Opening Ceremon at Tel Aviv
Philippines Welcome Dance
Worshipping on the Boats in the Sea Of Galilee
Melucan Island delegates
Delegates from thirty nations made the pilgrimage to
Israel to attend the 7th World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People. All left with a greater vision of the Fatherï¿½s heart for themselves, their nations and a strong sense of being a part of the growing global community of indigenous Christ-followers.
The 7th WCGIP began with welcoming the canoe of paddlers from
BC by Jewish delegates into historic
Harbor. Here various protocols were followed and we were symbolically welcomed onto the land as guests. It was awesome as
Island peoples sang and called them in, including Hawaiians, Maori and Tongan.
Delegates spent the first three days at the Ginnosar Kibbutz on the
Sea of Galilee. There they worshipped together with tribal people from around the world using their amazing tribal songs, dances, music and languages. There was very little teaching/preaching, but story-telling of Godï¿½s work among their people, along with talking circles in the afternoons.
A simple sweat lodge was built by the North American First Nations delegates on the
Sea of Galilee where several dozen tribal people from half-a-dozen countries met to offer sacrifices of prayer and thanksgiving and to intercede for their nations. In this traditional ï¿½prayer hutï¿½ attendees could be heard fervently pouring out their hearts to Jesus for renewal, revival and healing for their lands and people. A young woman, Michelle, from
Canada led two times of prayer in the lodge for the ladies as well. Several said it was one of the highlights of their time in
Sea of Galilee the entire delegation rode in three barge type boats to
Capernaum. When the boats were far from shore the three boats were tied together side by side, with the middle boat serving as the music and dance area. The musicians from Papua New
Guinea along with their traditional tribal dancers began singing and dancing their traditional dances to begin a time of joy-filled worship together. Soon many joined in with their own dances and about ten drums appeared for a drum-jam sessions with tribal rhythms blended together. We laughed and celebrated with great exuberance like a big family should when they gather together for a reunion.
About 100 delegates came from Papua and
Indonesia. For many of these tribal people the gospel has been in their remote areas for less than 50 years. Theirs is among the newest of churches in the world. Their worship to Jesus fully expressed the context of their indigenous music, signing, regalia/dress and dance forms. No missionary white shirts, ties, pianos and crew cuts for this bunch. Their drumming and chanting was AWESOME! Many delegates said they were one of the most inspiring representations at this years Gathering.
A family of eight came from
Okinawa. Their traditional music, dance and outfits were so anointed, beautiful and amazing that many could be seen weeping as they watched and listened. The grace and the dignity of their movements so expressed the presence of the Holy Spirit that people were simply awed as they worshipped with them.
Many delegates visited
Bethlehem, now separated as an Arab community from
Jerusalem and soon all of
Israel by an ominous and foreboding wall. It was reflective of the religious and ideological conflict in the land that everyone felt.
One of the great outcomes is that our circum-polar brothers and sisters decided to meet in
Greenland next summer to encourage and equip one another to be live out the gospel in their respective communities in
Also of great significance is the emerging youth initiative that began in the
Philippines at the 6th WCGIP that was further developed by the emerging generation of leaders from around the world within the WCGIP. They will be convening Gatherings in different parts of the world to address issues of concern to their generation. Plans for other global gatherings focusing on issues of social justice, micro-economic development and indigenous theological training in different parts of the world will be occurring as a result of this Gathering.
The 8th World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People will be hosted by the Maori in
New Zealand, Januray 8-19, 2011.