Brotherhood of the Cross and Star -A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
Brotherhood is not a church but a movement of the spirit embracing not only Christians but also the adherents of other religions, particularly Islam. In view of the current state of conflict between Christians and Muslims throughout the world, its role as a promoter of peace and harmony is therefore a crucial one. In London, Liverpool and other British cities with large multicultural communities it is beginning to make a positive contribution to the work of breaking down religious and racial barriers. The movement first came to public notice in 1958 in south-eastern Nigeria. It grew rapidly in the 1960s during the time of the Biafran war, when it played a significant part in bringing peace and reconciliation to a country torn by religious and ethnic divisions. It now has over a million members in Nigeria and Ghana and thousands more outside Africa: in Britain, France, Germany, the Ukraine, India, the West Indies and the USA. In England its principal centres are in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Bradford. The teachings of Brotherhood, which are based upon the New Testament, are direct and simple. 'Love one another' is the essence of the gospel preached by Olumba Olumba Obu, the founder and leader of the movement who, although now advanced in years, continues to address his followers daily at the World Headquarters in Calabar. Members of Brotherhood regard him as the Universal Teacher who has come to bring the world to an accurate and more advanced knowledge of the truth. As one who consistently practises what he teaches, he is revered as the very embodiment of the Love of God. Why 'Cross and Star'? The Cross represents the self-sacrificial suffering which all who seek to follow Christ must be prepared to endure. But to look only to the Cross is to be continually looking backwards to something that happened long ago. Hence the importance of the Star, the 'morning star' of Revelation, appearing in the present and pointing towards the future. Revelation is not sealed: it is a continuing process. The Star represents the brightness of God and the power of his kingdom, which is becoming manifest here and now. Brotherhood may be described as Stage 3 of a process of which Judaism represents Stage 1 and Christianity Stage 2. Its members believe that the world is now entering its 'third age'. The first age, the Age of the Father, brought the Old Testament, when God spoke to his children through the patriarchs and prophets of Israel. The second age, the Age of the Son, brought the New Testament, in which God became manifest in Jesus Christ and in the Church that his followers founded. In the third age, the Age of the Spirit, God is revealed as the Holy Spirit who is breaking down the barriers that divide Christians into separate churches and humanity into separate religions. Just as modern communications systems are uniting the world physically, so (at a deeper level of consciousness) the Holy Spirit is uniting it spiritually. Brotherhood exists to proclaim this truth and to give practical expression to it in works of love. To be in Brotherhood is to see the world through the eyes of God, who recognises no divisions. The movement embraces everyone irrespective of their creed, colour, class, age or sex. To quote one of its favourite 'spiritual choruses' its task is: TO MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD ONE'
POINTS OF CONTACT
BCS World Headquarters 34 Ambo Street, Calabar Cross River State, Nigeria
BCS UK Headquarters PO Box 625, 5 Falmouth Road London SE1 6RT Tel/Fax 0171-357-8635
BCS Northern Office 151 Raby Street Manchester M14 4SQ Tel 0161-226-0330
BCS Information 12 Keere Street, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1TYTel/Fax 01273-477795
Universal Love Network Old Church House, Warbleton Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 9BD Tel 01435-830784