Joint Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 18-25, 2003
“We hold this treasure – this gift – in earthen vessels...
therefore we do not lose heart...” (2 Cor 4:5-18)

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

In troubled times of human fragility our reliance on God remains more important than ever. We call on all Christian people to acknowledge how gifted we are to have the undeserved grace of Jesus Christ given to us even in our weakness. In these times of global tension Christian solidarity is ever more important. The call to the unity of the church and common ministry among Christians is ever more urgent.

During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we pray for one another and for our common ministry in the world. When Christian divisions may seem insurmountable, we are consoled because we know “since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart” (2 Cor 4:1). We recognize our communion among Christians as real, if yet imperfect. We also realize the fragility of the unity even within our own churches. But, as we are admonished by our scripture for the week, it is “made clear that this extraordinary power does not come from us” (2 Cor 4:7). Unity within our churches, like the unity of the church, will only be given and sustained by the grace of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit.

The Lord strengthens us as Christians to witness together to the world. It enables us together, even before our churches are fully united, to collaborate in dialogue with other peoples of faith, to reach out to the world in a witness for justice and peace, and to serve that unity for which Christ prayed.

May our ministry of prayer during this special week spill over into a life of common ministry and service, and a year-long spiritual journey towards that unity which only the Holy Spirit can give.


Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos
Ecumenical Officer
Greek Orthodox
Archdiocese of America


Rev. Lydia Veliko
for Ecumenical Relations
United Church of Christ 


Rt. Rev. Christopher Epting
enical Relations
Episcopal Church Center

Rev. Jon S. Enslin
Interim Director and Assistant to the Presiding Bishop
for Ecumenical Affairs
The Rev. Arthur L. Kennedy
Executive Director
Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops




Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute
PO Box 300, Garrison, New York 10524-0300