This year will be the 5th Annual Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace from Modderpoort to Morija. The Executive Committee of the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) and the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation are pleased to announce that the event will take place 21-25 October 2019. All are invited to participate.
The pilgrimage from Modderpoort to Morija was founded in response to the World Council of Churches’ plea in 2013 for its member churches to advocate for peace and justice in their respective countries. Their goal was to spread awareness that Christians all over the world face adversity such as climate change, social and economic injustice, and violence which forces them to flee from their homes. In response to such challenges to health and well-being, Christians everywhere are called to both empathise with those who suffer and actively promote peace and justice. LECSA Moderator, Rev. Tšeliso Simeone Masemene, and his colleagues attended the World Council of Churches seminar in 2013 in Busan, South Korea and were moved by this message. Lesotho as a nation is not immune to such issues as political instability, especially after elections, which causes unrest, and, in the worst cases, people to flee for their lives. For this reason, in 2014 pastors and their spouses organised a pilgrimage from Matsieng to Morija as way to bring people together to pray for peace, and take steps to feel with those who experience hardship.
The following year, studies were made of the path that the first missionaries took when they arrived in Lesotho. After mapping their route, it was decided that the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace would become a reenactment of their journey. In 1833, Moshoeshoe the Great sent his warriors with cattle from Thaba-Bosiu to Lekhalo la Bo Tau (Modderpoort) to fetch the three missionaries sent by the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society. From Modderpoort they moved northwards until they crossed Ha Fusi. Then they trekked southwards until they reached Phomolong, where Phomolong LECSA is situated. The following day they travelled until they reached Thaba-Bosiu. The work done by the three missionaries was tremendous. They were eventually given land at Morija, which became the headquarters of the church later known as LECSA. Thus, in 2015 the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace from Modderpoort to Morija was born; each year since pilgrims trek commemoratively in the footsteps of the first missionaries.
The Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is gaining momentum due to the widespread violence and injustice that many experience. People from all walks of life feel called to join the pilgrimage where they walk and pray for the whole week as a proactive response to such suffering. Many times, the pilgrims eat food which is given by villagers as they pass by. They sleep in schools that may not be comfortable. Their aim is to feel and share the pain of people who are forced to leave their homes due to war, political instability or economic hardship, and violence. People joining the pilgrimage do not come from LECSA only. Some come from different local churches and others internationally. Paramedics’ services are provided for those who might get injuries.
The Moderator of LECSA and the Executive Committee together with the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation wishes everybody better life to start this year’s pilgrimage. This year makes five years since the pilgrimage started. In 2017 there were 250 pilgrims, while the following year the number increased to 305. The oldest person who started the journey last year was 92 years old; he managed to finish the journey without any problem. Some people will be participating in the pilgrimage for a 5th time. We congratulate such great efforts. Please, come and join us in October!