Winnipeg, Canada - Representatives of every stream of global Christianity met in Tirana, Albania, 1–5 November, 2015 for a consultation on Discrimination, Persecution, Martyrdom: Following Christ Together, convened by the Global Christian Forum.
Together, these 145 Christian leaders recognized the continued persecution of Christians, repented of the times Christians have persecuted those of other faith, and called on governments and churches globally “to respect and protect the freedom of religion” as a fundamental human right.
Mennonite World Conference (MWC) general secretary César García, MCC area director for Europe and Middle East Amela Puljek-Shank, and a church leader from Eritrea (name omitted for security reasons) represented MWC.
The consultation produced a document in which the leaders committed to “listen more…, pray more…, speak up more…, and do more in mutual understand to find effective ways of solidarity and support.”
The document also calls churches, persecutors, governments, media and people of goodwill to act in respect and justice toward all people.
“It was inspirational to see leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Evangelical and Orthodox churches gathered together to look for how to respond from the example of Jesus in the reality of persecution, discrimination and martyrdom that the Christian church experiences in some contexts today,” said Garcia. “We pray that these Christians who suffer for their faith convictions can find in the church of the crucified support and accompaniment to respond with love and overcome with hope in the midst of their situation.”
The historic gathering marked the persistence of Christianity despite adversity: the constitution of Albania declared it an atheist state in 1967; today churches flourish in a framework of religious freedom though some discrimination remains.
Click here to see the entire official consultation message.
-Karla Braun, MWC News Release