The Association of Evangelicals in Africa and Sojourners, a United States-based Christian justice organization, successfully hosted a virtual Global Gathering of Christian Justice Leaders on the 24th of June 2020. The virtual gathering had about 45 leaders from 25 nations in attendance.
AEA was scheduled to host the in-person meeting in Nairobi Kenya at the AEA Plaza from June 23-26, 2020, but due to the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic, AEA and Sojourners made the difficult but prudential decision to postpone the Global Gathering. The meeting had prioritized having Christian leaders who are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s and who have already demonstrated a commitment to advancing justice either through their organization, church, and/or denomination. Fortunately, many participants had already registered for the event and this presented the organizers with an opportunity to host a virtual gathering instead.
Executive Director of Sojourners, Rev. Adam Russell Taylor said, “ While we weren’t able to meet in person due to COVID-19, the pandemic made this Gathering even more imperative, providing an opportunity for intergenerational church and faith-based organization leaders to build relationships, share learnings, and deepen solidarity to protect the vulnerable and boldly seek justice.”
The virtual gathering aimed at building and deepening relationships and discussing the current COVID global pandemic, hearing from justice leaders around the globe about their national contexts and how to strengthen the witness of the church in these times. There was an added focus to the core goals of the gathering as the pandemic revealed longstanding inequities in our world and presented an opportunity to reimagine and build a more just world. The main objective of convening the Gathering was to:
- strengthen connections between intergenerational Christian leaders across countries and existing networks;
- build the capacity and commitment of churches and Christian organizations to engage in nonpartisan, social and political change with an emphasis on challenging and transforming autocratic and authoritarian leaders/systems; and
- catalyze greater collaboration and learning across countries, including by developing an informal network of global church leaders focused on strengthening advocacy and public witness/activism.
To find out more about the global gathering of Christian Justice leaders please click here
The International Steering Committee members and leaders of the gathering are listed below:
Hosts: Rev. Jim Wallis and Rev. Adam Taylor, Sojourners (United States)
Host: Rev. Aiah Foday-Khabenje, Association of Evangelicals in Africa (Kenya)
Rev. René August, The Warehouse (South Africa)
Rev. Tim Costello, Micah Challenge Australia (Australia)
Rev. Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Resonate Global Mission (Costa Rica)
Rev. Kennedy Dhanabalan, Serve (Afghanistan/India)
Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson, Reformed Church in America (United States)
Rev. Joseph Kim and Rev. Hana Kim, Myungsung Presbyterian Church (South Korea)
Bishop Zac Niringiye, Uganda Christian University (Uganda)
ABOUT THE SPONSORS / ORGANIZERS
The Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) is a Christian umbrella organization, representing National Evangelical Fellowships in Africa. The membership also includes international Christian Non-Governmental Organizations or development and missionary agencies based in Africa. Founded in 1966, AEA’s Headquarters is in Nairobi, Kenya where it is registered as a Charitable Christian organization (society). AEA is currently comprised of 40 National Evangelical Fellowships as full members and continues to work in the remaining countries to bring churches together for a fully-fledged National Fellowship. AEA is one of the regional associations of the global evangelical movement—World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). AEA and its members join in common concern to live and proclaim the Good News of Jesus amongst all nations and peoples, seeking holiness, justice, and transformation at every level: individual, family, community, and culture.
For nearly fifty years, Sojourners has been working to inspire hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. The organization has a long history of supporting and working in solidarity with a range of justice and peace movements around the world. This includes significant leadership in the anti-Apartheid struggle, efforts to promote peace in Central America, advocacy to promote peace in the Middle East, and more recently playing a significant role in the Jubilee debt cancellation movement and advancing the Millennium Development Goals. Sojourners continues to cover a broad range of human rights, peace and sustainable development issues across its print and online publications and co-coordinates the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative with Pax Christi International.