Amazing! The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is from January 18th to 25th, has as its theme this year “Has Christ Been Divided?” using 1 Corinthians 1: 1-17 as the scriptural basis. In the Revised Common Lectionary, the Epistle readings for the 19th and 26th are 1 Corinthians 1: 1-9 and 1 Corinthians 1: 10:18. So this year’s theme has truly been “sandwiched” into the lectionary.
As well as background materials and an order of worship, the organizers have produced daily reflections for the week. They will be published as individual posts through this week.
Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton provided this introduction to this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
“Has Christ been divided?”
by Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary, The Canadian Council of Churches
I greet you my sisters and brothers in Christ! I welcome you to the materials and reality of the Week of Prayer for 2014! For over one hundred years Christians have been gathering together in the prayer and joint witness to action that has become the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
For nearly 70 years The Canadian Council of Churches has been witnessing to ecumenism, to God’s unity in diversity in Canada and today, with 25 member denominations representing over 85% of the
Christians in Canada, is the most inclusive church council in the world. For over 40 of those years, the CCC, through its Commission on Faith and Witness, has taken the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity materials developed by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council of Promoting Christian Unity, adapted them for a Canadian context and created additional materials.
This is a very unique year!
For just the third time in 100 years the Week of Prayer materials focus on Canada! Our sisters and brothers in Christ all around the world will be praying together in words and through a context that originated here. The Canadian regional ecumenical centers, the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism and the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism have taken the lead in writing the materials which will be used in countries throughout the globe. The Canadian Council of Churches will be promoting these materials, will be encouraging Canadian Christians to pray from sea to sea to sea.
The apostle Paul puts before us all this year the difficult question of I Corinthians 1:13, ‘Has Christ Been Divided?’ Paul is speaking rhetorically, challenging the early church in Corinth and very much challenging us about the divisions in the Body of Christ.
This is a very unique year!
The Church around the world will be praying in and through the words and context of our country. The Church around the world will be challenged by Paul’s words about the divisions in our midst. Be a part of the praying, be open to the challenge, and be with your sisters and brothers of the whole Body of Christ. Many Christians choose to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity between January 18 and 25, beginning with the fest of Saint Peter and ending with the fest of the conversion of Saint Paul. These resources, however, can be used for all proclamations of Christian unity, at any time of year.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton
The Canadian Council of Churches