Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018 – That All May be Free
The Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher and Chair, Church of Ireland Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue, has highlighted the forthcoming Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the resources which are available on its theme of victory over oppression.
‘Although its popularity may have fallen off a little in recent years, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has the enormous advantage of being recognised as a time of prayer and reflection throughout the Christian West and beyond,’ Bishop McDowell commented. ‘In my own Diocese, I have found that the involvement of schools and young people can add a new vigour and perspective to our events while still making use of the material and ideas made available by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). The week helps us to re–focus on our vocation to be reconcilers and peace–makers within the Church and in the world. The theme of this year’s resources, modelled on material from the Church in the Caribbean, is victory over oppression – That All May Be Free – and should help us to remember that ecumenical activity has a purpose beyond itself, in this case proclaiming the great gospel values of liberation and justice.’The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from 18th to 25th January – the octave of St Peter and St Paul. Material for 2018 has been produced in the Caribbean and uses Exodus 15, a song of triumph over oppression, as the motif of the Week of Prayer.
Resources are now available, and printed versions can be ordered online (https://tinyurl.com/ybzr5ruh) by phone from Norwich Books and Music on ++ 44 (0) 1603 785925. They are also available as downloads from www.ctbi.org.uk
The themes of the daily material raise some of the contemporary issues addressed by the Churches of the Caribbean. Abuses of human rights are found across the region and participants are challenged to consider our manner of welcoming of the stranger into our midst. Human trafficking and modern–day slavery continue to be huge issues. Addictions to pornography and drugs continue to be serious challenges to all societies. The debt crisis has a negative impact upon the nations and upon individuals – the economies of the nations and people have become precarious. Family life continues to be challenged by the economic restrictions which lead to migration, domestic abuse and violence.
The Caribbean Churches work together to heal the wounds in the body of Christ. Reconciliation demands repentance, reparation and the healing of memories. The whole Church is called to be both a sign and an active agent of this reconciliation. Each year Christian Aid provides the Go and Do action points for each of the daily reflections – linking into the important work of Christian Aid in the relief of poverty and advocacy of justice. These are available online at https://tinyurl.com/y83hxfcg
Participants can show their support for Christian Unity by posting unity messages and details of events to our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Twitter wall – by adding the #wpcuwall hashtag to a Twitter post (please note that posts take 15 minutes to appear). Updates about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can be found on Twitter by following the #wpcu2018 hashtag.