THE Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins on Monday, will bring together people around the world in a practice that predates the technological togetherness of Zoom: prayer.
Prayer helps people to stay connected through the pandemic, even while physical contact is so limited, the interim deputy general secretary for the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Revd Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, has said. The WCC organises the week with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in Rome.
“Prayer often involves a kind of self-isolation, focusing our minds and hearts on the love of Christ; but when we pray for unity, we enter into closer communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ,” Dr Mateus said.
The theme for this year’s week of prayer is “Abide in my love, and you will bear much fruit.”
The material for the week was prepared by the community of Grandchamp, in Switzerland, where 50 Sisters with diverse backgrounds from countries around the world live.
“It is not easy to always remain in Christ, to abide in his love,” the prieure of Grandchamp, Sister Anne-Emmanuelle, said. “Daily community life is where I can verify where I stand with my love of others and of God. For how can I say that I love God if I do not love my sister, my brother, living alongside me?”
The General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, Bob Fyffe, said that the worldwide threat of the pandemic should bring the world together in prayer and a pledge to rebuild.
“The ecumenical movement grew out of the ashes of the Second World War. It is always during times of chaos and suffering that we realise our need to rebuild together. Our unity in Christ underpins our work for climate justice and for the health of all nations. Our witness is stronger when we witness together and pray together.”
Resources for the week are available on oikoumene.org, and prayers will be broadcast daily from the Grandchamp community’s website, grandchamp.org/en/community.