MEDELLÍN, COLOMBIA (August 13, 2018) – More than 50 people from Covenant churches, social foundations, and a group of youth leaders from the “Be Peace, Make Peace” project participated in a workshop on trauma led by Elizabeth Pierre, assistant professor of pastoral care at North Park University and Theological Seminary.
Pierre’s expertise is in studying how context and culture impacts trauma, as well as the role of the church in promoting healing and recovery.
For the past 60 years Colombia has been immersed in a number of armed conflicts with entities ranging from guerrilla and paramilitary groups, to narcotics dealers and criminal gangs. The violence has displaced more than six million people.
“The discussion was rich and painful at times as people shared the different experiences of trauma they themselves or their communities have experienced,” Covenant missionary Katie Isaza wrote on her blog. “There is much need of God’s healing and for the church to accompany and support victims of trauma. We need to be witnesses to their pain and healing. We need to be able to join them in their lament. We know that this conversation is just the beginning of what will need to be a continual conversation in equipping people to walk alongside victims of trauma in Colombia.”
In Bogota, more than 40 women from around the country gathered for four days to be trained in advocating for victims of abuse and other trauma. The gathering was part of a national initiative of the Colombian Covenant Women’s Ministry, which is using AVA (Advocacy for Victims of Abuse) training material. The material was developed by Women Ministries of the ECC and is being taught in Colombia by teachers from CHET, the Covenant’s Hispanic Center for Theological Studies in Compton, California.