Facing down division: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2015

By staff writers
January 17, 2015

The 2015 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity starts this weekend, on Sunday 18th January.

This year's theme, 'The Well is Deep', has been produced by the churches in Brazil. Brazilians, who have traditionally been proud of their various backgrounds and ethnic groups, are now living through a time of growing intolerance made manifest in high levels of violence, especially against minorities and the vulnerable.

The logic that undergirds this kind of behaviour is competition for the religious market. Increasingly, in Brazil, some Christian groups compete with one another for a place on the mass media, for new members and for public funds.

The Brazilian churches have begun to recognise that intolerance should be dealt with in a positive way – respecting diversity and promoting dialogue as a permanent path of reconciliation and peace in fidelity to the gospel. We can share this recognition.

Although the competition between churches is less obvious in our islands, we are well aware that competition and violent discrimination lie beneath the surface of our lives together.

The Christian message "challenges people to acknowledge that diversity is part of God's design, to approach one another in trust and to see the face of God in the face of all men and women", says Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18 to the 25 January, the octave of St Peter and St Paul. However, some areas observe it at Pentecost or some other time.

* WPCU materials from CTBI: http://www.ctbi.org.uk/681

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