Ecumenical News International
Every church in Canada is being asked to ring its bells on Jan. 1, 2000 to celebrate the third millennium of Christianity as part of a project that has united a broad coalition of Christians.
The project ? Together 2000: Christians in Canada honouring Jesus ? is sponsored by the Canadian Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
The council has 19 member and associate member denominations, including most mainstream Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. The fellowship is a national association of 32 evangelical denominations and 1,000 local congregations and many other Christian organizations.
Historically there has been a tendency for evangelical Christians and those involved in ecumenical organizations to regard each other with suspicion. Never before have the two organizations co-sponsored a project.
Together 2000 includes a number of suggested activities, including the ringing of church bells, shared prayers on Jan. 2, the first Sunday of the new millennium, and encouraging churches to engage in “new projects and acts of compassion.”
Janet Somerville, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, said the idea of organizing a joint project originated with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and was “inspired by the passion of Don Posterski of World Vision Canada. He longed to see all the Christians in Canada doing something together to usher in the third millennium of Christianity.”
Although “the media see the year 2000 primarily as a plague of computer glitches,” Ms. Somerville said, “people are more aware now that technological quick-fixes leave some of the world’s deep wounds very much unfixed … As a new millennium opens, we Christians want to renew each other in the hope that Jesus embodies.”
In the project’s Internet web site, Mr. Posterski expresses the hope that Canadian Christians will be able to find a voice next year that is “ecumenical in spirit, evangelical in passion, pentecostal in enthusiasm, catholic and inclusive in scope, and respectful and neighbourly towards everyone.”
Anglicans, among others, are asked to reveal their plans to the project, by e-mail at [email protected]; by phone at (416) 233-2020, fax at (416) 236-4532 or by mail to Together2000, 3250 Bloor St. W., 2nd Floor, Toronto, ON., M8X 2Y4.