Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It is with great joy that I extend heartfelt greetings on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

As we gather as the 4th Global Gathering of the Global Christian Forum under the inspiring theme “THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW (John 17:23b),” we are reminded of the profound significance of our shared commitment to Christian unity and cooperation. Sharing an ecumenical history of more than 25 years, the WCC and the GCF have contributed with their unique strengths, perspectives, and expertise to the common journey towards unity and reconciliation. 

The themes for each day – “ONE in God,” “BROKEN in Humanity,” “HEALED through Christ,” and “SENT by God” – encapsulate the essence of our shared mission and purpose. They invite us to reflect deeply on the interconnectedness of our faith, the brokenness of our world, the healing power of Christ, and our calling to be agents of transformation in the world.

As the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to stand alongside you, my friends and my siblings in Christ, as we continue to walk together on this sacred journey of faith and witness. I not only bring greetings from the World Council of Churches, but also express the fervent hopes and aspirations of the global community that yearns for a world reconciled, just, and united. Our world is in crisis, in fact a polycrisis, as we face numerous challenges such as wars, racial, ethnic and gender-based conflicts, poverty, a climate catastrophe, migration and many other challenges. 

 Our world needs a spiritual and moral renewal; it needs us to speak prophetically and with one voice to the challenges of our times and we can succeed by constantly allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us and with us and through us to transform the world. Discipleship in the school of Christ’s love commits us to embark on a spiritual journey that will continually challenge us and shape us into people who reflect the Lord Jesus Christ in our actions, words, and attitudes. This global gathering offers a unique opportunity to weave together the narratives of our faith traditions and cultures into a rich tapestry of understanding, acceptance, and shared purpose. 

I see in the program of this gathering, including the “Slave Castle Pilgrimage,” the spiritual exercise of the “Emmaus walk,” and the visit to the Nkrumah Memorial Park, a strong connection with the WCC vision of the pilgrimage towards justice, reconciliation, and unity. Each step we take, each story we hear, and each encounter we experience brings us closer to painful histories of suffering and divisions, but also to stories of faith, commitment, and resilience.

In this Easter season for some Christians and Lenten period for some other Christians we experience the story of the incarnated Son of God, his sufferings, death and resurrection in a very proximate way through these stories and trough the vulnerabilities and strengths that we experience through sharing our own faith stories. As we recall the appearances of the resurrected Christ, we are confident that He is continuously with us, loving, forgiving, feeding, healing, and empowering us to becoming his visible signs of peace and reconciliation. As Christians, we carry this great calling with humbleness and responsibility, working for and encouraging a sustained dialogue for peace while building bridges of reconciliation between people and churches. It is our shared vocation to participate in the prophetic mission of Christ proclaiming the kingdom of God, which is made visible by the testimony of our lives and in our work for justice and reconciliation.

The “Cape Coast Castle” which some will see this week for the first time stands as a powerful testament to the painful legacy of slavery and oppression, reminding us of the urgent need for justice and healing in our world today. As we walk through the halls of history, may we be inspired to confront the injustices of the past and present, and to work tirelessly towards a future where all God’s children are treated with dignity and respect.

The spiritual exercise of “Emmaus walk” invites us to journey together in faith, companionship, and mutual understanding. As we walk side by side, sharing our faith stories, our struggles, and our hopes, may we be reminded of the transformative power of solidarity and community in the pursuit of reconciliation and unity. May our hearts burn with passion as we hear Jesus speaking to us and transforming both ourselves and the world to reflect God`s glory and presence. 

The visit to the Nkrumah Memorial Park serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring legacy of visionary leaders who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of justice, peace, and unity. May we draw inspiration from their example as we continue our pilgrimage towards a world where division gives way to communion, and fear gives way to love.

In embracing these spiritual experiences, we reaffirm our commitment to the pilgrimage of justice, reconciliation, and unity – a journey that knows no bounds of geography, culture, or denomination. The recent and the current period showed us that we can only together overcome the powers of destruction and death. There are many loud voices today; some are dividing, degrading, defaming, discriminating, disorienting, misinforming, and even destroying. As followers of Christ, we are called to proclaim the word of God and to discern His will for our times. This discernment requires that we listen carefully to one another. The truth that we owe each other is what we have received from God in Jesus Christ. This is the account we give as our strength and hope in our different contexts. We are called to respond to God’s call, each one of us. Jesus told the crowd listening to him that his sheep know his voice and would follow him, rather than a stranger’s voice (John 10:3). We are called to, pray together, to listen together, to discern together, and to respond together. We are called to respond so loud and prophetically that particularly those who desperately need our response, can hear God’s voice of peace, justice, and reconciliation – through us. Therefore, we are mutually accountable to one another for how we respond to God’s voice – together. As partners in the ecumenical movement, let us continue to walk together with courage, humility, and faith, trusting in the transformative power of God’s love to guide us on our way. The Global Christian Forum works for unity of Christians. May this inspire us to heed to the prayer of Jesus, “That they may be one”. The WCC affirmed this in the last Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2022. It said: 

We affirm the vision of the WCC for the visible unity of all Christians, and we invite other Christians to share this vision with us. We also invite all people of faith and goodwill to trust, with us, that a different world, a world respectful of the living earth, a world in which everyone has daily bread and life in abundance, a decolonized world, a more loving, harmonious, just, and peaceful world, is possible. In a world weighed down with so much pain, anguish, and fear, we believe that the love we have seen in Christ brings the liberating possibilities of joy, justice for all, and peace with the earth. Moved by the Holy Spirit, compelled by a vision of unity, we journey on together, resolved to practise Christ’s love, following his steps as his disciples, and carrying a torch for love in the world, trusting in the promise that Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity. – From the Unity Statement of the 11th Assembly.

As we gather in Accra, I am filled with hope and anticipation for the conversations, prayers, and moments of fellowship that await us. May the Spirit of God guide and inspire us in all our words and actions, and may our time together serve as a powerful testament to the transformative power of unity in diversity. 

In closing, I extend my prayers for a gathering that is fruitful, enriching, and blessed. As we listen attentively to God’s voice through our interactions, let us earnestly open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit, bringing forth a vision of hope, encouragement, healing, love, and inspiration, so that the world may truly come to know the depth of God’s love, healing, and grace.


Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay 
General Secretary
World Council of Churches