Evaluation of the Global Christian Forum 1998 – 2007
by FIET Theological Institute, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Excerpt of the Report, pages 8 to 10, Recommendations and Opinions
The Forum should maintain a simple functioning structure.
The Forum should work on a communication strategy to make its existence and vision known.
The Forum should focus on how to extend its vision in a practical and concrete way.
These are the opinions and recommendations from leaders all over Latin America.
It is still premature to make predictions regarding the impact of the GCF.
It is clear that the GCF is an effort to generate a new mode of articulation for dialogue among Christians.
The good thing is that it does not attempt to become institutionalized but rather to build a meeting space.
It has strengthened the vision of a healthy, inclusive ecumenism.
We need that leaders and congregations take part in this kind of forums.
The GCF should propose for itself the goal of overcoming the exclusions and accusations Christians hurl at each other.
The existence of the Forum does not seem too defined yet; it appears rather like an event and not an ongoing process.
The Forum should be a center of permanent analysis of social, political and economic changes that are produced on a global level and their incidence in the life and the mission of Christian churches.
From what standpoint do we define “unity”? In some Latin American countries, Catholicism carried out a persecution against Protestants/Evangelicals. In some contexts, Catholics are anti-Evangelical and vice-versa. Therefore these projects are for us very difficult to carry out.
The Forum is welcome to strengthen the forces and strategies in mission.
RECOMMENDATION AND IMPLICATION FOR THE FUTURE
As every effort that comes “from above”, it has the task of “weeding out” efforts to find grassroots motivation. Events are the product of effort from above, but processes are the result of efforts from below.
It is important to hold seminars aimed at channeling information and generating plurality spaces with a view to diverse kinds of needs we Christians face.
The GCF should promote sharing pulpits, teaching, engaging in unity projects.
What we would like to put forward is that there is little participation of indigenous (Indian peoples) churches in these spaces. The GCF should have a more proactive attitude toward those sectors.
We are not interested in taking part in spaces with very rigid organizations or in many institutional aspects. We are rather interested in a network.
We must advance in unity of the Spirit and in love, without entering into details in doctrine.
The GCF must show that it is an excellent space to extend global relations among Christians.
The activities of the GCF should not be circumscribed to one or two events a year; there is a need to find a way to give it more continuity.
The GCF must avoid the temptation of creating a very large and scarcely operative structure.
The GCF must continue with a global coordination team such as the current one to simplify actions avoiding excessive bureaucracy and facilitating a more direct contact.
Progress must be made in the inclusion of more churches and organizations.
The Forum should affect the national church leadership.
We must continue along the road started by the GCF to overcome the lack of understanding that has characterized the Christian churches in their relationship among them.
There is a need to get past the dialogue and work in church structures, transcending them towards the heart of congregations.
The GCF must find ways of generating theological reflection in the face of national level issues.
It will be vital to maintain continuity in news, reports, communications and activities.
It is necessary to progress in micro and regional level processes attempting to include churches still not participating.
It would be important to organize meetings by countries.
Participant organisms should take on a leading role in spreading the news of the Forum nationally.
In order for the churches to reflect the agenda of the Forum there should be a greater personal commitment on the part of the participants.
A greater dissemination of the results of the Forum and events should be aimed at.
As a result of the evaluation made among Forum participants, non-participants and church leaders of Latin America, we can say that:
All accept the vision of the Forum.
There is no opposition to the Forum.
We do not see that the Forum has affected churches yet.
Everybody agrees that no superstructure should be created but rather a sufficiently structure to enable objectives to be fulfilled.
The Forum needs a more decisive attitude to make itself known and become part of the attempts of national and continental unity.