The Chilean Methodist Church has issued a Pastoral letter in which they state that “the Government has pending work concerning the originary communities, and must acknowledge in the shorterm the history, culture, religion and langugae, which are, among others, the great contributions of the Mapuche community, and it is this acknowledgement that will allow the tearing down of barriers raised for centuries, dividing the people of our country, to continue”
Here is the full version of the letter:
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
To the public opinion, to our brothers and sisters in faith and to all men and women of good will.
The Chilean Methodist Church has since its beginnings a relationship marked by respect, recongition, closeness and service towards the originary communities. In the South of the country, we have made ourselves present since 1839, the time when Reverend Juan Canuts of Bon first maintained dialogue with brothers and sisters of the Araucania, and which originated the work of our church in education, servicie and evangelization in such territories. From this historical point of view, our evangelic calling and our commitment with the civil community, we state:
Life in the regions of the Araucania and Bio-Bio has historically been tained by an air of belicosity and death, as a result of the injustice, inequality, and racism that show in different ways. These factors are clear proof of our society’s selfishness that cannnot be allowed to deepen. From the point of view of our faith we stand for Jesus’ words: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) and from the biblical language, the word Shalom, which means peace, and from the Mapuche word Kemelen, which means being happy, joy, wellness, beatitudes, being at peace with everyone.
Considering the message of the Kingdom of God, incarnated in Jesus (Luke 4:18-21), we announce that violence opposes the divine project, and therefore, we denounce and we oppose every form it takes.
Especially, and regretting the suffering of the victims, we insist on declaring that racism, discrimination, the violation of fundamental rights, the lack of dialogue, the disrespect the Mapuche community is enduring, and any action that damages human integrity, constitute a sin.
The Government has pending work concerning the originary communities, and must acknowledge in the shorterm the history, culture, religion and langugae, which are, among others, the great contributions of the Mapuche community, , and it is this acknowledgement that will allow the tearing down of barriers raised for centuries, dividing the people of our country, to continue.
We encourage the Government to comply thoroughly with the conventions agreed to throughout history on indigenous matters, in particular:
- To respect the Human Rights Letter of the UN and the American Convention on Huamn Rights.
- To undertake actions in the implementation of the principles outlined in the UN Declaration of Indigenous Communities Rights, to which Chile gave its favourable vote in the General Assembly
- To strictly fulfill the duties stemming from the 169 Convention of the ILO, with the goal of moving on to a process of peace, reconciliation, justice, reparation and constitutional acknowledgement, according to historical international agreements.
As methodists, we cannot be indiferent and deny a reality just before our eyes. We invite every Christian and people of good will, to join God in prayer for the situation affecting the Araucania region.
We give our word of our commitment to be a prophetic and united community, and are willing to offer ourselves as mediators, along with other participants, in this conflict, in the diligent search for peace and justice
Pastor Felipe Rojas C.
President of MISOM
Reverend. Jorge Merino R. OBishop of IMECH
Translation: Camila Llobet, Freelance Translator.