Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Begins Today

Christians around the world will join in prayer for the next seven days as Week of Prayer for Christian Unity starts today.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today with churches and Christians the world over joining in prayer for reconciliation between individuals, peoples and communities through the love of Christ.

|TOP|The theme of the 2006 Week of Prayer, chosen by a preparatory group in Ireland, is Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them”.

The Rev. Mary Hunter, representative of the preparatory group, the Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM), explained how the inspiration behind the 2006 theme came from Irish churches.

She said forgiveness is hugely important in Ireland where all communities have suffered deeply and where violence has engendered fear in so many people.

“There is thirty years of fear to overcome,” she said. “Sectarianism is rife.

|QUOTE|Alan Dixon (Salvation Army) also referred to sectarianism, in Scotland, where churches are often seen as part of the problem. “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.”

Special resources were launched last year, prepared by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, including a pamphlet containing the special ecumenical service and daily reflections, as well as an ecumenical service suitable for all-age worship.

The Assistant General Secretary of CTBI, the Revd Judith Maizel-Long said: "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.

“Thousands use the daily prayers at home alone or in groups,” said the Assistant General Secretary of CTBI, the Rev. Judith Maizel-Long, said at the time of the resources’ release.

“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.”

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a joint initiative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Roman Catholic Church.

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