Members of the Rainbow Pilgrims of Faith delegation to the WCC in 2024
Rainbow Pilgrims of Faith delegates. Front row (L-R): Amadeo Udampoh, Jane Thirikwa, Judith Kotzé, Mike Schuenemeyer. Back row (L-R): Misza Czerniak, Mikie Roberts, Programme Executive for Spiritual Life and Faith and Order at WCC, Sunita Suna
Credit: Jane Thirikwa
Published On: April 4, 2024

Jane Thirikwa, United Church Program Coordinator, Global Advocacy 2SLGBTQIA+, was in Switzerland last week as a member of the Rainbow Pilgrims of Faith (RPF) delegation to the World Council of Churches (WCC). 

The United Church of Canada is a part of the Rainbow Pilgrims of Faith network. Rainbow Pilgrims of Faith is  a collective of 2SLGBTQIA+ Christian networks, churches, allies, and activists working across five continents.

The delegation met with WCC General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Jerry Pillay, and other staff. Topics discussed included human sexuality, stigma, discrimination, violence, gender equality, and well being, as well as recent work of the WCC on matters of human sexuality. 

“Part of my goal on this trip was to strengthen partnerships between The United Church of Canada and the World Council of Churches,” said Thirikwa. “This is our first meeting with the new General Secretary, and it was a great opportunity for us to talk to him about our work, some of our recommendations and also our concerns about growing movements against people who are trans and LGTBQ+.”  

Through these meetings, the RPF aims to:

  • help discern the vision for the WCC Reference Group on Human Sexuality
  • explore how the RPF may effectively accompany the reference group
  • explore collaborative strategies to use the WCC document Conversations on the Pilgrim Way
  • discuss the experiences of stigma, discrimination, and violence faced by 2SLGBTQIA+ people, their family, friends, and loved ones, within faith settings and beyond. 

In addition to the formal meetings, the delegation was asked to share reflections during worship services.  

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