Action and reflection on water need brings churches together

By staff writers
January 27, 2015

Among a number of global observances of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which ran from 18-25 January 205, Brazilian Christians were joined by the National Council of Churches in India, through the issuing of an invitation to reflection and action on water.

The theme “water is right – water is life” was set out as an unavoidable concern for the faith communities to initiate a conversation about water, prayerfully pledge to conserve it, and to care for the earth.

The need for overcoming divisions through a renewed emphasis on what unites was also recognised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). In sharing prayer material online, CTBI underlined the fact that “competition and violent discrimination lie beneath the surface of our lives”.

Jesus challenges us “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,” the official ecumenical body said.

Invited by the Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby, primate of the Church of England, members of Chemin Neuf, a Roman Catholic movement with focus on spiritual renewal and Christian unity, came to live at Lambeth Palace during WPCU in order to share in the daily life of prayer.

The Chemin Neuf community has launched a video prayer project for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The project includes videos from young Christians offering prayers for different churches.

This year’s WPCU materials were also made available by the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC). Maria Simakova, co-ordinator for the CCC’s commission on faith and witness, told the Anglican Journal, “This image the Brazilian Christians are offering to world Christians and to Canadian Christians is an image speaking of complementarity; so to drink the water from somebody else’s well is the first step toward experiencing their way of being and being in communion.”

She added that the theme is meaningful for CCC’s mission to promote unity and diversity.

As part of the week of prayer, an ecumenical service was also held at the Syriac Orthodox Church in Beirut, Lebanon, attended by Catholicos Aram I, head of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, along with Archbishop Shahe Panossian, Prelate of Lebanon, among others.

Reflecting on the week of prayer on social media, WCC General Secretary the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit declared: “The unity of the Church we seek on our way is unity in the water of baptism, renewed at every well where we share life and the grace of God”.

“The unity in life means sharing our needs and the resources given by God,” he added.

* WCC materials for WPCU: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/commissions/faith-and-or...

* More on Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/wpcu

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