Development and Peace members moved by the Spirit at 2016 World Social Forum | Development and Peace

Development and Peace members moved by the Spirit at 2016 World Social Forum

August 16, 2016
Development Peace Members’ Delegation to the World Social Forum

The Spirit has certainly been moving among our Development and Peace member delegation this past week. We have asked three members to share their impressions. Here are their thoughts:

“Having attended the Forum, I've been given a clearer, more inspiring perspective. I see Creation as having two powerful dynamics that walk hand-in-hand: ecology on one side and humanity on the other. Between ecology and people, is our God. How we interpret that divine presence is theology. Theology sets the rules of relationships, the expectations of stewardship, the invitation to be grateful, the spirituality and vision necessary to walk with ecology so it may serve our vital needs of air, water, food, shelter and a normal climate. And, in being hospitable to us, we in turn respectfully allow and assist nature to heal and recover from meeting our needs. Nature's faithfulness and power also enables her to provide for future generations.

The book, "Karuara," written by Stephanie Boyd, a presenter at a Development and Peace workshop, is a vivid depiction of both the right and wrong way to walk upon the face of the earth. The First Peoples of the magnificent Amazon biosphere teach us that harmonious relationships impart a sense of mystery to all creatures. Working and thinking together are valued, so that everyone is included in life-decisions - especially the decisions to take from Nature just enough to live healthy lives. 

The combination of workshop testimonials, the Laudato Si’ presentation, the Development and Peace programs and books like "Karuara" provide a rich basis for life and justice work. Thank you.”

Terry O’Toole
Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia

“As a delegate for Development & Peace, the week began with a full day at the World Forum on Theology and Liberation (WFTL). The next day, while still processing WFTL ideas on feminist theology and kyriarchy, I was experiencing the excitement of the opening march of the World Social Forum (WSF). Sharing details on the content of the workshops and grand conferences of the WSF would be an impossible task, so I won’t even try. Instead, I present three significant things I learned over this past week. I’ve learned that...

  • You can't put a price on biodiversity, but there are some people trying to do just that through a cycle of deception and greed, known more commonly as ‘carbon credits’;
  • ‘isms’ exist in many forms, such as carbon colonialism, climate capitalism, and environmental racism; and
  • It’s important to identify the threads which link the struggles and sufferings of the Global South with the struggles and injustices of the north. No thread is so intricately woven into the fabric that it cannot be unravelled. After this experience of insightful and courageous presenters, I hope I have the strength to go forth and unravel a few threads. In the words of one presenter, it’s time to make ‘strategic noise’.”

Kathleen Nolan
Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan

“There was a tremendous affirmation of community and solidarity. I developed a deeper and broader awareness of central social justice issues and a better understanding of key terminologies. I came away with renewed resolve and purpose emanating from absorbing the cultural diversity expressed in a passionate spirit of commitment, and the massive amounts of information were brought to life by experiencing personal witness.

The Development and Peace delegation has been the foundation of community for me at the WFTL/WSF. The support, sharing and fun opened me up to reaching out to the broader social justice community. My affiliation with Development and Peace gave an easy ice breaker to meeting many new people from across the world. The opportunity to become intensely immersed in critical issues and achieving a knowledge of key terminologies such as decolonizing, helped me to better discern fundamental conflicting forces, for instance, exclusivity versus inclusivity; people power versus corporate power… One of the most inspirational moments was the witness of the two young girls in the Development and Peace Youth workshop – amazing!! The lasting value will be in the contacts and networking together with website links that will enable continuing dialogue as a Development and Peace member. In conclusion, WFTL/WSF has given a tremendous boost to my awareness and resolve in my volunteer work with parishes.”

Rudy Stocking
Archdiocese of Toronto