The first French-speaking Christian forum just ended in Leysin on October 13. “This Forum reminded us that what unites us is much stronger than what separates us: Jesus Christ, true God and true man, sent by the Father and giver of the Holy Spirit to unite us in Him”, testify in unison the participants. “Christ is the pearl of great price. He teaches us to put God first, to love him above all else, and to live out his new commandment of love for one another. “
From its inception, a question had animated the founders of the World Christian Forum (FCM) – including the World Council of Churches, model on which this Leysin forum took place: who is missing at the table? Which churches remain absent from ecumenical platforms at any level? By founding the Forum, they wanted to bring together around the table, in equal proportions (50:50), the so-called historical churches, members of the WCC or in close relation with it, and others, evangelicals, Pentecostals or charismatics, absent. It is not about addressing divisive theological issues but – a first step without which no other is possible – to discover each other as women and men putting their lives in Christ.
This ambition also animated the team of organizers of the Forum chretien romand – including CTEC Suisse – which has just ended in Leysin. Most of them had discovered the originality and relevance of the approach developed by the FCM during the Lyon Forum and absolutely wanted to introduce it to Switzerland (French-speaking Switzerland). While the 50:50 target was not met for this edition of Leysin, some churches have for the very first time sent a representative. This is a huge step forward which will hopefully lead to the emergence of more sustained relationships. At the time of the assessment, the enthusiasm, despite some fears (hidden agenda?) Of some 60 people who followed the entire process of the forum proved, once again, that the intuition of the founders of the FCM was correct and that the path to unity passed through that: getting to know one another, as a man, as a woman. As one participant said, “After three days, I know the participants better than some people I have worked with for years.”
Thus, it is by giving a personal witness of his journey of faith in small groups, by privileging what brings together the participants – Catholics, Reformed, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Orthodox, Catholic-Christians, Anglicans, Adventists, Salvationists, Baptists, and members of communities and movements – have come together. Together, they addressed seven interpellations to their respective Churches. In a common text, they launch an appeal to the Churches, communities and movements of French-speaking Switzerland to “dare to go beyond the limits that separate us to bear witness, in communion of love, to Christ who sets us free and wants everyone to come to life. knowledge of its truth. “
“We went up the mountain, not to settle our differences in theology, but to know each other better and to let ourselves be touched by the Holy Spirit. So many things seem to separate us; we often have images of others that are not true. We forget our common roots and that we live in one and the same house: You are part of the family of God (1 Peter 2,5-10), the participants in this first experience in French-speaking Switzerland also indicated.
The different ecclesial and theological sensibilities were also expressed in the times of prayer and the diversity of musical traditions, during the times of sharing, and the workshops, the biblical meditations and during the public celebration in Aigle.
The discovery of other Christian communities was also made by visiting places of Church in the Chablais and on the Vaud Riviera: richness and fruitfulness of the commitment in community life, prayer and formation and joint actions to several Churches, sources of inspiration for each and everyone.
An observation, in seven points
Participants will share seven discoveries with their respective churches. In sharing their paths of life and faith, they expressed their suffering, that of a “wounded body” by the disaffection of many and the “spiritual earthquake” caused by the discovery of abuse of all kinds, in Churches: “An authentic spirituality gives meaning to pain by uniting our vulnerabilities with those of Christ who assumed them all”.
In addition, with the young people of the Churches, the participants want to encourage communities to help each other to be “credible witnesses of the Risen Christ”.
Strengthened by their sharing of faith itineraries, they hope that families, communities and parishes will experience “this fruitful process”.
The participants also affirm the dignity of each human being created in the image of God and declare that they want to care for people on the margins of society “in whom Christ awaits them”.
The relationship with Creation is also a fruit of the Christian vocation. Concrete projects are already supported by several associations and deserve to be (re) known.
Finally, the participants urge not to postpone until tomorrow the “call to live together the mission” entrusted by Christ and to be “pilgrims with one another”.