MWC, MCC join international summit calling for religious freedom

Nov 23, 2015 by and

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Representatives of every stream of global Christianity met Nov. 1-5 in Tirana, Albania, for a consultation on “Discrimination, Persecution, Martyrdom: Following Christ Together.”

The event was convened by the Global Christian Forum.

Together, 145 Christian leaders recognized the continued persecution of Christians, repented of the times Christians have persecuted those of other faiths and called on governments and churches globally “to respect and protect the freedom of religion” as a fundamental human right.

Mennonite World Conference general secretary César García, Mennonite Central Committee area director for Europe and Middle East Amela Puljek-Shank, and a church leader from Eritrea, not named here due to security concerns, represented MWC.

The consultation produced a document in which the leaders committed to listen, pray and speak more and to “do more in mutual understanding to find effective ways of solidarity and support.”

The document also calls churches, persecutors, governments, media and people of good will to act with 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,” García said. “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.

Albania’s constitution declared the nation an atheist state in 1967. Today, churches flourish in a framework of religious freedom, though some discrimination remains.

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