The Gulf Churches Fellowship (GCF) held its annual meeting on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 January 2024, in Dubai, in which participants were the Director of the Theological and Ecumenical Department at the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) Father Dr. Antoine Al Ahmar, representing the MECC Secretary General Dr. Michel Abs, assisted by Maria Bzdigian, the Administrative and Project Assistant in the Department. Participants were also representatives of the GCF’s partner organizations and parties from all over the world.
Following a prayer, the first day included a meeting for the Executive Committee of the Gulf Churches Fellowship Churches. The participants also introduced themselves and then approved the agenda and reviewed the minutes of the annual meeting held in 2023, in addition to sharing the latest work updates of the parties they represent. As well as, the first day included a presentation by Dr. Alberto Chierici "Faithful Christian Responses to New Technology and Artificial Intelligence".
The day's highlight was the visit of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Church, Holy See of Cilicia, and MECC Honorary President. His Holiness delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of Ecumenical work, highlighting the Ecumenical movement and its objectives, and stressing the need to address the challenges that the movement is facing. His Holiness Catholicos Aram I also spoke about Christian-Islamic dialogue, stating that it is an existential reality. Following his speech, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios Mavrogiannakis, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Qatar, presented to His Holiness a souvenir on behalf of the CGF as a token of gratitude and appreciation.
The second day began with a prayer, after which the Gulf Churches Fellowship honored three of its founding members and are His Eminence Bishop Paul Hinder, Archbishop Michael Lewis, and Archdeacon Bill Schwartz. Moreover, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, introduced, along with Father Dr. Antoine Al Ahmar, Wilma Wolswinkel, and Joel Kelling, the “Safe Migration” workshop to the GCF Members and invited them to participate. In addition, the Secretary General of the Bible Society Dr. Hrayr Jebejian talked about the Bible Society’s work, highlighting the Migration Bible that was newly issued.
In the closing session of the Gulf Churches Fellowship’s meeting, GCF officers’ elections were held, in addition to presenting some reports and future prospects for the year 2025. As well as, appreciation was made to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, at the end of his term, for all the efforts he did in the Gulf Churches Fellowship.