Delegates of Synod 2017 learned about the work of Global Christian Forum (GCF) from David Han on Tuesday. (Synod is the annual leadership meeting of the Christian Reformed Church.)
The CRC is a member of GCF. The organization’s purpose is to bring together a broad range of Christian denominations and ecumenical organizations from around the world to address common challenges.
The forum gathers top leaders of denominations in the three main strands of the Christian church worldwide: Catholics, evangelicals, and Pentecostals, according to Han. They meet every five to seven years at a global summit. They also convene church leaders in regional summits, most recently in the Middle East and Latin America.
At the 2012-13 GCF summit, leaders identified two key challenges to the church worldwide: persecution and the perception that some churches are proselytizing from other denominations.
In response to the issue of persecution, GCF held “a global consultation of 150 church leaders, half of whom were leaders of churches suffering persecution and the other half leaders of churches and agencies in solidarity with them.
“It was the first time in the modern history of the church that a gathering consisting of nearly all streams of global Christianity coalesced around the issue of persecution of Christians,” said Han.
The forum has also “encourage[d] work on reconciliation and ‘healing of memories’ between churches and communities which have experienced tension and pain due to conflicting perspectives and practices on mission and evangelism.”
Synod’s first clerk, Rudy Gonzalez, led prayer for Han and his work. “Father, we can say it is only by the power of your hand that you bring about these gatherings where people who wouldn’t normally come together come together. . . . We pray that your name would be honored and glorified as they fellowship with one another. We pray that it would be all about honoring the name of Jesus Christ.”
Synod 2017 is meeting at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., from June 9-15. For continuous coverage, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases and the webcast, please visit crcna.org. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.