I promised to keep track of the XIIth Interecclesial Meeting of the Ecclesial Base Communities. I received a letter from one of the participants, Afonso Murad, a theologian from Brasil.
In his address to the meeting, the Archbishop of Porto Velho, Mgr. Moacir Grechi, quoted an African thought : “Little people who do small things in unimportant places, reach extraordinary results”. It illustrates well the awareness of people who are locally committed in very concrete situations, but who are also aware of the fact that their struggles have a universal, planetary importance. The first celebration of the meeting illustrated symbolically the complexities of the Amazon region: the river and the forest, the inhabitants, the biodiversity and cultural diversities in the region, the destruction of nature by agricultural industry, the hope and the resistance of its people. The perspective of the meeting is “socio-environmental” and originates with the situation of the poor.
The way of proceeding of the meeting is also highly symbollical: the central meeting point is called the “haven”, to which the 12 miniplenaries or “rivers” report. The 144 smaller discussion groups, in which participants can exchange their personal experiences, approaches and convictions, are called “canoes”. Today’s theme concentrated on the effort to “SEE” and to hear the prophetic cry of the earth and of the peoples of the Amazon region as a gift to the whole of humanity and the whole planet. The hopes and struggles that are articulated in this meeting, although they may be small and insignificant, and although they concern truly local issues in unimportant places, are nevertheless crucial for a planetary hope and struggle.
For maps of the Amazone region, see: http://www.raisg.socioambiental.org/.