Services focus on church unity

Published March 1, 2005

Cormac Cardinal Murphy-Oa?’Connor (left) and Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, together celebrated the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at Westminster Cathedral.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams attended solemn vespers and preached at a service at the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January.

The Week of Prayer was observed Jan. 18 to 25, although some churches marked the event at other times.

Archbishop Williams’ first official visit to the cathedral came as a result of an invitation by the archbishop, Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.

Before the service, Archbishop Williams opened and toured an exhibit in the cathedral on Anglicanism, according to Anglican Communion News Service. The exhibit, entitled Anglicanism and the Western Tradition, charts the history of Anglicanism and highlights important ecumenical initiatives, including the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. It was previously on display at the Vatican.

Prayer services were also held around the world to commemorate the Week of Prayer, whose theme was “Our Foundation is Jesus Christ.”

In Canada, Roman Catholic Archbishop Thomas Collins led the opening prayer at a service held at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Edmonton. Also in attendance were Dean Greg Kerr-Wilson of the Anglican diocese of Edmonton, Evangelical Lutheran Bishop Steve Kristenson and Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Lawrence Huculak.

Anglican bishop Peter Coffin of Ottawa marked the week by joining other religious leaders at an ecumenical worship service in Notre Dame Cathedral Jan. 23. Among those present were Roman Catholic archbishop Marcel Gervais, Rev. Grant Dillenbeck of the United Church of Canada, and Rev. Andrew Johnston of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

In the diocese of Rupert’s Land, an ecumenical worship service took place at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral; Christian communities and churches in Winnipeg hosted a Festival of Prayer throughout the week.

Former prime minister John Turner preached at a service of evening prayers held at Toronto’s (Anglican) St. James’ Cathedral. Bishop Colin Johnson joined Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic, Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto, for the service which featured the combined choirs of men and boys from St. James’ and St. Michael’s cathedrals.

In Nairobi, two Roman Catholic and non-Catholic pastors called on Christians to set aside sectarianism and give a united Christian witness, reported the Catholic Information Service for Africa. An inter-denominational service was held at St. Paul’s Catholic University Chaplaincy to mark the celebration.

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