BRIGHTON ‘91: THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE
It was different!
“The plan that I will give you will be so different that it will sound impossible, but possible for the ones who trust My words and act on them.” That was a word of prophecy at Jerusalem in 1989 when the Lord told us to go ahead with the conference Brighton ‘91.
The conference drew together about 1500 Anglican/Protestant, 800 Roman Catholic, 730 Pentecostal/Non-denominational and 10 Orthodox participants. There was good representation from Africa (370), Asia (320), Latin America (50), North America (480) Oceania (180), with the remainder from Europe and UK: total 3100.
Throughout the Conference the themes Evangelise the world and Do it together came again and again. For many, a highlight was the talk of Father Raniero Cantalamessa when he spoke on charismatic unity and institutional unity and affirmed both. The Charismatic Renewal , he said, is a current of grace...a prophetic force...a sign of the times... the only existing ‘movement’ or reality that is genuinely inter-denominational.
Archbishop George Carey and Cardinal Basil Hume both addressed the conference. Some other important contributions came from Third World leaders like William Kumuyi, Gresford Chitemo, Joseph Wongsak, John Toguata, Miguel Escobar and Omar Cabrera. Large crowds gathered to hear them speak of the massive growth of their Churches, and the simple biblical principles upon which they are based.
Theologians make history!
A new initiative was the bringing together of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox theologians. Never before has such a gathering of theologians been part of such a conference like this. Charismatics and Pentecostals have been accused of being mindless . At Brighton it was demonstrated that they do take theology seriously; the success of this part of the conference resulted in further meetings being arranged.
Dr Ioan Sauca, a distinguished Orthodox theologian from Romania, described Brighton ‘91 as ‘the best ecumenical conference I have ever attended.’ (Dr Sauca is now on the staff of the World Council of Churches.)
An assessment of Brighton ‘91
One participant said ‘I don’t imagine we shall know until eternity the effect of Brighton ‘91; it was an astonishing feast of riches...the sheer net-working will have years of knock-on impact, and I’m sure the Lord is rejoicing with us.’