The Council of Bishops invites United Methodists to join in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Council of Bishops invites United Methodists to join in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

1/4/2021

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated every year January 18-25, or around the feast of Pentecost in some parts of the world.  Christians from various traditions around God’s world put aside this week to remember that our unity in Jesus Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit and not something to be taken lightly. 

Each year materials are prepared by an ecumenical group of Christians in a particular region, centered on a scriptural text and theme. They outline the liturgy for a joint worship service and write brief scriptural reflections for each day of the week.  Participation in ecumenical gatherings during this special week within our contexts is an excellent way to make a visible witness of the unity of Christ’s followers.
 
The theme for the 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be “Abide in My Love… You Shall Bear Much Fruit.”  It was discerned by the wonderful, monastic community of Grandchamp in Switzerland and is based on the message found in John 15:1-17.  If Christians abide in God’s love, then they will help to bring reconciliation with themselves and others.  They will bear fruit, grow relationships with others and increase the witness of unity.
 
Grandchamp in located in the French-speaking Swiss Canton of Neuchatel and has connections both with the ecumenical community of Taizé and with the Ecumenical Institute at Chateau de Bossey.  Today it is comprised of fifty sisters from various generations, church traditions and countries.  They are called in vocation to prayer, reconciliation, and unity in the church and all of creation.
 
Christians all over the world will celebrate the gift of unity in Christ’s universal church during this week and pray for that unity to be strengthened.  Every United Methodist annual conference is encouraged to participate with ecumenical services of prayer and worship as a statement of our belief we are “a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ” (Article IV of “The Constitution,” The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016, ¶4, p. 26). 
 
Ideas for participating include:

Using part of the litany during a Sunday morning worship service and teaching about the Week during that service,
Praying for the Sisters of Grandchamp and other Christians around the world during the Pastoral Prayer on Sunday morning,

Organizing a joint online worship service with other local congregations in the area,

Writing letters of prayer and encouragement to those congregations,

Choosing a ministry project your congregation could do with those congregations,

Holding a study during the week about the Week and the year’s theme,

Writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper, and

Joining in the prayer vigil being offered by the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome, which will be held via Zoom on January 17th at noon eastern time.  For more information see www.meorome.org.
 
For resources and more information, go to https://geii.org or see the Graymoor Institute’s Ecumenical Trends, volume 49, number 6.
 
- Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst

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