Inspired and charged by their Christian faith, Global Ministries partner, The Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala (Concejo Ecuménico Cristiano de Guatemala), has been busy reinforcing ecumenism throughout Guatemala, protesting against violence within Guatemala’s borders, and collaborating to construct a culture of life and peace that will help end the violence against women, youth, and the environment. This report reflects some of the highlights of the work of the Ecumenical Christian Council in 2010.
In 2010, the Ecumenical Christian Council developed a document on Integral Mission to provide direction for the work of the Council. It was sent with the Council of Latin American Churches to be shared with the Conference of Missions in Edinburgh, Scotland. The discussion and document also serve as the basis for the new Strategic Plan of the Council for 2011-2015.
The Ecumenical Christian Council worked with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to engage in public prayers in areas of high violence. The Council has also been called to organize peace marches and to offer occupational training as alternatives to violence and gang involvement for at-risk youth. Twenty-three youth from churches on the margins of Guatemala City graduated from the training in 2010. Also, churches and schools continue to incorporate the Council’s teaching material on the 17 virtues for peaceful coexistence for children and youth into their curriculum.
The Council participated in the Week of Prayer for the Unity of Christians which, in 2010, prayed in solidarity with Haiti. The Council also hosted a workshop and discussion about poverty, wealth, and ethical responsibility.
Women are being trained for and appointed to leadership on the Council, in other churches, and throughout their broader communities. Their leadership has given voice to those women in society who are on the margins and opened doors for other women to join the ranks of leadership and equality. The Council has been active with the campaign fighting violence against women and children. They have raised awareness through posters, calendars, radio ads, and other materials. Because violence against women and children remains an important issue, the campaign has been extended into 2011.
The Council is addressing the needs of churches by sending eight church leaders to be trained on risk management and emergency response to natural and other disasters. They also continue to accompany those affected by HIV/AIDS through their Pastoral Commission on HIV.
There is still much work to be done to prevent further environmental degradation and ensure food security and access to water, to address violence against women and among youth in particular, and to seek peace. In 2011, the Ecumenical Christian Council is continuing to offer needed workshops and assistance including: