Delegates at the global Christian forum during one of the panel sessions
Delegates at the global Christian forum during one of the panel sessions

Christians urged to eschew divisiveness

A three-day conference, which brought together various religious groups across the globe to explore and foster mutual respect among religious denominations has ended in Accra.


Known as the Global Christian Forum (GCF), the gathering was also to address common challenges facing the Christian denomination through regional meetings and other consultations.

As part of the activities for the conference, the delegates held Bible presentations, prayed and engaged in panel discussions.  They also embarked on a road trip to the Cape Coast Castle as a form of pilgrimage.


The modern ecumenical movement has come a long way since its beginnings in the early part of the 20th century. Many churches have now moved beyond their historical divisions into new relationships of trust, cooperation and communion.

However, many churches and Christian communities continue to live in isolation from one another. Some have not found it necessary to come closer to traditions that differ from their own, while others have been unable to find opportunities to engage with others or have felt excluded and rejected.

The GCF, which more or less constitutes four pillars and six streams that is the Roman Catholic delegation, the World Council of Churches, the Pentecostal World Fellowship, the World Evangelical Alliance and representatives from the Orthodox Church, therefore, seeks to offer new opportunities for broadening and deepening encounters, especially to promote new relationships between and among Christian constituencies.

United front

The General Secretary of the GCF, Rev. Dr Casely Essamuah, in an address, said the GCF was focused on creating open spaces where trust and mutual respect could grow among various parts of the global Christian community which had been estranged, alienated and divided from one another.

“We all come from our various denominations, we all come from our traditions, our nationalities and our ethnicities and we bring to this table the gifts of our gospel witness from our various contests.

“We come first to listen to one another and create space for an encounter so that we can discover Christ in one another and one another in Christ,” Rev. Essamuah added. Rev. Essamuah said the “diversity of our cultural expressions of Christianity through the centuries is on full display at our gathering.”

That, he said, fostered the foundation for unity which he described as a gift of the spirit of God.

Mission growth

In a sermon at a church service to end the conference, the Moderator of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in South Africa, the Rt Rev. Lydia Neshangwe, stressed the need for unity of purpose particularly when the spirit of conspiracy and competition was so pervasive and permeating every aspect of life and even in churches.

“Opposites are polarising, opposites are diverging, opposites are dividing instead of attracting in the way that the Holy Spirit can do and so our inactions are done to one another,” she added, saying the healing that was needed, as well as the justice and the repair, must come from one another.

Rev. Neshangwe, therefore, urged the participants to go beyond the GCF and work with people with other backgrounds and differences. She further urged the forum to use their differences not to divide but to grow the mission of God in quantity and quality.

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