WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
JANUARY 18–25, 2016
OTHER RESOURCES: Christian Unity Throughout the Year
Continuing the Commitment to Christian Unity Throughout the Year
The initiatives called forth, strengthened and enhanced during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can be sustained throughout the year. After the Week of Prayer activities and evaluation, a core of persons may be invited to continue as a task force to consider other occasions in the year when interchurch collaboration or ecumenical celebrations might be desirable. Here are some suggestions to help support the ecumenical impulse throughout 2015.
Throughout the Year
Working with the appropriate staff, create or expand the local public library's religion section. Compile and circulate a bibliography or religious references for local congregations as a means of promoting religious studies and ecumenical awareness. These materials on the internet from Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute include a bibliography under Resources for Ecumenical and Interreligious Understanding. Encourage your public library to purchase these publications and subscribe to these periodicals.
Form a study group on Church and World: The Unity of the Church and the Renewal of Human Community. This text helps bring the classic search for Christian unity into creative dialogue with evangelization. It conveys a broad, wholistic vision of the ecumenical movement. A World Council of Churches Faith and Order document, Church and World may be ordered from:
Other books listed on this website under Resources for Ecumenical and Interreligious Understanding could also be used for common reading and discussion.
At another time of year you may want to consider extending your ecumenical endeavor into a wider area of interreligious understanding by exploring the world's great religious traditions, particularly with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and others in your area. Among possible ways of pursuing this are: shared readings and experiences of one another's faith stories, inviting members of other religions to speak at your congregation, organizing times when the prayers of each religion can be expressed at the same time and place for peace and interreligious understanding.
Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday
On a day when many people are football-focused, neighborhood churches participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring by inviting an offering of $1.00 from every person, the collection to be given to a local agency serving the poor. For information and materials contact:
This annual observance challenges our awareness of and involvement in the wider ecumenism of interfaith understanding. For information contact:
National Conference for Community and Justice
760 N. Frontage Road - Suite 105
Willowbrook, IL 60527
Tel: 630 789-6709; Fax: 630 789-6718
(February 18, Western Churches)
Neighborhood churches having a joint celebration of the word of God, including the blessing and imposition of ashes or another act of repentance, is a symbolic way to begin the season of Lent.
(February 18- March 28, Western Churches;
February 23- April 4, Eastern/Orthodox Churches)
A modern-day pilgrimage, inviting Christians to experience worship in a different church in their neighborhood on consecutive Sundays, encourages interest in Christian unity. Interest increases when visitors are publicly welcomed and given opportunity to talk informally with the host congregation. As a lenten pilgrimage, such services express an ecumenical dimension to the season's prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
World Day of Prayer
“Jesus Said to Them: Do You Know What I Have Done to You?”
World Day of Prayer (WDP) is a global movement of Christian women from more than 170 countries and islands around the world. The central event is a global day of prayer which is celebrated annually on the first Friday of March. This service is an opportunity to share—spiritually, educationally, and ecumenically—in informed prayer and prayerful action. The themes and writer countries for each year are chosen by the World Day of Prayer worldwide network at the International Committee Meeting. The WDP Committee from the elected countries together with the International Committee develop the unique worship services based on the chosen themes and addressing issues that women face in that region. The International Committee distributes the worship service worldwide. The WDP USA Committee edits and adapts the materials for use in the United States and Puerto Rico.
For additional information contact:
The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS
The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of Aids is a national call to religious leaders and to the African American community at-large to involve and educate our churches by providing prevention facts about HIV/AIDS and by encouraging compassion for people infected and affected by the disease. (traditionally the first full week of March starting Sunday ending Saturday)
For additional information contact:
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.
For further information contact:
Molly Keane, Conference Coordinator
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
c/o Office of Public Life and Social Policy United Church of Christ
100 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 330
Washington, DC 20002
Email email@example.com Website: www.advocacydays.org
(March 29, Western Churches;
April 5, Eastern/Orthodox Churches)
An Ecumenical Palm Sunday celebration, now a custom in many communities, enables members of an area's churches to get together in parks, playgrounds, squares and shopping center parking lots to hear God's word, receive blessed palm branches and participate in a procession which can lead to continuing the liturgy of the day in their respective traditions.
(April 3, Western Churches;
April 11, Eastern/Orthodox Churches)
The stations of the cross becomes a touching, contemporary experience when Christians of various denominations visit and pray together at fourteen sites in the community which stand in need of God's healing. If distance, weather or other factors do not encourage an outdoor celebration, audio-visuals such as dance, drama, film, slides, videotapes, etc., make creative expressions of stational movement indoors.
(April 5, Western Churches;
April 12, Eastern/Orthodox Churches)
A sunrise service of the celebration of the word of God or the liturgy of the hours gives the Easter liturgy its ecumenical dimension when shared by neighborhood churches. This can be followed by a simple fellowship of sharing traditional Easter foods which highlight the cultural aspects of interchurch activity.
May Friendship Day “Walking With the Caregiver”.
May Friendship Day (MFD) is celebrated on or near the first Friday in May and acts as a catalyst for building healing relationships within the local community. The day of the service may vary to meet the needs of women in a variety of situations. The themes, chosen by the Ecumenical Celebrations Committee of Church Women United, seek to relate local concerns. Because it often focuses on local concerns, Church Women United units often use it to reach out to women in their communities. A meal is recommended as a way of providing opportunities for sharing, networking, and community building in addition to worship and study.
For information about its observance contact:
(May 24, Western Churches;
May 31, Eastern/Orthodox Churches)
A festival of music, at which choirs, soloists and musicians from various churches “make a joyful noise unto the Lord”, is a timely way to celebrate this feast of the church ecumenically.
Laying aside formal programs, summer events such as vacation Bible schools, picnics, food festivals, flea markets and fairs are ideal examples of seasonal interchurch activities.
World Community Day
“Sharing The Journey”
World Community Day (WCD) is celebrated on or near the first Friday in November, and focuses on justice and peace in the global society. Themes are chosen by the Ecumenical Celebrations Committee and seek to relate the issues of justice and peace in the United States. Since 2004, every other year is written as a service appropriate for Interfaith participation, providing the opportunity to reach out to our Jewish, Muslim, and other sisters. It is also an opportunity to engage in an in-depth study of global issues related to the theme. For information about its observance contact:
The day on which our nation gives thanks offers a natural opportunity for ecumenical worship in praise and gratitude to God for the many gifts given us. Interchurch services on the eve of Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving morning may express our common faith and faithfulness when prayer and collecting offerings of food, clothing or money are done together.
(November 29- December 20)
For each week of Advent one passage of scripture can be the focus of a gathering of Christians from different traditions. The Bible study can be hosted in a different congregation each week. For information contact:
A number of Christian traditions have the practice of a New Year's Eve vigil of reflection, music and prayer as an alternative observance held as midnight approaches or earlier in the evening. This could be a celebration planned and offered ecumenically.