Church of the Brethren representatives gathered Dec. 2-5 in Kwarhi, Nigeria, to discuss the vision of becoming a global church body.
Representatives came from Haiti, Dominican Republic, United States, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Spain and Nigeria.
The conference included reports from each sister church about leadership, structure, membership and, most important, how and why each came to join the global Brethren movement. The conference then tested the U.S. proposal that autonomous Brethren groups should move more closely together and develop a global structure.
Representatives unanimously affirmed hopes for establishing a global body. Many see a need to magnify the Brethren voice for peace. They hope such a structure might reaffirm Brethren beliefs and practices and give a sense of Brethren identity, as well as be a vehicle to develop shared mission programming.
Lack of resources and difficulty procuring travel visas were highlighted as obstacles. Fears of discrimination and prejudice were mentioned as concerns. The group also expressed concerns that the body could identify and agree to adhere to shared biblical principles.
The group recommended a temporary board be established to work on a constitution, guiding principles and defined points for sharing resources and programming.
Nigerian Brethren suggested Global Brethren Communion be used as a temporary name.