The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be celebrated Jan. 21 to 28 in Canada with the theme Be Opened. The theme’s Scripture passage is Mark 7: 31-37, in which Jesus cures a deaf and mute man with the words “be opened,” enabling him to speak and hear.
This year, the featured country is South Africa. The theme was chosen by South African churches near Durban and partly relates to their experience with HIV/AIDS. It refers to fighting the silence and shame often associated with HIV/AIDS.
The week of prayer (generally celebrated around Jan. 18 and 25, the feasts of Saints Peter and Paul) is co-ordinated by a joint committee of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Commission for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
Kits with worship resources may be viewed and purchased from the Canadian Council of Churches (www.ccc-cce.ca). National and regional councils of churches work to adapt and add to these resources as appropriate to their local context. The Canadian resources are produced by an ecumenical committee, co-ordinated by the Council’s Commission on Faith and Witness.
The kit contains material for ecumenical worship services in English, French and bilingual versions; planning tips and hymn suggestions; eight biblical reflections on the week’s theme and biblical commentary. It also includes two full-colour posters and suggestions for ecumenical prayer throughout the year.