The second worldwide gathering of the Global Christian Forum took place on Sulawesi, Indonesia, from 4 to 7 October 2011. For the World Council of Churches, the Forum is an opportunity to make contact with Pentecostal churches and the Evangelical movement. The Vatican is also involved, which means that over 90% of Christian churches were represented at the global gathering.
The aim of the Forum is to create an open space where Christians from a very broad range of churches, communities and ecumenical organisations can meet to share their faith, learn to respect one another, and identify and tackle challenges together. In the light of such wide diversity, the discussions can of course be challenging in themselves. Deep differences at various levels and, in some cases, a lack of ability to question one’s own views, often make it difficult to achieve truly open dialogue. A long learning process is needed to reach this goal.
The second global gathering focused on two main points. First, the participants explored the major changes in the Christian world. Given that the southern hemisphere now has more Christians than the northern hemisphere, the focus moved southwards. The Christian faith has become a truly global religion in our time.
Second, the growth of the Pentecostal churches and charismatic movements in the last 100 years was discussed. The brightness of the paintings in the churches is enlivened by the blazing colours of the flame of the Holy Spirit.
According to the closing statement, such gatherings are a sign of hope in a world of increasing disunity. The participants experienced this at first hand and returned home inspired to bridge the differences in their own countries.
The Union of Utrecht is invited to the Global Christian Forum on account of its ecumenical relations and activities. As a result, we are expected not only to follow the developments in the ecumenical movement, but to help to build them.
The Union of Utrecht was represented at the gathering by Archbishop Joris Vercammen.
Amersfoort, 11 October 2011