UNDER the theme Life Together in Jesus Christ, Empowered by the Holy Spirit almost 300 denominational and ecumenical leaders from more than 60 countries convened in Manado, Indonesia, for the Second Global Gathering of the Global Christian Forum (GCF).
The GCF uniquely brings together all the great streams of modern Christian faith: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and many contemplative communities. Leaders from the World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance and the Pentecostal World Fellowship also joined the proceedings.
The purpose of the GCF is 'to create an open space wherein representatives from a broad range of Christian churches and inter-church organisations, which confess the triune God and Jesus Christ as perfect in his divinity and humanity, can gather to foster mutual respect, to explore and address together common challenges'. All GCF gatherings include 'shared stories' in which delegates can relate in small and large group settings the work of the Holy Spirit individually and within a community of faith.
The Salvation Army has been an active contributor to the GCF since its inception 12 years ago and was represented at this gathering by Lieut-Colonel Richard Munn (Secretary for International Ecumenical Relations) and Major Sasmoko Hertjahjo (Indonesia Territory)
The gathering assessed and reported the recent significant demographic shifts in world Christianity. It is apparent that the centre of gravity of the church is shifting away from the old heartland of Europe to the global south. Pentecostalism continues to grow and is affecting many of the churches belonging to the historic traditions. New, non-denominational forms are emerging.
Representatives from many diverse denominations and traditions participated. Contributions ranged from a report on the growth of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church in Albania to a history of Catholic charismatic renewal.
Future long-range guidelines for the GCF were established, including the summary acclamation that 'while the fact that Christian churches are divided causes no small amount of pain and struggle, we do not doubt it is the will of God in Christ that we be one'.
For more information on the Global Christian Forum go to www.globalchristianforum.org
Report by Lieut-Colonel Richard Munn