*By Claus Grue
On 14 February, the Global Christian Forum Committee concluded a fruitful five-day meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where priorities were carved out and future directions of the network outlined.
With a clear focus on youth, regional consultations, strategic communications and team visits where leaders of ecumenism are gathered, the new Global Christian Forum secretary Rev. Dr Casely Essamuah is confident about the potential of the network as a facilitator of encounter and an agent for change.
”We have gone through a period of transition and have now taken significant steps towards a common understanding of where we are going and how to get there. Clearly, professional communications will play a critical role in our ability to engage people and deliver what is expected of us. We bring back plenty of food-for thought from this meeting, where we also have identified issues which need further discussion”, he explains.
One such issue is identifying target groups and audiences. Another is finding ways to communicate stories. Regional consultations emerged as a core issue, which led to the formation of a task force to pursue one such consultation in Asia next year.
”I am content with what we have accomplished at this meeting and how everyone has contributed with their own knowledge and understanding of regional contexts. Also, the workshop, where WCC communications shared its expertise, provided new insights and raised pertinent issues for further contemplation”, Essamuah says.
He serves a network relying on four pillars: Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, World Evangelical Alliance, Pentecostal World Fellowship, and World Council of Churches (WCC).
”This is a stable foundation which allows us to reach out to a broader representation of the global Christian family”, Essamuah points out.
Being a network, the Global Christian Forum realizes that it operates under different circumstances than an institution. It has to constantly justify its existence by initiating high-value consultations and inter-church gatherings where fresh ideas are tested and creative thinking can flourish.
”We offer a neutral platform, where people have the opportunity to meet peers they probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. We bring people together and initiate new dialogues”, Essamuah explains.
After his first Global Christian Forum Committee meeting since he was appointed secretary last year, he is humbled by the strong support from his fellow committee members and inspired by the constructive discussions taking place in the team.
”I am indeed grateful to be serving in this arena and I am leaving Kuala Lumpur in a very good and hopeful mood. Not only did we have a productive meeting, we have enjoyed the hospitality of Rev. Dr Prince Guneratnam and his team at the Calvary Church, who helped us organize things and took extremely well care of us. We all highly appreciate that”, Essamuah concludes.
*Claus Grue is a communication consultant for the World Council of Churches