As united services and other joint ecumenical events are not possible this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, Churches Together in Britain & Ireland has produced a number of resources which can be downloaded from the CTBI website –
The THEME for this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is ABIDING IN CHRIST – "Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit" John 15 1-17.
The resources have been prepared by the MONASTIC COMMUNITY OF GRANDCHAMP in Switzerland where every day the fifty sisters resident in the Community begin the day reciting their Rule of Life, praying that "God may reign" with the focus being on PRAYER AND EVERYDAY LIFE BEING UNITED. This ecumenical Community was founded in the 1930s.
The THEMES FOR THE EIGHT DAILY REFLECTIONS are set out on the CTBI website, and for each day it is suggested that we might like to reflect on the day's theme as follows –
DAY 1 – CALLED BY GOD
Spend time exploring what is unfamiliar to you in another Christian tradition.
DAY 2 – MATURING INTERNALLY
Give thanks and pray for children you know.
DAY 3 – FORMING ONE BODY
Consider the clothing in your wardrobe and the lives and hands that have touched the clothes. Have they been made with fair pay and in good working conditions?
DAY 4 – PRAYING TOGETHER
Consider how your own prayer practices inform and influence your action in the world.
DAY 5 – BEING TRANSFORMED BY THE WORD
Read the Beatitudes through slowly (Matthew 5 vv 3-11). Which of the actions described in the passage are you encouraged to take today?
DAY 6 – WELCOMING OTHERS
Identify who "the other" is for you. How might you offer a welcome to them in your next encounter? NOTE Much of the resource material for the week was prepared before Covid-19 restrictions came into force across the world.
DAY 7 – GROWING IN UNITY
Consider and commit to one act of unity.
DAY 8 – RECONCILING WITH ALL OF CREATION
Take action for climate justice in your own life.
I hope that this brief guide will encourage members from across the circuit to engage with this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Each year the "week" actually covers EIGHT DAYS – its title was therefore originally the OCTAVE OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY. It began in 1908, is international in nature and is coordinated annually by the World Council of Churches.
James Strawson (Cranleigh Methodist Church)