The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place this week, beginning on Thursday last 18 January and continuing until this Thursday 25 January. The theme of this year’s Week is ‘That all may be free’. A number of events to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are taking place this week in parish and diocese across Ireland.
Welcoming the week, co-chairs of the Irish Inter–Church Meeting, Bishop Brendan Leahy, Catholic Bishop of Limerick, and Church of Ireland Bishop John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher, encouraged member churches to use this global initiative as an opportunity to come together in reflection, prayer and fellowship.
In their joint statement, the bishops said, ‘The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an important opportunity for shared reflection which reminds us of our connection to our fellow Christians near and far, and encourages us to pray together for issues that are of shared concern.
‘This year’s material has been prepared by the churches of the Caribbean, a region that has suffered some of the worst effects of global inequalities, injustice and human rights abuses. The issues addressed in the resources include human trafficking and modern–day slavery, forms of injustice which are sadly familiar to many people in our churches who have been working to raise awareness of these terrible crimes on the island of Ireland, and provide support to victims.
‘The 2018 theme includes strong messages about human dignity and overcoming violence, as well as a powerful call to reconciliation “that all may be free”. Our member churches are already involved in many different types of shared initiative to show care for and solidarity with the most vulnerable, those who are marginalised or victims of injustice. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity encourages us to support that work through prayer and reflection, inspiring us to go further and do more throughout the rest of the year.’
For more information on the Irish Council of Churches, please see www.irishchurches.org.
Resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity were produced by the churches of the Caribbean region, and uses Exodus chapter 15, ‘your right hand O Lord, glorious in power’ a song of triumph over oppression, as the motif. The Caribbean region is home to 1.4 million Christians of various ethnicities, languages and religious traditions.
Using the context of the churches in the Caribbean, the resources describe highlight how the hand of God was active in ending slavery, and how God’s mission in the world is a call to us all to unite together in ending injustice, poverty, trafficking and discrimination.
The resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can be found on www.catholicbishops.ie.