In this final document, the hundred or so participants in the first French-speaking Christian Forum (Leysin, 10 to 13 October 2021), echo this rich meeting and want to share some discoveries with the churches, communities and movements of French-speaking Switzerland, in particular that of sharing our routes of faith.
Coming from several denominations or Christian families from the different cantons of French-speaking Switzerland – Catholics, Orthodox, Reformed, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Christian Catholics, Anglicans, Adventists, Salvationists, Baptists, and members of communities and movements – “united all together” (Acts 2 , 1) in the joy of the Holy Spirit in Leysin, we listened to the Word of God, shared our paths of faith and prayed together. A celebration also brought us to Aigle with members of the churches in the region.
The theme of this Forum was taken from the Gospel of John:
“It is not you who have chosen me, but it is I who have chosen you, and I have appointed you, that you may go and bear fruit, and your fruit may remain. So whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. “(15,16).
This text has accompanied us during these days. Through these words so lofty, lively and effective, Christ called us. He always takes the first step, so that we respond to him in faith and turn to others.
Inspired by the approach of the recent World and Francophone Christian Forum (Bogota and Lyon 2018), we have lived times of mutual discovery with our cultures, our personal histories and our ways of living the faith.
We went up the mountain, not to settle our differences in theology, but to know each other better and 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).
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.
Often surprisingly, his grace visits our hearts to send us to this suffering world, especially during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic.
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.
In small groups, we took the time to listen to our journeys of faith. Daring to exchange in “I” creates a link like nothing in the world. What a joy to discover how Christ chose our brothers and sisters! Loving him also makes us love fraternal communion.
Through our sharing, our songs and our prayers, we have discovered that there are treasures in all churches. This diversity enriches us and we give thanks for it. We are poor from other Churches. Let us recognize in them the lights that are lacking in us!
We also lived these days with several members of communities, movements and works, engaged in different ways in witness and service. By visiting places of the Church in the Chablais and on the Vaudois Riviera, we rejoiced in their commitment to community life, prayer and formation. We have also been inspired by the fruitfulness of actions common to several Churches.
We were happy with the support given to our approach by the authorities of our Churches who opened their hearts to us and expressed their hope for the Church. We prayed for the leaders of all the churches that the peace of Christ might reign in each.
What did we still discover during these few days?
1. In sharing our paths of life and faith, we have expressed our sufferings. We are part of a Wounded Corps. The disaffection of many and the discovery of abuse of all kinds causes a spiritual earthquake. Genuine spirituality gives meaning to pain by uniting our vulnerabilities with those of Christ who assumed them all. Without a constant gaze towards his cross by which he has reconciled us we cannot receive the gift of the living presence of the Risen One, nor progress towards unity as He wants it.
• We were delighted by the presence of several young people from our Churches. They inspire us with their search for God. With them we want to help each other to be credible witnesses of the Risen Christ.
• Sharing our journeys of faith has renewed our relationships with one another. We want our families, communities and parishes to experience this fruitful process.
• We have broadened our meetings between Churches. The Christian Forum wants to create bridges between the two movements that have marked the 20th century: the ecumenical movement and the evangelical-Pentecostal movement. Let us always ask ourselves who is missing around the table of Christian fraternity!
• We affirm the dignity of every human being created in the image of God. With several movements we want, in a relationship of friendship and accompaniment, to meet Christ in the marginalized, desperate young people, migrants, prostitutes and so many other people in need of research.
• We reflected on our relationship with creation, as the fruit of our vocation. Concrete projects are carried out by Christian associations which ask only to offer their services to parishes.
• Today Christ wants us to be pilgrims, one with the other, because we are all weakened. Let us not put off until tomorrow his call to live together the mission he entrusts to us … by reminding us that it comes first through ourselves: we are the mission of Christ!
To the churches, communities and movements of French-speaking Switzerland, we therefore say:
Share in confidence what Christ is for you!
Seek to discover one another in truth!
Pray without ceasing and come together to listen to the Word of God!
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 the knowledge of his truth!
Look for new ways to reach Christ who awaits us in every brother and sister, especially in the most needy.
Announce with courage the hope opened by the resurrection of Jesus to all those desperate for the meaning of life!
This will not solve everything, but, by taking concrete steps, it will help us to change our hearts and our gazes, to dispel some prejudices and to approach our differences more calmly.
“What I command you is to love one another” (John 15:17).
Romand Christian Forum, Leysin, October 13, 2021