Churches Together in Britain and Ireland launched worship resources for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. One suggestion advises them to count to seventy-seven slowly and pray for strength to forgive someone who has wronged them for each digit counted. The initiative is to help people focus on reconciling and having forgiveness.
The theme of reconciliation was proposed by the Churches in Ireland. Churches throughout the world will follow this during the focus on unity in January 2006.
According to the Revd Mary Hunter, representative of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM), the text chosen by the Irish Churches came from Matthew 18:15-22 on the theme ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name.’
Forgiveness is hugely important in Ireland where all communities have suffered greatly and fear has been instilled in many people due to the violence. “There is thirty years of fear to overcome. Sectarianism is rife,” she said.
“Reconciliation doesn’t mean we always see eye to eye on everything. We are on a journey together and Week of Prayer is one expression of that,” said Alan Dixon of the Salvation Army, referring to sectarianism in Scotland where churches are often viewed as causing part of the problem.
A pamphlet with the special ecumenical service and daily reflections is included as the resources. The ecumenical service this year is fitting for all ages.
“During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 18-25 January each year, tens of thousands of Christian people in cities, towns and villages throughout Britain and Ireland, in churches and other places, get together to meet and pray,” said the Revd Judith Maizel-Long, assistant General Secretary of CTBI.
“Thousands use the daily prayers at home alone or in groups. We know that the shared experience each year deepens the understanding between congregations as they seek to serve and witness in the communities in which they are located. This a special focus on unity, however the resources are written to encourage work and prayer for unity throughout the whole year.”
Resources also include a card with prayers for the peace of the world and the unity of the Church, a large A3 poster to advertise local services and a Resource Book containing additional worship material and information about the Churches in Ireland. The pamphlet is also available in a bilingual English/Welsh version.
The Week of Prayer worship resources are available at www.ctbi.org.uk
Churches Together in Britain & Ireland Inspire Peace Prayers in Unity Week
Published 09 September 2005 | Jennifer Gold