Churches Around the World to Celebrate 'Week of Prayer for Christian Unity'

Christians, including those from numerous denominations, from across the world are set to observe a time of prayer for the unity of the faith.

The annual "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" begins this Saturday and continues for the next seven days. Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox will hold various events centered on praying for the unity of the Christian faith.

Rev. John W. Crossin, executive director for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told The Christian Post about the Catholic Church's involvement in the observance.

"The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity works with the World Council of Churches on materials for the Week of Prayer," said Crossin. "They select a country and ask ecumenists in the country to develop a theme which is distributed throughout the world."

Crossin also told CP that there will be "numerous local celebrations" surrounding the Week of Prayer, including one next Thursday in Sacramento, Calif. where Crossin will preach.

"Prayer is the most important thing we do together. With divine guidance our divergences can be overcome," said Crossin.

Another denomination actively supporting the Week of Prayer is The United Methodist Church via its Council of Bishops' Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships.

The Rev. Stephen Sidorak, ecumenical staff officer for the OCUIR, said in a statement that the Week of Prayer was a time to go beyond the divisive issues that often plague Christianity.

"There are so many church-dividing issues to contend with these days that many of us are very weary," said Sidorak. "During this special week set aside for intentional and communal prayer for Christian unity let us appreciate once more our need to rely less on ourselves and more on the Lord to show us the denominational and ecumenical way forward."

Starting in 1908, the annual Week of Prayer typically takes place between January 18-25 for churches in the Northern Hemisphere.

This year, the theme for the Week of Prayer is the scriptural question "Has Christ Been Divided?" based off of the Bible verse 1st Corinthians 1:13.

"Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?," reads the verse in full, which is part of a passage where St. Paul of Tarsus pleads with church members to have no division among them.

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