Six degrees of separation. Globalization. Social Media
By Karen Hamilton (The Rev. Dr.)
General Secretary, The Canadian Council of Churches
I could continue to use stereotypical phrases and images that are familiar to us all and that, each in their own way, have some part in explaining some of the ways that we relate to each other locally, regionally and globally. In this day and age many of us have friends or relatives or colleagues in a variety of countries all around the world. We relate to them through text messages or electronic Christmas letters or even the somewhat archaic occasional phone call. But how do we relate to them and with them to God, in prayer?
It seems as if the year 2013 has barely begun and yet the 2013 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is already over. Many places around the country and around the world will continue to pray together in other weeks and months and so they should. But the Week of Prayer as it occurs 'book-marked' between the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul has already come and gone. It is none too soon though to start thinking, planning and praying for the 2014 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. And I have more than my usual belief in our calling by God to manifest unity in diversity for saying so, although that belief runs deep in Scripture, in tradition and in me.
For only the third time in 100 years, the materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will, in 2014, focus on Canada. The Pontifical Council on Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches asked Canada to write the prayers and liturgy for next year's Week of Prayer. Canada is quite unique, not only in having the most inclusive council of churches in the world - one to which the Conference of Bishops belongs as well as 24 other members of the Anglican, Evangelical, Historic Reformed, Free Church and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox traditions, but also in having regional ecumenical centres. This time the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism took the lead in preparing the materials which be available by May 1st on the website of The Canadian Council of Churches. www.councilofchurches.ca
I had the privilege of contributing to the writing as well.
So back to our friends, relatives and colleagues all around the world...In 2014, Christians of all traditions in so many countries around the world will be using the Week of Prayer materials. How many of them will we hear from afterwords? How many of them will contact us through Facebook, Twitter, Email or the actual telephone and comment tell us what it meant to them to be praying through the materials from our land of the maple leaf? I don't know but what I do know is that we need to spread the word, starting now, in this country of ours about next year's Week of Prayer materials. It would be a lost prayer opportunity for sure if Christians from sea to sea to sea did not know that next year's prayers come through our context.
Let's start now. Spread the word. Build the Momentum across the land.
And a challenging statistic...of the approximately 400 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity kits purchased each year, 250 are acquired by the Archdiocese of Toronto. I am sure that Canada's other dioceses and archdioceses will want to try and match that!
(CNS Photo / Paul Haring)