Dr Thomas Schirrmacher delivers the message of Bishop Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance to the GCF Third Global Gathering. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC
Bishop Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, sent his greetings to the participants of the Global Christian Forum’s Third Global Gathering in Bogota, Colombia.
Delivered by Dr Thomas Schirrmacher, WEA Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns, Bp Tendero expressed his appreciation for the GCF, describing it as “a precious gift from God to all of us at the WEA”.
He reaffirmed WEA’s support for its continuation into the future.
Serving a constituency of some 600 million evangelicals around the world in 129 nations, WEA is one of the founding members of the GCF and is considered one of the four “pillar organizations” together with the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and the Pentecostal World Fellowship.
With the GCF’s global gathering held in the Americas and in a Spanish-speaking country for the first time, Tendero thanked the hosting churches in Colombia for their generosity and hospitality.
He expressed his hope that “this Global Gathering will build stronger connections between the Latin American Church and the worldwide family of believers.”
Referring to the gathering’s theme “Let Mutual Love Continue” taken from the Biblical passage in Hebrews 13:1, Tendero commented: “We take seriously Jesus’ call to mutual love and unity among all who recognize him as Savior, but we also know that we must avoid compromises that would undermine our faith.”
He went on to affirm that “the GCF is a place where we can go with confidence, knowing that our collaboration with brothers and sisters from church bodies around the world will uphold the historic truths of the Christian faith and will strengthen God’s kingdom on earth.
“May the sharing of your respective faith journeys mutually encourage and edify each other and enrich our appreciation and respect for one another.”
One of the most significant recent gatherings of the GCF was held in Tirana, Albania on the topic of discrimination, persecution, and martyrdom where there were prayers and solidarity in the face of religious persecution.
There was also an expression of apologies and repentance for times when Christians of different traditions have persecuted each other.
“We saw the GCF’s unique effectiveness in bringing together believers of many traditions at the powerful 2015 Tirana conference on the persecution of Christians.
“The GCF has helped us raise worldwide awareness of this crucial concern. It has enabled us to achieve consensus and collaboration on key issues while providing a platform for us to openly discuss sensitive matters, such as the current GCF process on proselytism,” Tendero noted.
He acknowledged the leadership transition taking place at this year’s gathering in Bogota with Rev. Dr Larry Miller handing over the role of GCF Secretary to Rev. Dr Casely Essamuah, a Ghanaian evangelical pastor who has served in the United States for the past 13 years.
“We are deeply grateful for the service that Larry Miller has provided as GCF Secretary for the last six years. With grace, respectfulness, and responsiveness, he has achieved amazing things and made enormous contributions to the GCF’s effectiveness. Larry, the WEA will miss you very much! We wish Larry Godspeed in his next steps and look forward to being equally blessed by the service of incoming Secretary Casely Essamuah,” Tendero said.