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Home > Home Articles > Features > The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th to the 25th January 2012

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th to the 25th January 2012

We will all be changedwe will all be changed

Click here for the full article.Change is at the heart of our Christian faith. Saint Paul said that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, and we are called to live as children in the light.

The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012 comes to us from the churches in Poland, who have reflected upon their own experience as a nation, and in particular how, as a nation, they have been changed and transformed by the many upheavals of their history, and sustained by their faith.

Change is also at the heart of the ecumenical movement. When we pray for the unity of the church we are praying that the churches that we know and which are so familiar to us will change as they conform more closely to Christ. This is an exciting vision, but also a challenging one. Furthermore, when we pray for this transforming unity we are also praying for change in the world. 


Dates

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18th to the 25th January - the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul. However, some areas observe it at Pentecost or some other time. To allow for local decision making, the material has only the year on it and the days are denoted by the numbers one to eight, so you can use it at any time of year.

    
Christian Aid

We are pleased that this year, for the first time, Christian Aid   has participated in the preparation of these materials and you will find within the resources some important pointers to the vital work of Christian Aid in the relief of poverty and in changing our world to one which is more just.


Resources

The resources for 2012 are available as downloads from our resources page. There is also an order form to purchase the material in a published format.


Pope explains 4 keys to ecumenical work


The week of prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January)

The Churches in Britain and Ireland come together to produce common resources based on internationally agreed material. Use the search box on CTBI's website to find it.


The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was the theme of the weekly public audience by Pope Benedict XVI on January 19 2011, with the Holy Father underlining “the providential fact that prayer is at the centre of the journey to unity.” Click here for the full article.


“We do not 'construct' unity,” the Pope explained. “God 'constructs' it, it comes from Him, from the mystery of the Trinity.” Pope Benedict went on to observe that the four “pillars for the life of all Christians communities” are mentioned in one phrase from the Acts of the Apostles (2:42 ): “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”


Regarding teaching, the Pope said that “even today, the community of believers recognizes the norms of its own faith in that reference to the teaching of the apostles.” Despite doctrinal differences, he said, there must be a fundamental understanding that unity can only be built on “the depositum fidei handed down to us by the apostles.”


As for fellowship, the Pope continued, ecumenical work is necessarily marked by “a history of fraternity, of cooperation, and of human and spiritual sharing.”


Pope Benedict noted that “the breaking of the bread,” with its reference to the Eucharist, marks “the pinnacle of our union with God and, therefore, it also represents the completeness of the unity of Christ's disciples, full communion.” The fact that not all Christians can share communion, he said, is a source of sadness that “gives a penitential dimension to our prayers” and a goal toward which we must strive.


The final characteristic of apostolic activity, prayer, “means being ready for forgiveness and reconciliation.” All Christians must beg God for a restoration of full unity, he said. “He must still help us a lot because without Him, alone—without ‘abiding in Him,’ we can do nothing.”