World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Beginning the Pilgrimage Towards Justice

A study guide for congregations and ecumenical pilgrims by Dr Emily Welty

02 May 2014

A study guide for congregations and ecumenical pilgrims

Dr Emily Welty

Part of the pilgrimage journey entails meeting other pilgrims along the way and being shaped by their stories. This short study guide provides the opportunity to encounter seven fellow pilgrims and to hear about the ways they experience the struggle for justice in different contexts.

This conversation took place as part of the plenary session on justice during the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly in Busan, South Korea on 6 November 2013.  To watch the full proceedings of the plenary, go to

The prevailing globalized culture seems to accept and legitimize social, economic and ecological injustice - so much so that human ecological abuse, exclusion and impoverishment  of the vulnerable and the denial of the rights and dignity of many particularly people with disabilities, women, children and people with HIV/AIDS are increasingly seen as inevitable fallout in a world gripped by the logic of dominion, growth and greed.  This institutionalization of injustice is an outstanding mark of our present civilization posing very serious challenges to the moral and spiritual integrity of our generation. Injustice has always been a part of human history; but the injustice of our generation to the earth and to our own brothers and sisters does not seem to have parallels.

Churches need to recognize the moral imperative of confronting injustice as an integral part of “costly discipleship”.  For the WCC, in particular, justice has been at the core of its work. We all know WCC’s involvement in the struggle against apartheid, in solidarity with women, for eco-justice. This is part of the legacy of the ecumenical movement.

Joining together on a common journey as pilgrims requires trust, mutual sharing of resources and a commitment to share our stories and struggles in an environment of care and discipleship. You are invited to join this common path, traveling together towards peace and justice.

Download : Beginning_the_pilgrimage-E_Welty.pdf