Global Christian Forum ends in Accra 
Global Christian Forum ends in Accra 
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Global Christian Forum ends in Accra 

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

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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.

The General Secretary of the GCF, Rev Dr Casely Essamuah, who made this known said, the GCF was focused on creating open spaces where trust and mutual respect could grow between 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 each other and creating space for encounter so that we can discover Christ in each other and each other in Christ,” Rev Essamuah added.

 Background

Presently, Christians from different traditions increasingly encounter and engage with one another. They meet across denominational, regional, national, ethnic and cultural boundaries.

In many places, for instance, members of different churches and inter-church organisations are coming together over shared concerns, such as social and ethical questions, secularisation, or the challenges of minority status or persecution.

The modern ecumenical movement has come a long way since its beginnings in the early part of the 20th century. Many churches have now been enabled to move 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 for engaging 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, World Council of Churches, Pentecostal World Fellowship, World Evangelical Alliance and representatives from the Orthodox Church, therefore seeks to offer new opportunities for broadening and deepening encounters most especially to promote new relationships between and among Christian constituencies.

The delegates as part of the conference held bible presentations, prayed and engaged in panel discussions. They also embarked on a road trip to Cape Coast castle as a form of pilgrimage.

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. 

Sermon

In a sermon, the Moderator of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in South Africa, 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, opposities are dividing instead of attracting in the way that the Holy Spirit can do and so our own 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 GCF and work with people with other backgrounds and differences.

Focusing on the book of  Acts chapter 13, Rev Neshangwe said, the same irreconcilable differences between Barnabas and Saul could be found among ecumenical bodies such as the GCF.

She said Barnabas was a seasoned believer and Saul was a newcomer so there was bound to be historical and experienced clashes as it happened in denominations and in churches.

She, however, remanded the conference that they are stronger together and urged them to continue to create and adopt that kind of strategy.

Rev Neshangwe further urged the forum to use their differences not to divide but to grow the mission of God in quantity and in quality as Barnabas and Saul eventually did together.

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