Under the theme Our Journey with Jesus Christ, the Reconciler, the four-day programme of the gathering was designed on the basis of the experience of previous Forum meetings. It consisted of an introduction to the history, purpose and process of the Global Christian Forum and the sharing of faith journeys on the first day, followed by two days focussing on the discernment of what God is doing in the churches and organizations, and a final day of conclusions and some actions.
Each day began and ended with a time of prayer led by different traditions represented in the meeting. Bible studies in small groups took place on the mornings of the second, third and last day. The opening session on the first day was organized by the local hosting committee and was marked by moments of lively Kenyan worship. The gathering ended with a closing celebration prepared and led by a group of participants.
The participants were welcomed on behalf of the Kenyan churches by Rev. Judy Mbugua, Kenyan member of the Continuation Committee, member of the local committee and team leader of the Association of Evangelicals of Africa. The Rev. Canon Peter Karanja, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya delivered a reflection. The meeting received greetings from the Rev. Mvume Dandala, general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches and at a later time from the Rt. Rev. Philippe Anyolo of the Kenyan Episcopal Conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Middle East Council of Churches. Mgr. Jack Radano of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity paid a tribute to George Vandervelde, former member of the Continuation Committee who died in January 2007.
Three plenary speakers addressed the gathering. Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches spoke « words of encouragement » inviting the participants to take the risk of working together. He stressed the unprecedented breadth of the event and shared his own faith journey. Pentecostal theologians Wonsuk Ma (Korea) and Cheryl Johns (USA) presented papers on questions of unity and mission which have been the issues at the centre of the Global Christian Forum process from the beginning.
Both speakers were stimulating and provocative. Wonsuk Ma pointed to the contradictions between what he typified the life-before-death emphasis and the life-after-death emphasis which have separated the ‘mainline’ and ‘evangelical’ approaches to mission. Taking his personal faith story as an illustration, he affirmed that the two approaches are actually complementary and one is never complete without the other. Cheryl Johns stressed that the old ‘mainstream’ ecumenical paradigm is dying and that nothing less than a re-birth of ecumenism is needed to embrace the challenges of the new faces, the different worldviews and the new voices of non-Western Christianity. Those wishing to create a new space for Christian unity, she said, need to undergo a process of conversion and all of us from the North, the South, the East and the West need to die to old assumptions regarding each other. These presentations sparked off animated discussions in the groups.
Explanatory note: This document was developed through discussions between leaders of the Orthodox Churches, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Evangelical and Pentecostal movements, the World Council of Churches and the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions, and affirmed at the meeting of the Global Christian Forum, in Limuru from 6 to 9 November 2007.
The Guiding Purpose Statement above repeats the language of the Provisional Purpose Statement adopted in Pasadena in 2002.