A coalition of churches and peacemaking organisations in Colombia responded in a pastoral letter which states, in part:
We also consider that the threat to churches in Barranquilla, and to five of its leaders, are a result of their evangelical commitment of these faith communities which have been working arduously in the past years in supporting communities who are victims of violence, and in the peacemaking and reconciliation. These ministries – in congregations, parishes, religious communities, and confessions of faith – are now threatened to the point where our fellow priests, monks, nuns, pastors, and leaders who accompany these communities have had to abandon their cities, and even the country for:
- saying the truth according to the Gospel – “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8.32) – about a country with more than 6.8 million victims of violence.
- supporting the peace process according to the Gospel – “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5.9) – a process being put forth by the national government with the support of the United Nations, the United States, and the international community.
- providing religious services without partiality and without regard where anyone stands politically or otherwise according to the Gospel – “anyone who comes to [Jesus he] will never drive away” (John 6.37). Our religious mission is to save souls wherever they might be and wherever they might come from – “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved.” (John 3.17)
We believe these threats to be religious persecution as they are clearly threatening the development and free practice of our pastoral and humanitarian work with those who suffer the consequences of the armed conflict, and our participation in peacemaking for Colombia as the Gospel requires of us.
The letter calls for “sister churches…to continue praying for us, and to increase their accompaniment and support to continue the work of building a lasting peace for Colombia, grounded in the message of the Gospel.”
To that end the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), another member of the WCRC, has created an online petition to gather support for those working for peace in Colombia.
The WCRC has expressed its support for the peacemaking efforts of its sisters and brothers in Colombia. It has also been in communication with the United Nations and state and national governmental officials in Colombia, raising concerns about these threats.
Read the letters the WCRC sent (all in Spanish):
The WCRC encourages all its members to show their support through prayer and letters to both the impacted churches and involved governments.