Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The House of Reconciliation and Peace Education

The Emmaus Lutheran Church in the city of Medellin has launched a very exciting ministry: The House of Reconciliation and Peace Education. This last Saturday, April 22, I was able to accompany the inauguration of the initial program of the House of Reconciliation and Peace Education, which is a certificate course called “Conflict, Justice and Reconciliation”. The participants in the course will meet every other Saturday from now until November and study together issues regarding the Colombian conflict, human rights, resolving interpersonal conflicts, peace-building and reconciliation. Here is a link to the website, for those who know Spanish.

This first day of the course, we were grateful for the talk given by Oscar Castaño from the Sabaneta University in Medellin regarding the different dimensions of the Colombian conflict and the fundamental concepts of the peace process.

Oscar Castaño from the Sabaneta University, giving a very important talk on the peace process in Colombia. Photo by Curtis.
The human rights program will go to Medellin three more times this year to accompany the process of this certificate course, helping to lead some discussions and activities as well as design material for the participants.

Angelica Oquendo (member of Emmaus Lutheran Church, and participant in the certificate course) putting together a tree of conflict, The activity was to find examples of conflict in the newspapers, put them as the leaves and branches (consequences or products) of the conflict; then identify the central problems (trunk) leading to these consequences; and finally to identify the root causes of these problems (roots of the tree). Photo by Curtis Kline.
Gloria (left) and Brenda explaining their tree of conflict. The news articles had to do with conflicts over economic issues in Colombia; the trunk (central problem leading to this news) says: Inequality, Injustice, Competition and Negativity. The roots of theses issues were identified as: Indifference, Fear, Inequity, Selfishness, Intolerance and Ambition. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017


The front page of yesterday's newspaper in Bogota. The headline reads, "The Catholic church calls for Forgiveness and Reconciliation".

Saturday, April 15, 2017


The view of Bogota this quiet and calm morning left us hopeful, thinking about the resurrection promises that we will celebrate tomorrow. It also left us thinking about the end of Lent, the end of the blog photo-a-day series in which we have had a focus on peace-making. As Christians we are a hope filled people, and I have hope in this peace process and hope for our future. 

Friday, April 14, 2017


Pastor Angelica beginning the Maundy Thursday Seder reflection at Vida Nueva (New Life) Lutheran Church (the seats did fill up as everyone finished their conversations and came and sat down).  

Thursday, April 13, 2017


At a national retreat for youth leaders... Playing together is a very restoring act. Photo by Curtis.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


For Christmas last year we bought bikes. They have become an important part of our means for transportation as we do not have a car. We will never be professional bikers, nor will I pretend as much, but biking does give us strength, both physical and mental. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Last weekend I was with a team of teachers, principals, and chaplains. Our mission is to rewrite the religion curriculum for the Lutheran Schools to be using. This is an awesome team! Photo credit: Nelson Lopez (phy-ed teacher in Sogamoso)

Monday, April 10, 2017


At a workshop with children at the Lutheran school in Paz de Ariporo, we used artistic activities to discuss issues of peace and diversity. The authentic nature of conversations with children is always encouraging. Photo by Curtis.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


Yesterday we held a workshop in Bucaramanga with the congregation and a landmine victims project. The workshop was about peace-building in daily life, we worked on topics such as forgiveness, empathy and tools to resolve conflicts. Photo by Curtis.

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Deisy blessing Mauricio with the words from our baptism (from the Central Regional retreat for Christian Formation): Remember your Baptism, you are a beautiful child of God, in your Baptism you were sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever. 

Friday, April 7, 2017


Last weekend I lead a workshop for the children who receive scholarships from IELCO in Socota in the mountains of the Boyaca region (I was in charge of the children in elementary school). The workshop is about Life Skills. Here Lorena is practicing the skills she had just learned (self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and assertive communication), while the rest of the group watched. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017


The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is exactly that - a Catholic Church, along with the stations of the cross, built into a salt mine, just outside of Bogota. "Lord I believe, help my unbelief." Mark 9: 24

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


This is a bowl of Uchuvas, a fruit which is new to us since arriving in Colombia. I have made both muffins and juice from them. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Pictured here is a man in Nobsa weaving on the loom, on the floor beside him were all different spools of yarn he had. He must have such an imagination to be able take all the different colors and turn them into beautiful bed coverings, horse saddles, etc.  

Monday, April 3, 2017


A young artist from the Lutheran church in Medellin designed this logo for the Justicia y Vida (Justice and Life) project of the IELCO. We had it printed on little notebooks to give out to as many members of IELCO as we can. It is an effort to reclaim the word "Justice" and the work for it, as an integral part of the church. Photo by Curtis.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


In the middle of the sea of white shirts last September at the signing of the first peace agreement in Cartagena. Photo by Curtis.

Saturday, April 1, 2017


Every year on the 7th of December, Colombia celebrates the festival of lights. In the smaller towns outside of Bogota, the only lights that can be seen is that of candles and paper lanterns. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it" (John 1:5)