A unique gathering of the leaders reflecting the breadth and depth of world Christianity will begin in Indonesia beginning tomorrow, 4 October. The Global Christian Forum (GCF) meeting at Manado on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi will bring together all the great streams of modern Christian faith: Anglican, Charismatic, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Protestant, Roman Catholic, mega churches and many contemplative communities.
The meeting comes at a time of dramatic shifts in world Christianity. The last two decades have seen the majority of Christians living in the ‘global south’, while much institutional strength for traditional Christianity remains in Europe and North America, but with declining church attendances. In what is only the second such Global Christian Forum gathering – the first being in Kenya in 2007- the GCF will have over 300 representatives from every continent on the globe and every Christian tradition from 81 countries.
Coming together in unprecedented numbers and variety, leaders representing 12 world Christian communions and 9 global ecumenical organizations, including the World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance and the Pentecostal World Fellowship, will sit side by side with national councils of churches, evangelical organizations and mega church leaders from around the world. The Vatican will be represented through representative of the Pontifical Council for Promotion of Christian Unity. The Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventists, Society of Friends and Syrian Orthodox Church leaders will all be there.
Meeting around the theme ‘Life Together in Jesus Christ, Empowered by the Holy Spirit’, the church leaders will explore ‘what the Spirit is saying to the churches’ today. Each participant will tell the story of what is happening in their own context. Members of the convention will also discuss the future directions of the GCF, which has always maintained non-institutional structures and practice. To complete the picture there will be a sessions on ‘trends and changes in world Christianity and sharing of statistical research complied through the Atlas of Global Christianity.
The global changes in Christianity is one of the reasons why Indonesia was chosen as the venue of the 2nd Global Christian Forum, as it is the world’s largest Muslim nation but with significant religious diversity, including a large Christian population. The worship life of the gathering will reflect the various traditions of delegates. It will be facilitated of Father Ghislain, from the Taize community in France.