Global gathering mourns, repents and reconciles

The rain came with a cool breeze, driving humid heat out the open church windows. So began “That the World May Know” (John 17:23), the fourth Global Gathering of the Global Christian Forum (GCF) in Accra, Ghana.  

The gathering 16-19 April 2024 marked the 25th anniversary of the Global Christian Forum. This is unique space for all major streams of Christianity to be together for encounter and prayer. Today, the GCF reflects the movement of the majority of churches from the Global North to the Global South. 

A communiqué written by a group of eight representatives summarized the event.  

“To share our personal stories is to witness to the resurrection of Christ together. These stories act as bridges that help to foster mutual respect and embrace diversity by recognising Christ in the other,” the GCF communiqué says. 

Faith and Life Commission member Anne-Cathy Graber represented Mennonite World Conference at the Forum. “It’s an honour to contribute to the third part of MWC’s mission to ‘relate to other Christian world communions’ by participating in this global gathering,” she says. “We pray that the world may know we are Christ’s disciples through our unity lived out through gatherings like these.” 

Anne-Cathy Graber represents Mennonite World Conference at the Global Christian Forum
Anne-Cathy Graber represents Mennonite World Conference at the Global Christian Forum. Photo: Comfort Woode

Broken in humanity 

The Forum included a pilgrimage to Cape Coast Castle where millions of African men, women, and children were kept in dungeons until loaded on ships that would take them to the Americas, Caribbean and Europe as objects of trade. In the church building above the dark stifling space, blessings had been invoked for the ships that carried captives away. 

Story sharing throughout the Forum told of continuing dehumanisation across the world today. Following the castle visit, participants worshipped in Wesley Methodist Cathedral, calling for lamentation, healing and reconciliation. 

“We are empowered by the Spirit to act for the restoration of the world. As the broken yet reconciling Body of Christ, we can clearly hear the voice of the Shepherd who heals all wounds,” declares the GCF communiqué. “The church must raise its prophetic voice.” 

The very first youth gathering in GCF’s history preceded the main Forum from 13-15 April 2024. The diversity and vision of the young adults gave energy to their own conversations about justice, hope and reconciliation. 

Traditional Ghanaian drummers provide welcome music as delegates arrive for the Global Christian Forum in Ghana. 
A procession of flags from participating countries is headed by a Ghanaian-style cross.  
A Glimpse of the Fourth Global Gathering

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