New day for Evangelicals in worldwide Christianity

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For Immediate Release

Contact Information:
Marion Uzac, Press Secretary, E-mail: [email protected]
Sylvia Soon, Chief of Staff. E-mail: [email protected]

The International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe,
has welcomed a joint message from Christian leaders worldwide during the Global
Christian Forum, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6 to 9 November 2007.

In addition to Dr Tunnicliffe, the GCF brought together more than 240 key Christian
leaders from around the world, including the General Secretary of the World Council
of Churches, the Rev Samuel Kobia; Chair of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, Dr
James Legget; the President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Rev Dr
Clifton Kirkpatrick; and the head of the Baptist World Alliance, Dr Neville Callam.

The November 9 message welcomed the "unprecedented opportunity" afforded by the
Forum to share reflections on the theme "Our Journey with Jesus Christ, the
Reconciler", and reiterated the GCF's mission to "create an open space" where
Christians from across a wide range of Christian communities and inter-church
organisations could reflect together on issues of common concern.

The letter states: "Recognising that unity is first and foremost God's gift through
the work of the Holy Spirit, our intent is to go forward together promoting greater
understanding and cooperation among Christians, while respecting and upholding the
diversity of our identities, traditions and individual gifts (cf 1 Cor 12).

Dr Tunnicliffe expressed his appreciation of the message's commitment to Trinitarian
Christian truth and its clarity about the humanity and deity of Christ.

"Our presence at this Forum is testimony to the long-standing commitment of
Evangelicals, since the inception of the global Evangelical Alliance movement in
1846, to Christ-like cooperation with the various denominations and traditions that
make up the body of Christ.

"This Forum was and will continue to be an opportunity to create greater
understanding, dispel stereotypes and promote greater religious liberty," he said.

The World Evangelical Alliance, in support of the Global Christian Forum, held its
annual international council and leadership meetings in conjunction with the GCF.
In addition a significant number of leaders from national Evangelical Alliances and
other WEA members were also present.

Gordon Showell-Rogers, General Secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance, spoke
of the need for further dialogue: "Some issues must be discussed across a wide
spectrum of churches and Christian movements - issues like responding to
fundamentalist secularism, or religious liberty (including that of evangelicals in
countries with majority Roman Catholic or Orthodox populations).

"This Trinitarian Forum has provided a relational foundation from which
conversations about these and other themes can be pursued further."

Rev Richard Howell, Vice Chair of the World Evangelical Alliance International
Council and serves on the Continuation Committee of the Global Christian Forum,
said: "The Forum is an open table where Evangelicals (including Pentecostals) and
other parts of the Christian community are equal partners. It has brought us closer
to unity and increased awareness of what God is doing in other traditions, while
also removing prejudices. In particular, the sharing of individual faith stories
and the testimony from Christians present at the GCF of the Lordship of Christ in
their lives have been particularly positive."

Hubert Van Beek, Continuation Committee Secretary of the Global Christian Forum,
said: "The broadest possible participation of the Evangelicals and Pentecostals in
this process is absolutely essential and it is one of the aims of the Forum to
provide conversation between those who have been involved in the ecumenical movement
and who also come from the Evangelical and Pentecostal movements."

Rev Dr Judy Mbugua, Association of Evangelicals in Africa team leader, said: "This
Forum has created an opportunity for Christians to hear each other and to hear each
others' stories."

The joint message committed delegates to continue with the process within the Global
Christian Forum, stating, "We will pray and work for local and regional events, as
well as other possible global encounters, to deepen this journey."

Bruce Clemenger of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, who was involved in the
drafting of the message, said: "The GCF will be a model to encourage and foster
other forums to take place in nations and regions around the world."

World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128
national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member
organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples
of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to
foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420
million evangelical Christians worldwide.