WASHINGTON – Christian churches and communities across the nation will celebrate their unity next week with prayer meetings, services, and worship events.
As part of the international Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, groups such as the National Council of Churches and the Presbyterian Church USA are making available resources for local churches to use as they plan out various activities.
This year, the theme of the weeklong ecumenical event is "When two or three gathered in my name," referring to Jesus’ promise that he will be among those Christians who meet together.
The week also comes at a pivotal time in global ecumenism. Within the last few months, the heads of Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches met with Pope Benedict XVI to affirm the need for greater cooperation among Christian traditions.
The main sponsors of the Week of Prayer are the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches, of which hundreds of denominations take part. The initiative officially began in 1964 during the Second Vatican Council with a call for prayer on the soul of the ecumenical movement. However, the week dates to 1740, when a Pentecostal movement in Scotland, with North American links, featured a revivalist message calling for prayers among all churches.