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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
2014

BACKGROUND: Acknowledgments

2014 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

IN MEMORIAM

With gratitude, the International Committee commends these great ecumenists to our heavenly Father’s eternal love.

PROF. RALPH DEL COLLE (1954 – 2012) Professor Ralph Del Colle, a Roman Catholic systematic theologian, Associate Professor of Theology at Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA), died on 29 July 2012. From 1998, he was a member of the Pentecostal/Catholic International Dialogue, and took part in the Informal Conversations with the Seventh-Day Adventists (2001-2002) as well as in the official delegation attending the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Harare in 1998. A dedicated spirit and a joyful approach always marked his contribution to the meetings of the dialogue. Throughout his career, he generously offered his expertise in the firm conviction that unity is God’s will and the irrevocable path for all Christians.

PROF. MARGARET O’GARA (1947 – 2012) Dr Margaret O’Gara, Professor of Theology at the University of St Michael’s College, Toronto, died on 16 August 2012 after two years of illness. A Roman Catholic who specialized in Church teaching authority and ecumenical dialogue, she was active in ecumenical work for over 35 years, and was appointed to numerous ecumenical dialogue commissions. Dr O’Gara served on the Disciples of Christ/Roman Catholic International Commission for Dialogue (1983), the US Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue (1994), and the Evangelical/Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (2008). In addition, she also served for 18 years on the Anglican/Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (1976-1993) and for 12 years on the Lutheran/Roman Catholic International Commission for Unity (1995-2006). She also served as President of the Catholic Theological Society of America and of the North American Academy of Ecumenists.

Selection of the Theme:

The theme and text for each year's observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are chosen and prepared by representatives of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The original draft of this year’s Week of Prayer material was prepared was chosen by the Churches of Canada. Canadians live in a country that is marked by diversity in language, culture, and even climate, and we also embody diversity in our expressions of Christian faith. Living with this diversity, but being faithful to Christ’s desire for the unity of his disciples, has led us to a reflection on Paul’s provocative question in I Corinthians: “Has Christ been Divided?” The initial work on the theme for this year’s week of prayer material was prepared by a group of representatives from different parts of Canada, brought together at the invitation of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism. We particularly wish to thank:

Ms. Bernice Baranowski (Roman Catholic), Centre canadien d'oecuménisme, Montréal

Rev. Dr. Sandra Beardsall (United Church of Canada), Professor of Church History and Ecumenics, St. Andrew`s College, Saskatoon

Rev. Michel Belzile (Baptist), Greenborough Community Church, Toronto

Rev. Amanda Currie, minister and clerk of the Presbytery of Northern Saskatchewan, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Saskatoon 

Nicholas Jesson, ecumenical officer, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon

Norman Lévesque (Roman Catholic), executive director (interim), Centre canadien d'oecuménisme and director of the Green Church program

Deacon Anthony Mansour (Orthodox Church in America), executive director (2006-2012), Centre canadien d'oecuménisme, Montréal

Rev. Dr. David MacLachlan (United Church of Canada), professor of New Testament studies, Atlantic School of Theology, Halifax

Rev. John Wilson (United Church of Canada), Summerside, Prince Edward Island

And with draft texts and thoughtful proposals from: 

 Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton (United Church of Canada), general secretary, Canadian Council of Churches

Rev. Dr. Gilles Routhier (Roman Catholic), dean, Faculté de théologie et de sciences religieuses, Université Laval, Québec

We are also grateful to Bishop Donald Bolen of Saskatoon for initiating the preparatory group, and to all those who assisted the work of the International Committee.

The texts proposed were finalized during a meeting of the International Committee nominated by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting of Christian Unity. The Committee met with the Canadian representatives in September 2012 at the Villa Saint Martin, a Jesuit retreat centre at Pierrefonds, on the northwest of the island of Montreal.

We wish to also acknowledge the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism for generously hosting the meeting of the International Committee and the Faculty of  McGill University, Montreal who provided for  an ecumenical symposium during the work of the International Committee while in Canada.

Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute, in its planning of these resource materials also invites ecumenists and church leaders of various religious traditions to contribute resource materials for celebrating the Week of Prayer of Prayer for Christian Unity. Acknowledgment of these authors appears with their text.

In addition, acknowledgment is due to those who contributed in particular to various segments of these resources.

Translation:

Day Translation Services, Inc. and the staff of RKG Fundraising Servicess with editorial review of the Spanish text.

Worship:

International Preparatory group text, edited by Fr. Thomas Orians, SA, Editor, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity resources and Associate Director, Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute and Fr. James Loughran, SA, Director, Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute.

Practical Information and Resources:

Ms. Liz Matos, Secretary, Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute, for the compilation of “Observing the Week of Prayer...”, “Continuing the Committment...”, “Resources for Ecumenical and Interreligious Understanding” and “Week of Prayer Available Resource Material.”

Mrs. Veronica Sullivan, Business Manager, Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute, for editorial review and management of the business and distribution of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity resource materials.

Biblical Text:

The translation of the biblical text in English used in the Ecumenical Celebration of the Word and Daily Prayer guide are from The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and are used by permission. All rights reserved. For those text in Spanish the biblical translation are from Biblia de Jerusalén 1999, Desclée De Brouwer Bilbao, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.