This last Saturday, August 26th, the “House of Reconciliation and Peace Education” of the Emmaus Lutheran Church in Medellin held a workshop to close its second module in its yearlong certificate program called “Conflict, Justice and Reconciliation”. The main theme of the workshop was about what has been the role of churches in confronting conflicts of the society in which they exist.
We focused on the experiences of the Lutheran Church in the struggle for independence in Namibia, the role of the recently arrived Lutheran Church after the Rwandan genocide, as well as the current role of the ELCA regarding immigration in the USA, though its initiatives such as AMMPARO and its Guardian Angels program, as well as local congregations’ involvement in the New Sanctuary Movement. All three of these examples were discussed as models for church involvement in their society’s conflicts.
The title of the workshop “From Conflict to Communion” is an exploration of the stages of overcoming conflict. The process is a pilgrimage. In the current reality of Colombia, regarding the Final Agreement between the Government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), as well as the current negotiations between the Government and the ELN (National Liberation Army), there are great challenges to be confronted in implementation and overcoming. The role of churches will be crucial.
|The closing act of the workshop was an activity discussing community strength, demonstrating that if somebody falls the community can hold them up. Photo by John Hernandez.|