Colombia Partnership's Virtual Pilgrimage for Peace

Colombia Partnership's Virtual Pilgrimage for Peace

During the last week of September 2020, scheduled to coincide with the International Day of Peace observed around the world each year on September 21, 20 Disciples and UCC church members involved in the Colombia Partnership embarked on a virtual Pilgrimage for Peace to Colombia.

Since adoption of the Colombia Resolution (01-GS-23) by the 2001 UCC General Synod 23, the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ, through Global Ministries, have partnered with JustaPaz, a Mennonite organization in Bogota, and the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia. These mission partners and Global Ministries’ People-to-People Pilgrimage Program organized this virtual pilgrimage for peace.

Half the money we raised for this virtual pilgrimage (a first for Global Ministries) Global Ministries sent to our Colombian mission partners to buy food staples, such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, soap and COVID supplies. Our partners then traveled to Choco, Colombia, a remote region on Colombia’s Pacific coast bordering Panama, where large numbers of Afro-Colombians - descendants of escaped and freed slaves - and indigenous Wounaan people live.
JustaPaz staff members travelled up the Rio San Juan in motorized long canoes to visit six villages in the Medio San Juan region of Choco. There they shared these staples with village elders chosen by their village leaders, as those in greatest need. They distributed 200 kits to approximately 600 village elders and their families in five of these six villages, but were unable to visit the sixth village because of armed groups operating in the region.

Justapaz staff videotaped their journey, which involved ecumenical worship, shared meals, distributing supply kits, and documenting the violence periodically inflicted on these villages by armed groups. When Justapaz staff returned to Bogota, they edited, translated into English, and posted a five-minute video documenting their mission work (watch below).

During our virtual pilgrimage for peace over four days in late September 2020 - via two-hour Google Meet sessions each day - we worshiped, listened and asked questions, experienced the journey up the Rio San Juan, and accompanied our mission partners in Colombia in their struggle for justice and peace.




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Charlie Pillsbury

Charlie Pillsbury is Chair of the SNEUCC Colombia Partnership, and Co-Team Leader of Mediators Beyond Borders International's Colombia Project.

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