Friday, November 10, 2006


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: January 18-25, 2007

Open our ears and loosen our tongues. --Mark 7:31-37

“When the world is at war in so many places and the forces of violence, war and oppression seem to be increasing, praying for peace (and unity) may seem to be a futile exercise. But we Christians believe both in the power and in the promise of peace -- and we also believe in the power of prayer.”

--Dr. Sam Kobia, General Secretary, World Council of Churches

Dear Friends of Christian Unity,

Materials, prepared jointly by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the Vatican, were developed from a draft written by an ecumenical group in the township of Umlazi, near Durban in South Africa. Based upon the healing story in Mark 7: 31-37, the materials extend a twofold invitation to Christian communities worldwide: to pray and work for unity among Christians, and to join together in responding to situations of human suffering. As noted in the “Introduction to the materials, these two tasks are deeply intertwined as two threads of a single fabric – each focusing upon healing the wounded body of Christ.


Two websites provide the 2007 Week of Prayer resources in different formats:

First, the full documentation (introduction to the theme, the origins of the material from Umlazi, a proposed worship service, biblical reflections and prayers for the eight days, and additional resources from South Africa) may be found at: HERE

Second, the website of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute that has adapted these materials and posted copies of the worship resources (poster, background resources, worship bulletin, etc.) that can be printed from the website or ordered HERE.

Plan to make use of these resources in your local communities and congregations during the 2007 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, joining with Christian throughout our world “to break the silence that oppresses” as together we seek to receive God’s gift of oneness, reconciliation, and healing in Christ.

The week of Prayer for Christian Unity was initiated in 1908 by the Rev. Paul Wattson, co-founder of the Society of the Atonement. Its observance has changed over the years, in accordance with developments in the ecumenical movement: the universal week of prayer advocated by Abbé Paul Couturier in Lyon, France in the 1930s; the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948; the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism in 1964; and the formation of the Joint Working Group between the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches. A world observance, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an important expression of ecumenical activity at the local level.