The Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) coming to Africa in 2018 is timely and a blessing to the continent. Christian religion is booming like never before in Africa and it is a time for different denominations to see themselves as one.
Having had an ecumenical training in the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, where thirty-five theologians from over twenty countries and over thirty Christian denominations shared the experiences of their faith, I see GETI as an opportunity for Christians and theologians especially in Africa to share in the unity of the body of Christ. GETI promises even better experience as young theologians from all over the world will gather in Arusha, Tanzania for a short-term study and exposure programme in accompaniment of the World Mission Conference.
GETI gives theologians and other interested Christians the opportunity to see God with other people’s lenses, it enables one to appreciate God like never before, as you reflect on other people's experiences. I cannot fully express how it feels for Christians and theologians from different countries and religious affiliation to live together, eat together, pray together and share their experiences and motivations.
Christianity is growing rapidly in African and GETI coming to the African Continent is an experience that African theologians should embrace.
Ecumenism in the 21st century aims at the prayer of Jesus Christ in the gospel of John’ “that they might be one even as I and the father is one.” This unity is not a structural unity but that we may see and appreciate God and the love of Christ in each other.
We are living in a multi-religious world which has been more problematic than it is a blessing. Even as it is, Christians are more divided among themselves than they are divided from the people of other faiths, yet when Christian are persecuted they are persecuted not as a particular denomination but as simply Christians. If we must live in peace with people of other faiths we must first learn to live in peace with our fellow Christians.
Africans need to seize this wonderful opportunity of GETI to share with the world their religious heritage, faith and experiences. The church of Christ needs ecumenical fellowship now more than ever.