Blog from the Living Letters visit to Germany

The Living Letters blogs are written to share about visits to specific countries or regions around the world, organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Decade to Overcome Violence initiative along with assistance from local coordinators, churches and other organizations. The Living Letters blogs are personal narratives from members of the "Living Letters" team and do not necessarily represent the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.

Cologne and Hanover, 30 June 2008

The ecumenical movement includes the whole world, no exceptions. So when people find out that the Roman Catholic Church is not a full member of the World Council of Churches, the obvious questions of cooperation and participation are often asked of both sides. Enter the grassroots ecumenical movement. There are so many good and valuable projects happening on the grassroots level in Germany that even to list them here would be a laborious task. Katerina and I cannot stop talking about how much there is to report on and how little we're actually able to convey in our blog writings. We're floating in an ecumenical sea of hard-working, innovative, committed people who have their fingers on the pulses of local parishes and communities and whose projects are massive icebergs floating in the sea and reaching deep into real people's lives. We've only been able to catch glimpses of the tops of these icebergs. There are thousands and thousands of stories of struggle and success which are just waiting to be heard. So we lend an ear whenever we can and listen to what they are so eager to tell us. One successful story of grassroots ecumenical peacemaking I can share with you is that of Justitia et Pax, which is a movement within the Roman Catholic Church concerned with the creation of justice and peace in the world. They have been deeply involved in striving for social justice in issues (such as migration) for a long time and have taken up the Decade to Overcome Violence banner. Wherever in the world you may find a Roman Catholic diocese, most probably will you also find Justitia et Pax, struggling for peace and justice. It's a concrete example of cooperation and success within the Decade to Overcome Violence which I feel speaks to the power of peacemaking on the grassroots level. Our ecclesial manifestations may be different in ways, but our goal is the same: overcoming violence together. May it be so. Because of all these stories, of which Justitia et Pax is only one, it's easy to say that the hardest part of every encounter we've had is saying goodbye. One only wants to linger longer in each room and share stories with everyone. But the train rolls on to Berlin.... ah! And today was my birthday! 26. It's one I'll always remember. Thomas P.S. - The picture is of Katerina (far right) and me (far left) with some local German youth who's company was a breath of fresh air.

Posted By: Thomas on Jul 01, 2008 07:03PM

Hey! It was great to hear about the Living Letters and I enjoyed the splendid evening with you guys. I hope you\'ll have some more inspirating days and fly back with a bag not only filled with heavy paper, but with a lot of crucial experiences and new ideas.
Take care,


Posted By: Rike on Jul 02, 2008 11:22AM

It was indeed an amazing evenig, just a bit too short. But it was a great experience too get to know the Living Letters. I think you do a VERY important job. May God bless you and give you strength for the last days in Germany and for the follwing days for reflection and reporting. Take care of you!
ps: It was an honour to be a breath of fresh air! :)

Posted By: Julia on Jul 03, 2008 08:24AM