Global Christian Forum secretary, Rev. Dr Casely Essamuah in conversation with participants at the Fourth Global Gathering in Accra, Ghana.


With a heart full of gratitude to God, for a time that became a sacred encounter with Christians from all over the world, Global Christian Forum (GCF) secretary, Rev. Dr Casely Essamuah, is pleased with the Fourth Global Gathering, which took place in Accra, Ghana, in April. He is also strengthened in his belief that the GCF plays an increasingly important role in bringing people from different denominations together at the same table to exchange views from different standpoints. 

“That is precisely what this organization is about. We are not a legislative body and we do not initiate programmes. We offer a neutral arena, where Christians from all over the world can network and deliberate together, regardless of their affiliations,” he explains. 

Focusing on women and youth

At this gathering, which also marked the 25th anniversary of GCF, special focus was on engaging more youth, women, migrant- and mega-churches – categories which have been underrepresented in the past. That strategy appears to have worked out reasonably well. For more than 70 percent of the 240 participants, it was their first global gathering. Furthermore, a majority of the speakers at the event were women. And a special youth gathering prior to the main event attracted an additional 20 dedicated youth –a category widely regarded as critical to the future of the church.

“Instead of having mainly church leaders at our table, we now have a more diverse group of representatives. Whom, we invite to the table, determines the extent to which we are an agent for change. We come together to live the Gospel in unity, and to let the world know that we have a powerful message to share. This is key,” Essamuah says, alluding to the theme of the gathering; “That the World may know.” 

Being an agent for change 

Being an agent for change thus means keeping an eye on who is missing at the table and making sure that they are reached out to in the future. Migrant churches, made up of people who have relocated from their home countries but who want to continue worshiping the way they are used to, is another category where progress has been made. Five migrant churches from Europe were at the table in Accra, which is an improvement. Attracting mega churches, on the other hand, remains a challenge, Essamuah admits. And a growing number of independent churches, with fresh expressions of faith to which people are more loosely connected, should also be taken into consideration. 

“We must continue to break down barriers and be tireless in our efforts to let the world know,” Essamuah says. 

The main message of living the Gospel in unity was also echoed in the opening address of the event by the general secretary of World Council of Churches (WCC), Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, who underlined “the profound significance of our shared commitment to Christian unity and cooperation.” 

A dynamic and thriving environment 

The choice of Ghana as location for the fourth GCF Global Gathering, was no coincidence. Christianity has long been thriving and dynamic here and the country has always been a significant part of the global south. Ghana also happens to be the native country of the GCF secretary himself. 

“For that reason, meeting here was of course special, and it has been a privilege indeed to host the event in this familiar context. Everywhere in Ghana, church life is vibrant and there are churches on just about every street,” Essamuah explains.  

Concrete proposals underway 

The Fourth Global Gathering, and the common challenges that were raised there, are now under evaluation by a specially appointed task force. Conclusions, along with more concrete proposals on how to proceed, will be presented at the next GCF international committee later this year. 

“Meanwhile, we shall continue to share our message of Christian unity and encourage dialogue between Christians from different traditions around the globe,” Essamuah concludes.

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Read in full: Message of the Fourth Global Gathering

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WCC general secretary underlines “shared vocation to participate in the prophetic mission of Christ” as Global Christian Forum opens (17 April 2024)

Photos from Global Christian Forum 2024