Friday, May 20, 2011

Bolivian shares indigenous theology at IEPC

World Council of Churches - News


For immediate release: 20 May 2011

Sofía Chipana Quispe is part of the first generation of her family born in
the city. Her parents migrated to La Paz, Bolivia, from the Andean mountain
rural areas before she was born in 1952.

Despite growing up in an urban setting, Sofia has become a primary voice of
an indigenous theology that values living in dignity and sacredness with the
earth and respect for all forms of life.

She was able to share some of her wisdom and experience Thursday as
coordinator of a workshop on this theological perspective during the second
day of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in Kingston,

Thursday's IEPC theme was "Peace in the Community." Along with two other
representatives of the Aymara people in South America, Quispe offered a
reflection on peace based on ancestral values that have accompanied their
communities through generations and help them to seek peace and harmonious
relations in their communities.

"Qullan suma qamaña, Taika Utasana" (Living in dignity and sacredness in the
great house of Mother Earth) was the title chosen by the Aymara team to
explore how one can have dignity even in today's situations marked by

The team said the concept of "ayllu" provides valuable clues for a holistic
view of peace. "Ayllu" is a community where one experiences an
interrelationship and interdependence between Mother Earth and human beings
and all creatures. "Everything is part of everything," says Quispe.

Celebration of justice

For the Andean communities, the rites, the celebration and practice of
justice are very important. "This is the way to peace restoration," she
said. The rite is a way to establish peace.

"So throughout my childhood, even living in the city, my parents always took
me to have contact with the grandparents in the countryside," Quispe said
describing the influences in her life that countered the pressures of an
urban setting.

Any prospect of peace is, for Andean people, the search for balance and
harmony among all beings that live in the same space.

According to Vicenta Manami Bernabé, one of the coordinators of the
workshop, the quest for just peace takes place in three levels: the rites,
the festivities and the experience of justice.

Bernabé and Quispe are part of the Community of Indigenous Women Theologians
of Abya Yala, a group supported by the World Council of Churches.

After starting work as a Roman Catholic missionary, Quispe lived for several
years among the Quechua people, of the Andeans regions as well.
"This experience was decisive to define my spirituality, because I
rediscovered the integral relationship that each person has with God's
creation," she said.

The Andean spirituality is unconditionally linked to the "Pachamama," the
Mother Earth. But it is also marked by ethical standards of living these
values within community and expressions of solidarity with others.

In many situations of conflict or need, the support comes from members of
the community. "Asking for and receiving help is an important part in
building our relationships more equally," Quispe concluded.

More information on the IEPC plenary on Peace in the Community

IEPC website (Link: )

The IEPC in social media (Link: )

High resolution photos of the event may be requested free of charge via (Link: )

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and
service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches
founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox,
Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in
over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran]
Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.


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