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Carrying women's stories of survival and hope

Carrying women’s stories of survival and hope, Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance makes its way to WCC 11th Assembly. Photo courtesy of WCC.
Carrying women’s stories of survival and hope, Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance makes its way to WCC 11th Assembly. Photo courtesy of WCC.

There are 181 blocks—and every single one tells a story. Arranged in colorful strips that flow like liquid, they will gently move when people pass by them at the World Council of Churches (WCC) 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe.

The World Council of Churches is an ecumenical partner supported by the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund apportionment, which enables United Methodists to share a presence and a voice in the activities of several national and worldwide ecumenical organizations.

The Thursdays in Black Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance is a tapestry crafted by women across the world who continue to hope for a world free from rape and violence.

Illustration of the "Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance". Credit: Jane Clark. 
Illustration of the "Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance". Credit: Jane Clark.

One block depicts a woman with a zipper for a mouth, expressing her reaction to psychological violence and control experienced at home.

Another block has the wishful words “Safe Space for Everyone.” Other blocks promote the Thursdays in Black global campaign for a violence-free world. Some squares depict women crying. Others read “Hope” or “Courage.”

Together, they say: “Enough! Basta!”

These visual utterances are the frontispiece for deeper stories, some told and some never told, yet they are happening around the world. As Brazilian artist Janine Marja Schneider sewed them together, she hoped the finished Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance will make a powerful, international statement of a global commitment to end rape and violence.

Tapestry artist Janine Marja Schneider sews regret, hope, and love into “Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance.” Photo courtesy of WCC. 
Tapestry artist Janine Marja Schneider sews regret, hope, and love into “Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance.” Photo courtesy of WCC.

Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance are communities and individuals of all faiths where none are invited to make a powerful, international statement of their commitment to end rape and violence through contributing to a large tapestry exhibit was developed by the World Council of Churches for its Assembly, 31 August-8 September 2022.

After the assembly, it will be displayed at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva and other prominent locations.

Schneider said she was deeply moved by all those who shared their stories of survival through crafting squares for the tapestry. “I thank of each one of you who have gone through violence or have seen a loved one go through violence,” she said. “We want a different world. This is indeed a long journey towards a world without gender-based violence and femicide. The waterfall is one step forward that might bring small and important changes.”

The tapestry is designed as a waterfall with messages and images from around the world. In addition to the WCC Assembly, it is intended to be displayed at other prominent locations, from the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva to the United Nations in New York.

The waterfall is based on the Thursdays in Black design, with the pilgrimage lines in white and purple.

World Council of Churches website

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund enables United Methodists to share a presence and a voice in the activities of several national and worldwide ecumenical organizations. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund apportionment at 100 percent.