David Against Goliath

Leif Christian Anderson. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey
Leif Christian Anderson. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey

By Leif Christian Anderson

On last Tuesday some of us in the delegation took some time away from the COP20 and travelled out to visit the congregation, Vida Nueva, in the district of San Juan de Miraflores. Vida Nueva is a young and small congregation with around 30 members.

When we arrived at San Juan de Miraflores we were greeted by Pastor Pedro Bullona who showed us the way to church, which was almost on top of a mountain at the edge of the city, and we got the opportunity to see a part of Lima that we haven’t seen before.

At the church we were greeted by several members of the congregation and we felt welcome right away. It is strange that even though we are coming from several different parts of the world, we felt connected right away.  You really feel that you are brothers and sisters.

We spent part of the time getting to know the members of congregation and sharing information about the Fast for the Climate campaign and the LWF`s work on the environment,   and climate justice.

Afterwards we got a briefing from the congregation members about their own commitment to climate justice and environmental conservation projects they were doing in the community.

It was very impressive to hear Pastor Pedro tell the story about the church’s commitment, because it was one of the first organizations to stand up against a large mining company taking advantage of communities in Peru. The mining company`s activities had led to pollution and destroyed the local environment.  Children had been poisoned and sick.  The pastor spoke about this engagement and reminded us of the story of David against Goliath.  They were the first, but the engagement spread and several other organizations also joined in the work and strengthened their cause.

We also learned about the good and impressive ecumenical work that church has with their neighbouring Catholic congregation.  The work has been quite fruitful and led to a joint project to make the neighbourhood greener, where they handed out trees that were planted around the neighbourhood.  It didn’t take long before they had handed out over 50 trees.

We also met a representative of the youth in the congregation who told a little about their commitment to the environment and she shared that they were very engaged in the topic.

When you are participating at the UN climate talks you quickly can get lost in the jungle of words, numbers, political games, technical terms, meetings etc.  It is incredibly good and inspiring to get out and meet congregations like Vida Nueva who make an effort locally to better the environment.

Even if Vida Nueva is a small church measured by the number of members, Vida Nueva is a large congregation when it comes to engagement for ecumenism, creation, fellowship and the belief that you can make a difference even if you are small.

Thanks Vida Nueva for the great work you are doing.

Leif Anderson is a LWF delegate at the COP20 talks in Lima, Peru.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.