Organized by Lilia Clemencia Solano Ramirez—who is the Colombian deputy minister for Social Dialogue, Equality, and Human Rights—the gathering provided a forum for 30 religious and community leaders to talk about justice andreconciliation.

WCC delegation consisted of WCC moderator of the central committee Bishop Prof. Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, WCC programme director for Public Witness and Diakonia and Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication.

WCC general secretary Rev. Prof Dr Jerry Pillay was among the speakers. Thank you to the government for requesting the WCC to be among the facilitators of the peace processes in Colombia,” said Pillay. The WCC recognises that peace is not just the absence of war but much more than that.”

Pillay underscored that we cannot find peace through continued violence. In the context of your beautiful country, we see conflict and violence,” he said. I need not describe this in many words since you know this better than I do as someone coming from the outside.”

He urged all to remain together, work together, pray together, and walk together” for peace. I wish to remind you that in this endeavour for peace in Colombia, you are not alone,” he said. The WCC speaks about a Pilgrimage of Justice, Unity, and Reconciliation and it is our joy to be co-pilgrims with you in your journey for the same.”

WCC GS in Cartagena

WCC general secretary Rev. Prof Dr Jerry Pillay during the event in Cartagena.

WCC moderator Prof. Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm said he was impressed by the spirit of the meeting. 

It was a privilege to meet so many people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds welcoming us in their beautiful country,” he said. "We experienced a community in which the vision of a Colombia in which all people can live in dignity became alive. I was very impressed by the spirit  of justice, reconciliation, and unity, which I felt at this meeting. I will keep the people of Colombia in my prayers.”

Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, WCC programme director for Public Witness and Diakonia, expressed appreciation for the diversity of the gathering. “It was great to see the diverse communities participating in the process of social dialogue,” he said. “This is truly exemplary for many nations seeking closure from the hurts of the past and a new inclusive vision for all people.”

From 6-11 June, the WCC executive committee is meeting in Bogota, Colombia, where the governing body is focusing not only on the business of the WCC but also on absorbing the life and witness of churches at the heart of the Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity.

In Colombia, WCC executive committee will focus on life and witness of churches (WCC news release, 30 May 2024)

WCC general secretary to executive committee: “in Christ all things are held together” (WCC news release, 6 June 2024)

WCC moderator Cartagena

WCC moderator Prof. Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm during the event in Cartagena.