Echoes of the International Gathering in Cartagena


From 8 to 10 March 2023, the JC2033 international gathering took place in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. It was an intense three days of meetings, reflections and celebrations. In these five articles, find out more about the various stages of the event! Together For The Decade.

1. The Risen Lord, the Heart of the Church

The gathering began at the Cloister of Saint Dominic, where Archbishop Francisco Javier Munera invited participants to a time of prayer. On the opening evening, he spoke on the theme of "Christ's Resurrection, the Heart of the Church". He was followed by Pastor Oscar Ospino; a member of the Evangelical Pastoral Council of Cartagena and the Bishop of the Anglican Church in Colombia, Francisco Duque, also Yalile Cabaleiro; President of the Mennonite Church.  

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From left to right: Pastor Edgar Castano, President of the Evangelical Alliance of Colombia (CEDECOL),

Bishop Francisco Duque (Anglican Church) and Archbishop Francisco Munera (Catholic Church).

  2.The Women at the Tomb, the First Witnesses to the Risen Lord.

 The gathering opened at the same time as International Women's Day, and it was women who met the Risen Lord before anyone else. This first day therefore began with a reflection on the women at the empty tomb. 

Biblical scholar Maria Cristina Ventura, professor at the Theological University of Central America in Costa Rica, explored this theme in greater depth, followed by Gabriel Peralta, pastor of the Evangelical Church "Le Point de rencontre" in Bogotá. Swiss pastor Martin Hoegger meditated on the "Road to Emmaus", symbolising the journey to 2033. In the afternoon, small groups were formed, each taking seven minutes to share their "existential Emmaus", i.e. how they have walked with Christ.

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Theatre play by young people from the Youth with a Mission centre: "Women at the tomb  

 3.A Relational Unity

This gathering was a time of mutual discovery. For many, it was the first time they had met Christians from other churches. This article presents some experiences and reflections on the theme of unity, which is one of the central values of JC2033, in particular from the biblical scholar M. C. Ventura, Casely Essamuah, Secretary General of the Global Christian Forum and Olivier Fleury, President of JC2033. 

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 4. Witnessing to the Risen Lord 

Witness is the second value of the JC2033 initiative. On the second day of the gathering in Cartagena de Indias, this was explored in a variety of ways: songs in the city, theatre, workshops, sharing of experiences by young people from the Focolare Movement and Youth With A Mission. On the relationship between evangelisation and unity, a round table brought together leaders from the Catholic, Evangelical and Reformed Churches. 

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Round table discussion with, from left to right, Father Raúl Ortiz Toro, Pastor Edgar Castaño and Prof. Carlos Ham, 

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 5.Imagine the Feast of 2033 

The 2000th anniversary celebrations should be joyful, artistic and creative. Celebrating the beauty of Christ's Resurrection with diversity, joy and gratitude will be attractive. How can we imagine the Jubilee of 2033 and the path leading up to it? Several speakers answered this question, including Beatriz Berrocal, a Catholic theologian from Cartagena, Atahulpa Hernandez, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Colombia, and the evangelical pastor Abigail Vicente

At the final celebration, attended by more than 250 people, Pastor Hector Pardo and Father Enan Humanez challenged the many young people on what it means to "walk together towards 2033". Francisco Munera, Archbishop of Cartagena, hopes that this experience will be extended to the whole of Latin America. "May this spring that starts in Cartagena become a great river! » Finally, the torch was passed on to Nepal, where the next international gathering will take place in February 2024. 

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Passing the Torch from Colombia to Nepal

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