Archive for 2008

Archive pour 2008

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100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

2008 is the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the United States. In 1908, the Rev. Paul Wattson, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, suggested that the period between January 18 and 25 be an octave of prayer for Christian unity. In this proposal, he was giving form to Pope Leo XIII’s 1894 call for an octave of prayer, and to earlier suggestions from the Lambeth Conference and various other leaders. Wattson and the Friars observed the octave at Graymoor beginning in 1908, and championed the octave throughout the United States. In France, efforts to establish the octave in France were led by Fr. Paul Couturier beginning in the late 1920s. Further details can be found in our “A brief history of the Week of Prayer” written by Nicholas Jesson.

2008 offers an opportunity to look back at our efforts at Christian unity and to recognize the central importance of prayer together in Jesus’ name. A new website for the 100th anniversary observances has been established at the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.
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Posted: January 5, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=402
Categories: NewsIn this article: Graymoor, WPCU
Transmis : 5 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=402
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Graymoor, WPCU


Pray without ceasing: 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

“Pray without ceasing” is the theme of the 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Celebrated in Canada from January 20 to 27th, this year the theme is drawn from the St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (I Th. 5:17). Paul’s encouragement to pray without ceasing is particularly apt for this year’s Week of Prayer which commemorates the 100th anniversary of this annual observance.

The materials from the 2008 WPCU international resource package are available for download in PDF format. Adapt these materials in your own settings, and print the worship service freely in your own church bulletins.

Worship services and other events are scheduled across Canada and around the world. Events are listed on this website for Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon, Victoria, and Winnipeg. If you would like us to list your WPCU event in Canada, please email the webeditor.
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Posted: January 9, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=403
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, Canada, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 9 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=403
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, Canada, prayer, WPCU


100 years in search of Christian unity

If you pray for something for 100 years you might find the prayer refines itself in the light of new realities, and then perhaps the prayer itself deepens your understanding and broadens your horizon. For 100 years Christians have been formally setting aside seven or eight days in January to pray with Christ for unity. “It’s really about being on our knees together and praying for the unity that is willed by God, in the way God wants, when God wants,” [Marianist] Father Luis Melo told The Catholic Register.

After 100 years of acknowledging Jesus’ last will and testament in prayer, the theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Pray Without Ceasing.” “We’ve come to a new level of maturity in terms of ecumenical activity,” said Atonement Friar Father Damian MacPherson, ecumenical and interfaith affairs officer for the archdiocese of Toronto. “Perhaps that’s why it’s becoming more difficult.”

Glib talk of an easy and obvious unity among Christians may have been common in the first decade or more after the Second Vatican Council, but as churches make substantial progress — the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification with the Lutheran World Federation and the 1965 rescinding of the excommunications of 1054 between Orthodox and Catholic Churches — ecumenists begin to see how long the road to unity might be. “We cannot be looking for giant steps. It’s painfully slow, painfully slow,” said MacPherson. “Patience is the hallmark of the good ecumenist.”
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Posted: January 11, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=404
Categories: Catholic RegisterIn this article: WPCU
Transmis : 11 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=404
Catégorie : Catholic RegisterDans cet article : WPCU


Common ground sought in special week of prayer

This year marks the 100th anniversary of International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in North America, and the 20th anniversary of the event in Saskatoon. Sister Juliana Heisler, director of parish life at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, has witnessed a steady increase in interest over the past two decades. “Services of prayer
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Posted: January 12, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=6112
Categories: NewsIn this article: Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, Saskatoon, WPCU
Transmis : 12 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=6112
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, Saskatoon, WPCU


Praying together for Christian unity throughout a century of changes

Although prayer is certainly at the heart of Christian life, praying together is not an easy exercise for churches within worldwide Christendom. Even today, common prayers are exceptional events rather than part of the daily life of the churches. But at least once a year it has become “normal” for many churches and congregations to pray together during the annual celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In 2008, the 100th anniversary of this most meaningful ecumenical initiative is being celebrated around the globe.
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Posted: January 14, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=405
Categories: WCC News
Transmis : 14 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=405
Catégorie : WCC News


Un siècle de prière pour l’unité des chrétiens

Bien que la prière soit sans nul doute au coeur de la vie chrétienne, prier ensemble n’est pas une tâche facile pour les Eglises qui forment la chrétienté mondiale. Même aujourd’hui, les prières communes sont des événements exceptionnels plutôt qu’une partie de la vie quotidienne des Eglises. Mais au moins une fois par an, il est devenu “normal” pour beaucoup d’Eglises et de communautés de prier ensemble lors de la célébration annuelle de la Semaine de prière pour l’unité des chrétiens. En 2008, le 100e anniversaire de cette initiative œcuménique hautement significative est célébré partout dans le monde.
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Posted: January 15, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=406
Categories: News
Transmis : 15 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=406
Catégorie : News


Week of Prayer, day 1: Pray always

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed in Canada from January 20 to 27th. The theme is taken from I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

One resource for the Week is a series of biblical reflections for the 8 days. Today’s reflection for Day 1 has been posted on our website.
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Posted: January 20, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=407
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 20 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=407
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, prayer, WPCU


Week of Prayer, day 2: Pray always, trusting God alone

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed in Canada from January 20 to 27th. The theme is taken from I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

One resource for the Week is a series of biblical reflections for the 8 days. Today’s reflection for Day 2 has been posted on our website.

Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5: 18)

1 Kings 18:20-40 • The Lord indeed is God
Ps 23 • The Lord is my shepherd
1 Thess 5: (12a)13b-18 • Give thanks in all circumstances
Jn 11:17-44 • Father, I thank you for having heard me

Commentary

Praying is rooted in the trust that God is powerful and faithful. God alone is the one who holds all in his hands, the present and the future. His word is credible and truthful.

The story of Elijah in 1 Kings impressively demonstrates the oneness of God. Elijah berates the apostates who worship Baal, who is not answering their prayers. Yet when Elijah prays to the one God of Israel, the response is immediate and miraculous. Realizing this, the people turned their hearts back to God.

Psalm 23 is a profound confession of trust. It depicts a person who believes that God guides him and stays with him also in the darkness of life and in situations of desolation and oppression.

We may find circumstances that may be difficult, even turbulent. We may have moments of despair and resignation. Sometimes we feel that God is hidden. But he is not absent. He will manifest his power to liberate in the midst of human struggle. Thus we give thanks to him in all circumstances.

The raising of Lazarus from the dead is one of the most dramatic scenes recorded in John’s gospel. It is a manifestation of Christ’s power to break the bonds of death and an anticipation of the new creation. In the presence of the people Jesus prays aloud, thanking his Father for the mighty deeds he will do. God’s saving work is accomplished through Christ so that all will come to believe.

The ecumenical pilgrimage is a way in which we realize the wondrous deeds of God. Christian communities which have been separated from each other come together. They discover their unity in Christ and come to understand that they are each part of one church and need one another.

The vision of unity can be darkened. It is sometimes threatened by frustrations and tensions. The question may arise whether we Christians are truly called to stay together. Our continuous praying sustains us as we look to God and trust in him. We are confident that he is still at work in us and will lead us to the light of his victory. His kingdom begins with our reconciliation and growing unity.

Prayer

God of all creation, hear your children as we pray. Help us keep our faith and trust in you. Teach us to give thanks in all circumstances, relying on your mercy. Give us truth and wisdom, that your church may arise to new life in one fellowship. You alone are our hope. Amen.

***

Source: 2008 Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
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Posted: January 21, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=408
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 21 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=408
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, prayer, WPCU


Catholic bishops publish protocols for preventing sexual abuse

[CCCB press release] The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is pursuing the work it began nearly 20 years ago on sexual abuse by publishing Orientations for diocesan sexual abuse protocols.

The document is intended to assist Catholic dioceses in Canada in updating their diocesan protocols for the prevention of sexual abuse and for their pastoral response to complaints about possible sexual abuse of minors by clergy or other personnel under diocesan responsibility.

By publishing the Orientations, the CCCB is supporting the work of the Bishops who continue to ensure appropriate measures in their respective dioceses, so children can be in a safe pastoral environment.

The Orientations repeat, clarify and reinforce the recommendations in From Pain to Hope which has been an indispensable reference since its publication in 1992 by the Catholic Bishops of Canada.

The Orientations are the result of extensive consultations – including with victims – and a long, though necessary and fruitful reflection and analysis. Lay experts were also consulted, including specialists in child psychology and others working with young adults and children on a regular basis. The expertise of dioceses, religious organizations and other institutions such as community groups, schools, and sports clubs was also sought out so their experiences as well as research helped to shape the document being made public today.

“These new orientations add to the wide array of resources which the dioceses already have to help improve their diocesan protocols for sexual abuse. The priority is to prevent abuse of any kind, respond to complaints, offer full collaboration with civil authorities, and reduce the risk of sexual abuse,” stated Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg and President of the CCCB.

Because each diocesan Bishop is autonomous, each is responsible for adopting a diocesan protocol, as well as initiating, supporting and maintaining the means for preventing sexual abuse, and also for responding to abuse complaints in the diocese.
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Posted: January 21, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=409
Categories: NewsIn this article: Catholic
Transmis : 21 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=409
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Catholic


Week of Prayer, day 3: Pray without ceasing for the conversion of hearts

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed in Canada from January 20 to 27th. The theme is taken from I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

One resource for the Week is a series of biblical reflections for the 8 days. Today’s reflection for Day 3 has been posted on our website.

Admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted (1Thess 5 : 14)

Jon 3: 1-10 • The repentance of Nineveh
Ps 51: 8-15 • Create a pure heart in me
1 Thess 5: (12a)13b-18 • Encourage the faint-hearted
Mk 11: 15-17 • A house of prayer

Commentary

In the beginning and at the heart of the ecumenical enterprise can be found a pressing call to repentance and to conversion. We sometimes need to know how to call each other to task within our Christian communities as Paul invites us to do in the first epistle to the Thessalonians. If one or the other causes division, he should be rebuked; if some are afraid of all that a difficult reconciliation could imply, they should be encouraged.

Why hide the fact? If divisions between Christians exist, it is also through a lack of will to be committed to ecumenical dialogue and even, simply, to prayer for unity.

The Bible tells us how God sent Jonah to rebuke Nineveh and how the whole city repented. In the same way, Christian communities must listen to the Word of God and repent. In the course of the last century, we have not been lacking in prophets of unity who have made Christians aware of the unfaithfulness manifest in our divisions and reminding them of the urgency of reconciliation.

In the image of the vigorous intervention of Jesus in the temple, the call to Christian reconciliation can seriously call into question our narrow self-understanding. We too have a great need of purification. We need to know how to rid our hearts of all that prevents them from being a true house of prayer, concerned for the unity of all peoples.

Prayer

Lord you desire truth deep-down within us: in the secret of our hearts, you teach us wisdom. Teach us to encourage each other along the road to unity. Show us the conversion necessary for reconciliation. Give to each of us a new, truly ecumenical heart, we pray you. Amen.

***

Source: 2008 Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
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Posted: January 22, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=410
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 22 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=410
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, prayer, WPCU


Week of Prayer, day 4: Pray always for justice

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed in Canada from January 20 to 27th. The theme is taken from I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

One resource for the Week is a series of biblical reflections for the 8 days. Today’s reflection for Day 4 has been posted on our website.

See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all (1 Thess 5: 15)

Ex 3: 1-12 • God hears the cry of the Israelites
Ps 146 • The Lord…secures justice for the oppressed
1 Thess 5: (12a) 13b-18 • See that none of you repays evil for evil
Mt 5: 38-42 • Offer no resistance to one who is evil

Commentary

Together as God’s people, we are called to pray for justice. God hears the cry of the oppressed, the needy, the orphan and the widow. God is a God of justice and answers with his Son, Jesus Christ, who commands us to work together in unity through peace and not through violence. Paul also emphasizes this in the words “see that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all”.

Christians pray without ceasing for justice, that every single human person will be treated with dignity and given a fair share in this world. In the United States of America, the injustice of the slavery of Africans ended only with a bloodletting civil war, followed by a century of state-sponsored racism. Even the churches were segregated according to colour. Sadly, racism and other forms of bigotry, such as fear of the alien, still linger in American life.

Yet it was through the efforts of the churches, particularly the African-American churches and their ecumenical partners, and most especially through the non-violent resistance of the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, that civil rights for all were enshrined in American law. His deeprooted conviction that only Christ-like love truly conquers hate and brings about the transformation of society continues to inspire Christians, drawing them together to work for justice. Dr King’s birthday is a national holiday in the USA. Each year, it falls either just before or within the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

God heard and responded to the cries of the Israelites. God continues to hear and respond to the cries of all who are oppressed. Jesus reminds us that God’s justice is embodied in his own willingness to sacrifice his own security, his own power and prestige and his very life to bring to our world the justice and reconciliation through which all human beings are treated as equal in worth and dignity.

It is only as we hear and respond to the cries of the oppressed that we can move forward together on the road to unity. This also applies to the ecumenical movement, where we may be required to “go the extra mile” in our willingness to listen to one another, reject vindictiveness and act in charity.

Prayer

Lord God, you created humanity, male and female, in the divine image. May we pray without ceasing and with one mind and heart that those who are hungry in our world will be nourished, that those who are oppressed will be freed, that all human persons will be treated with dignity; and may we be your instruments in making this yearning a reality. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

***

Source: 2008 Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
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Posted: January 23, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=411
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 23 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=411
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, prayer, WPCU


Week of Prayer, day 5: Pray constantly with a patient heart

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed in Canada from January 20 to 27th. The theme is taken from I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

One resource for the Week is a series of biblical reflections for the 8 days. Today’s reflection for Day 5 has been posted on our website.

Be patient with all of them (Thess 5: 14)

Ex 17: 1-4 • Why?
Ps 1 • Yield fruit in its season
1 Thess 5: (12a) 13b-18 • Be patient with all of them
Lk 18: 9-14 • A humble prayer

Commentary

We cannot be complacent about the divisions between Christians and we are rightly impatient for the day of our reconciliation to come about. But we must also be conscious that ecumenical effort is not sustained at the same rhythm everywhere. Some go forward in leaps and bounds, others are more prudent. As Paul exhorts, we must be patient with everybody.

Like the Pharisee in prayer, we can easily come before God with the arrogance of those who do all things well: “I am not like other people”. If we are sometimes tempted to denounce the slowness or rashness of the members of our church or those of our ecumenical dialogue partners, the invitation to be patient sounds an important and timely warning.

Sometimes it is towards God that we show our impatience. Like the people in the desert, we sometimes question him: why do we have to continue this painful journey if it is all to no use? Let us stay confident. God responds to our prayers, in his own way and his own time. He will create new ways, to meet today’s needs, of bringing Christians together.

Prayer

Lord, make us your disciples, attentive to your Word, day and night. On our journey towards unity, give us hope for fruit in due season. When prejudices and suspicion seem to dominate, we pray you, give us the humble patience necessary for reconciliation. Amen.

***

Source: 2008 Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
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Posted: January 24, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=412
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 24 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=412
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, prayer, WPCU


Christian youth movements call for signs of unity

[WCC News] A number of major international Christian youth movements and organizations called for stronger efforts towards unity in a joint statement issued on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Addressed to the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches, Christian World Communions and Regional Ecumenical Organizations, the statement asks them to “share ecumenical dialogue with young people” and expresses the commitment of the signatories to “raise awareness of the importance of Christian unity among young people”.
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Posted: January 24, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=413
Categories: WCC News
Transmis : 24 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=413
Catégorie : WCC News


Week of Prayer, day 6: Pray always for grace to work with God

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed in Canada from January 20 to 27th. The theme is taken from I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

One resource for the Week is a series of biblical reflections for the 8 days. Today’s reflection for Day 6 has been posted on our website.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5: 16)

2 Sam 7: 18-29 • David’s prayer of praise and rejoicing
Ps 86 • Incline your ear, O Lord
1 Thess 5:(12a) 13b-18 • Rejoice always
Lk 10: 1-24 • The sending of the seventy-two

Commentary

In prayer we are aligning our wills to the will of God and so participating in the fulfilment of his purpose. We need the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of believers, so that we have the grace to work with God and become part of his mission and his goal of unity. As we pray for this without ceasing we are aware that “more workers are needed for the harvest”. At many ecumenical gatherings, and particularly at the annual National Workshop on Christian Unity in the USA, it is recognized that if the ecumenical movement is to prosper today and in the next generation, more young people need to be drawn into it. We need more workers to experience the joy of praying to be part of the work of God.

The readings for Day 6 give us insight into what it means to work for the sake of the gospel. David, amazed that he might be part of the plan to build a magnificent temple for the Lord, asks, “Can God indeed dwell on earth?” then concludes, “Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you”.

The psalmist prays, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I will give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever”.

In the sending of the seventy-two, Jesus confirms that through his disciples, and those who would come to believe in him through their word, his peace and the news that “the kingdom of God has come near to you” would be proclaimed to the world. At their joyful return, despite rejection, Jesus rejoices at their success in the submission of the evil spirits in his name: the message is never to cease, never to give up.

God’s will is for his people to be one. Like the Christians in Thessalonika, we are urged to “rejoice always” and “pray without ceasing”, trusting that as we commit ourselves wholly to working with God, his purpose of unity will finally be fulfilled.

Prayer

Lord God, in the perfect unity of your being, keep our hearts so burning with the desire and hope for unity that we will never stop working for the sake of your gospel. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

***

Source: 2008 Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
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Posted: January 25, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=414
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 25 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=414
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, prayer, WPCU


Week of Prayer, day 7: Pray for what we need

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed in Canada from January 20 to 27th. The theme is taken from I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

One resource for the Week is a series of biblical reflections for the 8 days. Today’s reflection for Day 7 has been posted on our website.

… help the weak (1 Thess 5: 14)

1 Sam 1: 9-20 • Hannah prays for a son
Ps 86 • Listen to my cry of supplication
1 Thess 5: (12a)13b-18 • We urge you… to help the weak
Lk 11: 5-13 • Ask and it will be given you

Commentary

Unable to bear a child and in great distress, Hannah prayed to God for a son and in due time, her prayers were answered and Samuel (which means I have asked him of the Lord) was born. In Luke’s gospel, we read that Jesus himself tells us to “ask and it shall be given” and in our need, we turn to God in prayer. The response may not be what we expect but God always responds.

The power of prayer is immense, especially when linked to service. From the gospels, we know that Christ wants us to love and serve one another. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, the theme of service is taken up in the imperative: “help the weak”. We do not find it impossible to respond ecumenically in a practical way to people’s weakness or distress; churches of different traditions often work hand in hand. But their witness in some situations is seriously weakened by their division, and when we want to pray together, we are sometimes deeply suspicious of the different prayer forms we encounter in Christian traditions other than our own: Roman Catholic prayers which are addressed to God through the saints or Mary the mother of Jesus; Orthodox liturgical prayers; Pentecostal prayers; the spontaneous, Protestant prayers which address God in direct, everyday language.

There are signs however of a new consideration of different forms of prayer. Within American churches, the experience of Pentecostal renewal has also led to a greater appreciation of the power of prayer and Pentecostals have begun to feel more comfortable in the ecumenical movement. Discussions with the Orthodox churches in the World Council of Churches have led to greater appreciation of each other’s prayer forms.

Without doubt, confidence in the power of prayer is common to all our traditions and has rich potential to further the cause of Christian unity – once we can understand and overcome our differences. We should give prayerful support to the dialogues which seek to address those differences among our churches and which prevent us from coming together at the Lord’s table. Praying together that prayer of remembrance and thanksgiving would allow a great stride to be taken along the road to unity.

Prayer

Help us, Lord, to be truly one in praying for the healing of our world, for the mending of divisions in our churches, and of ourselves. May we not doubt that you hear and will answer us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

***

Source: 2008 Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
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Posted: January 26, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=415
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 26 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=415
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, prayer, WPCU


Week of Prayer, day 8: Pray always that they all may be one

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed in Canada from January 20 to 27th. The theme is taken from I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

One resource for the Week is a series of biblical reflections for the 8 days. Today’s reflection for Day 8 has been posted on our website.

Be at peace (I Thess 5:13b)

Is 11: 6-13 • The wolf shall live with the lamb
Ps 122 • Peace be within your walls
1 Thess 5: (12a) 13b-18 • Be at peace among yourselves
Jn 17: 6-24 • That they all may be one

Commentary

God’s desire for human beings is that we live in peace with one another. This peace is not only an absence of war or conflict; the shalom desired by God is that which arises from a reconciled humanity, a human family which participates in and embodies the peace which God alone can give. Isaiah’s image of the wolf living with the lamb, the leopard lying down with the kid, offers an imaginative glimpse of the future God desires for us. While this shalom is not something that we can create on our own, we are called to be instruments of the Lord’s peace, artisans of God’s reconciling work. Peace, like unity, is a gift and a calling.

Jesus’ plea for the unity of his disciples did not take the form of a commandment or a request. It took the form of a prayer, words lifted up before the Father on the night before Jesus was put to death. It is a prayer which rises from the depths of his heart and of his mission, as he prepares his disciples for all that is to come: Father, may they all be one.

As we mark the 100th anniversary of the Octave/Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrating it within the context of the yearnings, prayers and initiatives for the unity of Christians through the centuries, we do well to take stock of where we are on this Spirit-led journey. It is a time to give thanks for the many fruits of prayer for unity. In many places, animosity and misunderstanding have given way to respect and friendship between Christians and Christian communities. Christians who have gathered together to pray for unity have often joined together in acts of common witness to the gospel, and worked side by side in serving those in great need. Dialogue has assisted in building bridges of understanding, and has led to the resolution of some of the doctrinal differences which have separated us.

Yet it is also a time to repent, for in our divisions we continue to stand under the judgement of Jesus’ prayer for unity and Paul’s imperative that we be at peace among ourselves. In the present day, Christians are publicly divided on many issues: in addition to our ongoing doctrinal differences, we are often at odds with each other on moral and ethical questions, on matters of war and peace, on current issues where common witness is called for. Internally divided and in conflict with each other, we fall short of the lofty calling to be signs and instruments of the unity and peace willed by God.

What then shall we say? There is reason to rejoice, and cause for sorrow. It is a moment to give thanks for those of past generations who have spent themselves generously at the service of reconciliation, and a time to recommit ourselves to be artisans of the unity and peace which Christ desires. And it is a time to ponder again what it means to pray always, through our words and deeds, through the lives of our churches.

Prayer

Lord, make us one: one in our words, that a single reverent prayer might rise before you; one in our yearning and pursuit of justice; one in love, serving you by serving the least of our sisters and brothers; one in longing for your face. Lord, make us one in you. Amen

***

Source: 2008 Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
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Posted: January 27, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=416
Categories: NewsIn this article: 2008, prayer, WPCU
Transmis : 27 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=416
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : 2008, prayer, WPCU


US Baptists gather to forge new covenant

More than 20,000 Baptists from across North America will gather in Atlanta January 30-February 1, 2008, in an unprecedented demonstration of Baptist unity. The history-making event will culminate months of planning by leaders of more than 30 Baptist organizations who laid the groundwork for a new era of cooperation during a series of meetings at The Carter Center in 2006 and early 2007.

The New Baptist Covenant is an informal alliance of more than 30 racially, geographically, and theologically diverse Baptist organizations from throughout North America that claim more than 20 million members. Representatives of these Baptist organizations have reaffirmed traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality, as well as their obligations as Christians to fulfill the biblical mandate to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.

Under the theme “Unity in Christ,” the three-day Atlanta Celebration will feature speakers and presenters who will address historic Baptist commitments and explore other opportunities to work together as Christian partners. The Biblical text for the Celebration is Luke 4:18-19. Themes for the five plenary sessions are:

• Unity in Seeking Peace with Justice
• Unity in Bringing Good News to the Poor
• Unity in Respecting Diversity
• Unity in Welcoming the Stranger
• Unity in Setting the Captive Free

In addition to the plenary sessions, the Celebration will feature 16 special-interest sessions dealing with topics such as racism, religious liberty, poverty, the AIDS pandemic, faith in public policy, stewardship of the earth, evangelism, financial stewardship, and prophetic preaching.

Joint Midwinter Board Meeting

Prior to the New Baptist Covenant Celebration, the Joint Midwinter Board Meeting of the National Baptist Conventions in America, represented by the four Black Baptist Conventions — National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (NBCUSA, Inc.), National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. (NBCA, Inc.), Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. (PNBC, Inc.), and National Missionary Baptist Convention of America (NMBCA) — will be held January 28 – 30 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The mission of this second historic meeting is to continue strengthening the bonds between the four Conventions.

The Joint Midwinter Board Meeting is expected to draw 10,000 attendees from across the nation, and the world, who will meet over a three-day period to review the business and governance of their respective Conventions, engage in biblically based educational and informational forums highlighting community, domestic, and world issues, and join in Christian fellowship. The four Conventions will come together daily for joint sessions and activities, in addition to holding separate meetings. This is the second gathering of the four Conventions, and as agreed upon by each Convention president during the groundbreaking 2005 gathering in Nashville, TN, it will continue to be a regularly scheduled meeting held every three to four years.
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Posted: January 30, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=417
Categories: Conferences, NewsIn this article: Baptist, Christian unity, church, events
Transmis : 30 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=417
Catégorie : Conferences, NewsDans cet article : Baptist, Christian unity, church, events


Anglican Primate writes to PM on capital punishment

[ACC News – January 30, 2008] What follows is the text of a letter written by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, to Prime Minister Stephen Harper dealing with the federal government’s stance on Canadians sentenced to death in foreign jurisdictions.

29 January, 2008

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2

Dear Mr. Prime Minister

On behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada, we write to express our grave concern regarding the decision of the Government of Canada to accept the imposition of the death penalty on Canadians under the jurisdictions of other countries.

We refer to the case of Ronald Allen Smith, a Canadian citizen on death row in the state of Montana, USA, and to the November 1, 2007 statement made by Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day to the House of Commons, that this government “will not actively pursue bringing back to Canada murderers who have been tried in a democratic country that supports the rule of law.”

This decision constitutes a serious departure from Canada’s historic efforts to seek clemency for Canadians facing the death penalty in foreign countries.

The Anglican Church of Canada stands with the worldwide Anglican Communion against any government who practises capital punishment, and in favour of seeking alternative ways to sentence offenders so that the divine dignity of every human being is respected and yet justice is pursued (Lambeth 1988).

The Anglican Church of Canada affirms the sacredness of all human life as God’s gift to creation. We believe every human being is made in God’s image, regardless of the degree to which it has been distorted. We oppose the death penalty in every circumstance as an act of violence in response to violence – an act which strikes at the very heart of society (House of Bishops 1984).

Therefore, we call on the Government of Canada to reverse its present stance and to intervene strenuously with other governments when Canadians face a sentence of execution, as has been the practice in the past.

We respectfully request a reply to this letter stating the reasons for this policy reversal and indicating your future intentions.

Sincerely,

+Fred

The Most Reverend Fred J. Hiltz,
Archbishop and Primate
The Anglican Church of Canada

Copied to:
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P.,
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
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Posted: January 30, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=418
Categories: NewsIn this article: Anglican
Transmis : 30 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=418
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Anglican


Feminist Theology, Feminist Art

The Friends of Sophia winter programme will begin with a presentation by Dr. Mary Ann Beavis, Professor of New Testament at St. Thomas More College. Mary Ann will explore the relationship between feminist theology and Canadian women’s art, focusing on the work of Bernice Santor, Pnina Granirer and Lilian Broca.
Wed, January 30, 2008, @ 7:30 pm in the St. Andrew’s College Lounge.
Parking is available. Please use the parking circle by the main doors, not the Parking Lot.
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Posted: January 30, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=419 In this article: events, Friends of Sophia, Saskatoon, women Transmis : 30 janvier 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=419 Dans cet article : events, Friends of Sophia, Saskatoon, women


Kenya: The roots of the violence

The following commentary on the recent violence in Kenya was written by Giuseppe Caramazza, a Comboni Missionary working in Kenya for 16 years. The article was published in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper, on January 30, 2008. The English translation presented here was prepared by Matthew Sherry for www.Chiesa, a weblog by Sandro Magister of La Repubblica.

The roots of the violence
by Giuseppe Caramazza

In the international press, the violence that is shaking Kenya is still being defined in relation to the electoral upheaval that began in the African country at the end of December. In reality, one should not confuse the political protest with the killings that are taking place above all in the Rift Valley, the region that divides the country in two, from north to south. Nor should one forget the hundreds of persons killed and the more than 250,000 internal refugees, mostly housed by parishes and convents. It is true, however, that there is a connection between the political crisis and the violence.

During the electoral campaign, the political opposition often said that, once it had come to power, it would employ the politics of the majimbo. This is a Swahili word that we can translate as regionalization. The Catholic Church, like other Christian confessions, immediately declared its opposition to this. Why?

In the colonial era, the English divided the country along tribal lines, and not always in keeping with the territories that were truly controlled by the various ethnic groups. This led to a rigid territorial division that was then adopted by the newly created republic of Kenya. It should not be forgotten that when the English took control of Kenya, they wanted to see in African society a reality that had been fixed for centuries, while in fact there were populations on the move, and, in some cases, common territories that were exploited in different ways by two or more ethnic groups.

It should also not be forgotten that two hundred years ago the population of Kenya was a small fraction of what it is now. It would be impossible to propose going back to the former borders today. With independence, the centralized English administration continued, and was even strengthened during the years of the semi-dictatorship of President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi.

The proponents of the majimbo want to restore to the regions the right to administrate their own resources. The government has not accepted this idea., and the Churches have aligned themselves against it because it conceals the terrible seed of tribalism.

Already in the past, the former president Moi used this card to reinforce his position among the ethnic groups of the Rift Valley. Every time that he wanted to frighten the residents who were not originally from the region, he threatened them with the majimbo. The message was clear: those who were not originally from a particular place did not have the right to live there or to own property. This goes against the constitutional principle that sees Kenya as a united country and gives Kenyans the right to live anywhere within the borders of the nation. These are principles that are not readily admitted by many who still today perceive as their place of origin the ancestral territory as it was delineated by the colonial administration.

After the disaster of the presidential election last December 27, in various areas of the Rift Valley some members of the local ethnic groups saw the opportunity to drive out the “foreigners” and appropriate their lands and their other belongings. It is clear that the ethnic group hardest hit was that of the Kikuyu. They are the largest ethnic group, their ancestral territory is not sufficient to accommodate all of them, and so many of the Kikuyu have bought land in the Rift Valley and have turned it into model farms.

But it is not a question only of the Kikuyu. The Luya are being targeted in the area of Eldoret, the Kamba near Nakuru, the Kisii in Kipkelion. It could not have been expected that the Kikuyu would stand around twiddling their thumbs, and in fact there has been violence in Nakuru and Naivasha, which are Kikuyu-majority cities.

It should not be forgotten that the worst violence has occurred in the places that have been experiencing insecurity for years. The clashes in Londiani, Molo, and Cherengani today have something sinister about them, since there has been similar violence in these areas almost constantly over the past five years. This is not, therefore, a new outbreak of tension, but the explosion of a violence with ancient roots.

In recent days, moreover, the group Human Rights Watch published a report in which it affirms that the politicians of the Orange Democratic Movement, the opposition party, have fomented ethnic hatred in many areas, have collected money for the purchase of weapons, and have asked residents to expel the members of other ethnic groups from their property. New investigations will shed more light on these accusations. It is clear, however, that the majimbo has been invoked by the opposition, and they are culpably responsible for the violence of recent days.

In Nairobi, the political demonstrations have died down, giving way to various mediation initiatives. The slums, which house the majority of the population on less than ten percent of the urban land, are being kept under control. So far, it has not been possible to bring the government and the opposition to meet at the same table. Former UN secretary Kofi Annan has made concerted efforts in recent days, and has succeeded in making a few small openings for dialogue. The bishops have encouraged Kofi Annan to continue along this path, and have invited President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to make room for dialogue.

Dialogue between the contending parties has always been the solution adopted by Kenyans to address questions between two rivals. Nonetheless, the violence and the public accusations exchanged between the two parties risk blocking the process and clouding the vision of the contending parties. Whatever the political solution, it is clear that the major questions that must be addressed are the ones that went unresolved during the previous government of Kibaki: the fair distribution of land, access for all to the country’s resources, growth of the civic sense of the population and its right to participate in the political debate.
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Posted: February 1, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=420
Categories: News
Transmis : 1 février 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=420
Catégorie : News


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