform our theology is obvious when dealing with issues of water justice, it is not the same in the case of church-dividing issues such as gender justice and human sexuality even though these are also themes for conversation on the pilgrimage of justice and peace.

2. Biblical basis for water justice

Steve de Gruchy was part of the group that drafted the “Water for Life”statement which was issued at the Porto Alegre Assembly of the World Council of Churches.  The statement contains biblical basis for action for water justice and this also informed the biblical reflections of his theology. The statement states that:

“Water is a symbol of life. The Bible affirms water as the cradle of life, an expression of God's grace in perpetuity for the whole of creation (Gen. 2:5ff). It is a basic condition for all life on Earth (Gen. 1:2ff.) and is to be preserved and shared for the benefit of all creatures and the wider creation. Water is the source of health and well-being and requires responsible action from us human beings, as partners and priests of Creation (Rom. 8:19 ff., Rev. 22). As churches, we are called to participate in the mission of God to bring about a new creation where life in abundance is assured to all (John 10:10; Amos 5:24). It is therefore right to speak out and to act when the life-giving water is pervasively and systematically under threat.”

This biblical foundation is seen in Steve de Gruchy’s writings and has remained foundational to any actions for water justice.

3. Holistic approach: The Jordan River Motif And the Olive agenda

A holistic approach to water justice is another gift to be celebrated. It was a search for holistic approach which led Steve de Gruchy to propose a Jordan River motif and the Olive agenda as a way of integrating the themes of liberation and creation, economics and ecology, poverty and environment in the face of the reality of the sewage.[18]He uses this motif based on the symbolism of the people of Israel standing on the banks of the river Jordan which flows from The Lake of Galilee representing life to the Dead Sea which represents death. In the Bible story, as the people of Israel are about to cross the Jordan River, God gave them instructions about how to live in what Steve de Gruchy calls the Land of the Promise.[19]The instructions combined economic and ecological concerns in a way that Steve de Gruchy found to be exemplary for a Christian approach to the water justice agenda.  Steve de Gruchy is aware of the limitations of the Jordan River motif by pointing out the problems of its link with colonialism, patriarchy and apartheid but still sees in it as a holistic approach to the ecological and economic divide. He sees the modern society’s consumerism, economic globalization and violence to be at the heart of the water injustice and any theological solution must address all of them.

In my opinion this argument rings true especially when one looks at the current condition of the Jordan River. It is now narrow, shallow, brown contaminated water, a far cry of what it used to be in the time of Jesus. Its water has been diverted for agriculture and industrial purposes. It is also a dumping place for industrial waste. The Israeli and Jordan governments who have jurisdiction over the current Jordan River are predominantly Jewish and Muslim, who have no religious sentiments towards the Jordan River. The Christians, for whom the Jordan River holds religious significance which is visible in the number of pilgrims who still go for baptism in the dirty water of the Jordan River, have no political power to protect it. I therefore agree with Steve de Gruchy that solutions to water problems also require an interfaith approach. Christians working with Jews and Muslims to redeem the Jordan River should be the symbolic ultimate goal of the River Jordan motif for the olive agenda that Steve de Gruchy was passionate about.

b) Visiting the wounds

The Theological Study Group on the pilgrimage of justice and peace affirmed that God taking the form of humanity through Jesus Christ is the basis for theologies of accompaniment-companionship. On this foundation Christians are inspired to accompany others going through a difficult time.  Christians are also inspired by the fact that we are part of a web in God’s creation. Humankind is part of an entire cosmos that has a relationship with God. ‘In this vein, natural consequence of our theological reasoning, is considering theologies of accompaniment-companionship as a living experience “with”, “through”and “for”restoration of the broken relationality between God-human, human-human, and human-creation. We understand this experience as a free, mutual sharing, in equality, not distinguishing the giver and the recipient, not only as an institutional practice, ethical or moral strategy or mere conceptualization.’[20]

In the relationship between South Africa and the World Council of Churches during the 1970s accompaniment took the form of initiating of a Programme To Combat Racism. The question now in my mind to you is how do the churches in South Africa want to be accompanied in in the context of the water crisis?

c) Transformative actions

I have found the Faith and Order document The Church: Towards a Common Vision to contain a core theological basis for the churches transformative actions. It says:

The Church, as the body of Christ, acts by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue his life-giving mission in prophetic and compassionate ministry and so participates in God’s work of healing a broken world.[21]

iv. Churches response towards water justice

a) The Ecumenical Water Network of WCC

Steve de Gruchy was actively involved in the Ecumenical Water Declaration of 2005 and the Porto Alegre Statement on‘Water for Life’of 2006 which formed the basis for the World Council of Churches in collaboration with several specialised ministries of the churches to establish the Ecumenical Water Network (EWN).  Drawing from the foundation documents, the EWN envisions a world where water is preserved and shared for the benefit of all people and the whole of God’s Creation.  Furthermore, based on the understanding that water is a gift of God for all Creation and a fundamental human right, the Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) brings together churches, Christian organizations and individuals to promote universal access to water and sanitation, and the sustainable use and responsible management of water, so that all may live their lives with dignity and with respect for the integrity of creation. The Ecumenical Water Network and its participants work towards this vision and mission by: Raising awareness of the urgency and the ethical and human rights dimensions of the water crisis among churches, policymakers and the general public;  Being a prophetic voice, calling upon religious and government leaders around the world to defend the rights to water and sanitation of the poor and oppressed, the marginalised and excluded;  and engaging as an ecumenical community in the promotion of fair and ecologically just responses to the global water crisis in collaboration with other faith communities and social actors.

b) WCC becoming a Blue Community

The Ecumenical Water Network played a major role in the World Council of Churches becoming a “Blue Community”in October 2016. Becoming a Blue Community means: recognizing water as a human right; saying “no”to the sale/use of bottled water in places where tap water is safe to drink or look for sustainable alternatives; promoting publicly financed, owned and operated drinking water and wastewater treatment services; and promoting partnerships to further the Blue Community.

In line with the WCC’s commitment towards a Blue Community, we have now done away with bottled water in the premises of WCC Geneva, where over 300 staff work and on average 3-5 meetings take place every day with at least 50-100 participants attending them. Tap water-based water dispensers were installed on the premises and personalized glass water bottles were provided for WCC staff and visitors.

Inspired by the WCC, now many of its member churches and organisations are becoming Blue Communities. In Switzerland alone, along with WCC, 20 universities and churches have become Blue Communities.  Even cities have become Blue Communities.  Last year Paris and this year Berlin joined the Blue Community.  Even developing countries can also follow this sustainable model.

v. Conclusion

This paper has attempted to reflect on the work of Steve de Gruchy as it responded to issues of water justice and within the framework of the pilgrimage of justice and peace. Even in 2009, Steve de Gruchy was concerned about shortage of water in South Africa and proposed a comprehensive approach in in dealing with water justice. He used the Jordan River Motif and the Olive agenda to argue for the need of a comprehensive approach. Without using his terminology, I see his vision fulfilled in the approach of the pilgrimage of justice and peace and in the Sustainable Development Goals. Steve de Gruchy’s passion for a comprehensive water justice agenda is worth emulating both at academic and congregation level as we make a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals for the survival and fullness of life for all God’s creation. He believed that the church has the power to contribute to transformation both at a local and global levels. This the vision of the World Council of Churches too: Christians, people of other faiths and of good will to pray, walk and work together for a sustainable world.

[1]The Working Group of the Justice, Peace and Creation of the World Council of Churches was made up of twenty Christians from Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific, and Europe.

[2]The priority themes of the pilgrimage of justice and peace are peace building, economic justice, climate change and human dignity. The priority countries of the pilgrimage of justice and peace are: the Korean Peninsula, Israel/Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and Ukraine.

[3]“An Invitation to the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace,” Revised, Doc. #GEN 05 Rev, July 2014.

[4] Steve de Gruchy.  ‘Dealing with our Own Sewage: Spirituality and Ethics in the Sustainability Agenda’. In Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 134 (July 2009) 53-65. This article has been republished in Steve de Gruchy, Keeping Body and Soul Together: Reflections by Steve de Gruchy on Theology and Development, ed. Beverley Haddad (Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 2015).

[5]Steve de Gruchy. ‘Water and Spirit: Theology in the Time of Cholera’. Ecumenical Review. Volume 62, Number 2,  July 2010, 188-201. This article has been republished in Steve de Gruchy, Keeping Body and Soul Together: Reflections by Steve de Gruchy on Theology and Development, ed. Beverley Haddad (Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 2015).

[6]See Steve de Gruchy  ‘ An Olive Agenda: First thoughts on a metaphorical theology of development’

[7]Steve de Gruchy, 2010, 198.




[11]Phiri, Isabel Apawo “African Traditional Religion and Eco-feminism: The Role of Women at Chisumphi Shrine in Preserving Ecology” in Rosemary Radford Reuther (ed.), Women Healing Earth. Maryknoll: Orbis Publishers 1996, 161-171.

[12]This is a three-week course for youth from WCC member churches which takes place once a year and covers topics on water, food, climate change and health. The first ECO-School took place in Blantyre Malawi in July 2017.

[13]Ecumenical Diakonia Study Document, World Council of Churches, 2017, 54.

[15]Steve de Gruchy, 2010, 196.

[16]Steve de Gruchy, 2010, 197.

[17]Report of the meeting of the Theological Study Group for the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, 10 to 13 February 2018, Bogotá, Colombia, 1.

[18]Steve de Gruchy, 2010, 200.

[19]Land of the Promise instead of the controversial understanding of the Promised Land.

[20]Theological Study Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace report February 2018.