ABLI Coming off Age after Unprecedented Support
The fourth African Biblical Leadership Initiative has been described as "ABLI coming of age", by its Moderator Lord Paul Boateng. The ABLI conference received unprecedented support from the hosting government, Ghana, which sent representatives from all three arms of the state to join delegates from around the world.
‘This year's themes were around corruption, security, education and youth development,’ said moderator Lord Paul Boateng, ‘but the greatest focus of all was on how the church brings spiritual and material resources to bear on the challenges facing Africa.’
The ABLI Forum was hosted by the Bible Society of Ghana, which presented Bibles to the representative of the President of Ghana, the Chief Justice of the Republic and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
That was very moving,’ said Ghana Bible Society General Secretary Erasmus Odonkor. ‘It symbolised to participants and the whole of Ghana that ABLI is based on the Bible and is looking at leadership that is based on the Bible.
‘We have 18 African countries represented here, and for me that is hugely successful. Many have been challenged to pursue this issue of Biblical leadership in their countries and institutions.’
But it is the practical application of those Biblical principles and values that is central to the vision of ABLI, said British and Foreign Bible Society CEO James Catford.
‘The call is very clear. It’s about being prepared to stand up for things Scripture speaks on. It’s about addressing jobs, poverty and integrity in government. These are not optional extras. These are core.’
‘This is not about what others can do,’ added Lord Boateng, ‘but about what Africa can do to bring about nothing short of the transformation of our continent and the lives of our people.’
The ABLI Forum is an initiative of Bible Society. Its CEO, James Catford said ABLI 2014 would be remembered for a growing confidence and solidarity between people in government, church and business that the Scriptures still speak to the issues of our age.
‘This is about changing society and standing up for all the issues we care about.’ he added. ‘It’s a great privilege to be part of this.’
A Statement of Prayer and Solidarity from the ABLI Forum 2014 with the Children of Nigeria
“Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31 v8-9
We, the gathered members of the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) 2014, affirm the role that the Bible can and should play in addressing the challenges and opportunities faced by the continent of Africa.
As leaders in our own communities and nations, we call on all leaders to act in the service of those they are called to lead. We recognize the continuing challenges that African leaders face: endemic poverty; the absence of universal education for all of our children; the lack of adequate health care and clean water for all; the corruption and bribery which sucks the life from our nations. We commit to playing our part in addressing all of these challenges.
And yet a new and insidious evil has arisen, which we must address. The kidnapping of over two hundred girls from their school in Northern Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram, is an outrage and an offence both to humanity and to God.
We express our solidarity with the parents of these girls, with the Government of Nigeria, the international community and all parties working for the release and return of the girls to their parents and communities.
Above all, we express our solidarity with the abducted girls themselves. They are precious to their families and friends, they are precious to Nigeria, they are precious to all of us across the world and they are infinitely precious to the God who created them. Boko Haram must answer to everyone for these girls and ultimately they must answer to Almighty God.
We call on Boko Haram to release these girls, return them to their families and repent of this wickedness.