Teresa Santos

They still remember their first stitches on panels for the Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance,” the tapestry on which the book is based. At six meters wide and five meters long, with over 180 panels hand-crafted by people all over the world, the tapestry shares personal pain and hope to overcome sexual and gender-based violence.

When the group in Colombia heard the call from the World Council of Churches for tapestry panels in May 2022, they began stitching right away, recalled Teresa Santos, who convened the group. 

We knew nothing about oikoumene or about Thursdays in Black, but this Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance blew friendly to our feminine hearts, ears, and hands,” she said. 

Thursdays in Black is the World Council of Churches (WCC) campaign for a world free from rape and violence. 

We did not hesitate; we wanted to be part of this challenge,” said Santos. Each one agreed to sew alone, on a square of predetermined size, her inner-contacted voice that said here I am, here we are...towards a world without rape and violence.’ ”

The time was short but the groups engagement was strong. A week later, I gathered all the stitched works of art and the titles or texts referring to them,” said Santos, who at that time convened an online chat so the women could show each other photos of the panels they contributed. 

Brazilian artist Janine Marja Schneider then sewed panels from across the world together to form the tapestry, which was displayed at the WCC 11th Assembly in 2022. 

We followed, step-by-step, the news coming from Brazil and from Geneva, from the World Council of Churches, and from activities by Thursdays in Black—and we talked about this experience to friends, to other women, or institutions,” said Santos.

A book arrives in Colombia

In December 2023, the book Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance—sharing the stories” arrived in Colombia. The book brings to life in its pages the tapestry through depictions of panels, stories from creators, and heartfelt quotes from those who are hurting and those who are helping. The books textured cover and translucent pages add to a sense of fragility woven together with resilience.

The Colombian women convened in person on 24 February to look at the book together. We feel proud and thankful,” said Santos. We shared time looking at every page of the book and finding we are all the same soul—not only us, the Colombian participants, but all women worldwide, dreaming and screaming.”

They not only shared the book but also shared opinions, food, gratitude, and commitment. It's been a sensitive afternoon together!” described Santos.

The women gathered described feelings of unity. 

"I would summarise the meeting as a gathering of women around the awareness of what affects us, repels us, and matters to us,” said one woman. We are united by common pains and that is why we do not need to know each other all our lives to know that we can be sisters and share smiles of complicity, curious glances, personal stories, laughter, and reflections.”

Sometimes, it is through pain that they found that unity. I add to your conclusion, my friend, that the language of pain is only one, and that today, here, without words, we were able to express such a hard and incapacitating reality,” reflected another participant. I think that this action of women in the world shows that we are all one.”

The book has an ending page—but the circle of Thursdays in Black is still growing and growing. "I celebrate the gathering of last Saturday, being accompanied by the materiality of the book, that allows us to contemplate outside and to contemplate ourselves in the messages—pain and hope—as shared with so many women from such different corners of the world,” concluded a panel creator. 

Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance—sharing the stories,” 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. 

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