17. aoû 09 - 23. aoû 09

Healing of Memories-Reconciling Communities

Ecumenical Institute Bossey, Switzerland


Tensions within communities, hatred and conflict are often related to the fact, that bad memories are kept in a retributive way. The path of healing memories is only possible by human beings deeply valuing the other and recognising the divinity and sacredness of sisters and brothers even if they are enemies. The path is also paved by narratives of history and societal memories which take into consideration the perspective of the others.

Therefore the two principal moments in the healing of memories are: witnessing (addressing painful memories, breaking the silence) and retelling the story (gathering testimony, engaging in truth-seeking and truth-telling, and producing a narrative that provides a horizon for the future). These two moments are realized only when truth and justice are acknowledged as key to reconciliation processes in a rigorous and sincere way.

A healed memory does not disappear, it can remain troublesome. But it looses its capacity to poison the present and foreclose the future. The remaining wounds can even become sources of healing for others.  

This seminar aims to provide the possibility of experiences to be shared among the people, partners and friends across the world to facilitate holistic action that makes a difference in the lives of the people. It will link the notion of healing of memories to the different areas of WCC's work which are related to peace- building and conflict resolution, HIV/ AIDS and overcoming violence against women and children. Additionally the seminar will invest in gathering the experiences of churches and communities into sharing the influences of culture on the healing of memories. It will be theologically grounded and explore the positive role of faith in the healing of memories.