8. At the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity gather your
planning group and other interested persons for an evaluation of your local
observance of the Week. Part of the evaluation may be your response to the form
provided with these resource materials (see Response Form). At this meeting, try
to get a commitment for next year. You could also consider setting up an ongoing
ecumenical task force for your area to promote other prayer services throughout
the year as well as other ways to promote the ecumenical movement through bible
study, lectures, social justice projects, etc. See Continuing the Commitment to
Christian Unity Throughout the Year.
1. Schedule at least one major Ecumenical Celebration of the Word of God during the Week of Prayer. You can link on to a copy of the service at this website. The celebration can fall on any day of the week. Ecumenical Sunday, that is the Sunday falling within the Week of Prayer (January 22 in 2006), or the first day of the Week (January 18), or the last (January 25), often works well. These services of prayer tend to be easier to schedule as evening prayer services. In some communities Christians come together to pray for unity at another time of the year. The materials provided may be used flexibly.
2. During the Week of Prayer worship daily in different churches of the community using the traditional prayer forms of the host congregation. If possible or permitted, include in each service leaders, readers and choirs from the various participating congregations. Follow the service with refreshments and fellowship.
3. Where joint worship cannot be shared, have pulpit and/or choir exchanges, observing the norms of reciprocity of the participating churches.
4. Include activities and events of neighborhood churches and congregations in your Sunday bulletin. Ask the other churches to do the same for your events. Encourage attendance and participation in one another’s events, mindful of the norms of each community.
5. Pray together ecumenically, or in your own church for the ministers, leaders and members of all the Christian congregations in your area. Include a petition for their success in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “that they all may be one.”
6. Organize a concert to share the music used in different worship traditions.
7. Organize tours of area churches conducted by guides who can share each church’s art, architecture, history, organization, liturgical traditions, membership profile, outreach programs, etc. Conclude with a time for refreshments and fellowship.
8. On Ecumenical Sunday or another time during the Week of Prayer, include prayers for ecumenical ministries and organizations. Display media materials from these agencies. During the prayer services, call for an offering of food, clothing and money designated for these agencies.
9. Launch a speaker series, featuring theologians, ecumenical specialists/staff, spiritual directors or social justice leaders.
10. Use Ecumenical Sunday as a study day for your congregation or a group of congregations in your area to learn more about living a faithful Christian life ecumenically. Update your community on the progress being made and the hurdles yet to pass on the road to Christian unity.
11. Offer posters, pamphlets and other materials from ecumenical agencies in church vestibules or common community rooms and fellowship halls.
12. Ask representatives of ecumenical groups, agencies, communities of prayer and interchurch marriage and family support groups to share materials at an ecumenical fair during fellowship hour following your Sunday service/liturgy or during an afternoon or evening program.
13. Coordinate a child/youth Ecumenical Sunday experience in the community. Mimes, musicians, storytellers and crafts persons offer unique ways to develop future ecumenists. In the context of an Ecumenical Sunday fun fair, families and individuals can experience ecumenism and perhaps become more deeply involved in building unity among the churches.
14. Sponsor a contest – essay, prayer, art, poster – to involve young people in an effort to articulate and illustrate the quest for Christian unity or the 2006 Week of Prayer theme. Offer prizes, display the entries and include the winners in a Week of Prayer event.
15. Organize joint meetings of similar congregational groups – catechists and Sunday school teachers, parish councils and vestries, finance committees, youth, seniors, men’s, women’s, interchurch families – for prayer, socializing and informal sharing of experiences.
16. Schedule joint Bible study sessions around the scriptural theme Matthew 18:15-22, suggested for the 2006 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. These could be hosted in homes or in parishes on a rotating basis. Ministers and teachers of various congregations could also take turns as worship leaders and study guides. The gathering should include informal prayer for the unity of the Church. Hopefully, the group might wish to extend such study and prayer throughout the year.
17. Offer a morning, afternoon or evening for reflection focusing on the prayer of Christ “that they all may be one” from John 17:1-26 and on this year’s theme from Matthew 18:15-22.