The Global Christian Forum aims to create a place, independent of existing structures, for the growing unity of the global church.The concept of a new, independent space was first proposed by Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, at that time General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. It was entrusted to an autonomous Continuation Committee, which since 1998 has convened various meetings in order to refine and advance this vision.
The Global Christian Forum Story and Vision
Following smaller gatherings, an International Consultation was held at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, USA, in September 2000, and another in June 2002. The latter brought together almost 60 participants from Catholic, Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental), Anglican, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Holiness and African Instituted churches, and from a number of international Christian organisations, many representing Evangelical and Pentecostal constituencies.
People came from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. They developed a provisional Purpose Statement, describing the scope and objectives that the Forum might pursue (now called the Guiding Purpose Statement).
Based on the previous consultations, contacts and discussions between 1998 and 2002, the Continuation Committee developed a four-year plan. A series of Consultations in the major regions of the world over the period 2004 – 2007 brought an increasingly widening circle of people to the table.
2004 - 2007
The regional consultations took place in Asia (Hong Kong, from 30 April to 4 May 2004), Africa (Lusaka, Zambia from 9 to 13 August 2005), Europe (Warburg, Germany from 19 to 22 June 2006), and in Latin America (Santiago, Chile from 26 to 29 June 2007). Each one was placed under the theme of Our Journey with Jesus Christ and was attended by some 60 participants from all parts of the region and all parts of Christ’s body.
For many it was their first-ever experience of encounter with some Christian traditions other than their own. In the words of a Pentecostal participant in the Africa meeting: “This has been a beautiful opportunity for churches that have been marginalized to be given the possibility to speak.”
This process made it possible to call together a truly representative global gathering of Christian leaders in November 2007.
“History made at Global Forum,” “Historic Breakthrough,” and “New Day for Evangelicals in World Christianity” were among the titles of press releases reporting on the Global Forum event that took place on 6 – 9 November at Jumuia Conference and Country Home in Limuru, near Nairobi, Kenya. It was the culmination of the nine-year process that began in 1998. As planned, it brought together over 230 leaders of all the main Christian traditions from all parts of the world.
They strongly affirmed the ‘compelling vision’ of the Global Christian Forum, approved a set of Proposals for the Future of the Forum and issued a Message to all brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world.
The list of participating Churches, church families and organisations at the end of the Message reflects the unprecedented breadth of representation of the event. (The full list of participants, the Message, other documents from the event, and proposals made at this event for the continuation of the Global Christian Forum can be found on our Limuru 2007 page.)
Regional and sub-regional meetings
The second round of consultations and regional/sub-regional meetings took place between 2008 and 2010, before the Manado Global Gathering in 2011.
Consultation on 3 Year Program
New Delhi, India from 8 to 11 November 2008 Purpose: Participants identified key objectives for the next 3 years.
Middle East Team Visit
Egypt, Lebanon and Syria from 20 to 30 June 2009 – A team of Committee members and some representatives from these three countries visit the region where no consultation had previously taken place.
Africa Regional Meeting
near Accra, Ghana from 16 to 20 November 2009
Nordic-Baltic Sub-regional Meeting
Lathi, Netherlands from 28 to 30 September 2010
Asia Regional Meeting
Seoul, Korea from 12 to 16 November 2010
Latin America Regional Meeting
San José, Costa Rica from 23 to 25 November 2010
One of the commitments made in both Limuru and Manado was for the Global Christian Forum to provide a means of “addressing common challenges” for the global church. After careful deliberation by committee over many months, a challenge was identified: the persecution of Christians. A historic global consultation eventually took place in Tirana, Albania (2-4 November, 2015) with great consideration for the diversity of Christian backgrounds, the safety of participants, and the voices of “suffering churches” being well represented.
The Report of the Global Consultation (Tirana, Albania, 2015) is called Discrimination, Persecution, and Martyrdom: Following Christ Together, and is available for download.
Regional consultations & sub-regional meetings
Several more consultations and regional/sub-regional meetings took place between 2012 and 2017.
The Pentecostal Forum of Latin America and the Caribbean: Southern Cone Meeting (Santiago, Chile from 13 to 15 November 2012), Andean Sub-regional Meeting (Bogotá, Colombia from 15 to 17 October 2013), Central America and the Caribbean Sub-regional Meeting (Pachuca, Mexico from 30 September to 2 October 2014), Brazil Sub-regional Meeting (Sao Paulo, Brazil from 27 to 29 May 2015), and the Continental Meeting (Panama, from 21 to 23 November 2016).
Purpose: To extend relationships between Pentecostals and other Christians.
The third GCF Global Gathering took place April 23 – 28, 2018 in Bogotá, Colombia, on the theme, ‘Let mutual love continue’ (Hebrews 13:1).
The Third Global Gathering brought together over 250 church leaders reflecting the breadth and depth of world Christianity.
With a 50:50 ratio between “older” churches (Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican) and “younger” churches (Evangelical, Pentecostal, Independent). At least half of the participant were attending a Global Christian Forum gathering for the first time.
This was the first GCF global gathering to take place on the South American continent and the first in a Spanish-speaking nation.
GCF Asia Regional 2022
Convened by the Global Christian Forum with the aim “to foster mutual respect and to address common challenges together”, a group met at Myungsung Church, Seoul, Korea, on 14 – 16 October 2022. Participants included representatives of the four pillars of the GCF (World Council of Churches, Roman Catholic Church (through the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity), Pentecostal World Fellowship and World Evangelical Alliance), along with church leaders from across Asia, local leaders from Korea and committee members from ecumenical organisations, who gathered to discern together their common witness in the diversity of Asian contexts. Do not fear, or be afraid;have I not told you from of old and declared it?You are my witnesses!Isaiah 44:8 And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.Acts 1:8
We thank God for the opportunity to be in fellowship, to share our journeys of faith and to learn together about Christian witness in Asian contexts. In a spirit of prayerful trust, we explored some of the challenges to our witness and those things that keep us from being united. We left Seoul with deep gratitude for the gracious hospitality of our hosts, deeply encouraged by the opening dinner that brought together local church leaders and representatives of the government. We hope that this 1st GCF Asian Consultation will inspire more intense collaboration of churches of different traditions in the many contexts of this region.