Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Writing and Animation Team

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About the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an annual global ecumenical celebration (traditionally held January 18 – 25 in the northern hemisphere). Christians around the world are invited to pray for the unity of all Christians, to reflect on scripture together, to participate in jointly organized ecumenical services, and to share fellowship.

Each year, the Canadian Writing and Animation Team for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity develops WPCU resources for Canadian churches. Its members contextualize international materials (developed by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) and produce original resources.

Along with stories and photos from Canadian celebrations of WPCU, these helpful resources are housed on the dedicated Week of Prayer for Christian Unity website which is maintained in partnership among The Canadian Council of Churches, The Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and The Prairie Centre for Ecumenism.

Current Program Priorities (2021)

The international resources for 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland, a group of religious sisters from different church traditions brought together by a common vocation of prayer, community life and hospitality and by their commitment to Christian unity.

The 2021 theme – Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit (John 15:5-9) – calls us to pray and to work for reconciliation and unity in the church, with our human family, and with all of creation. Drawing on the Gospel image of vine and branches, it invites us to nourish unity with God and with one another through contemplative silence, prayer, and common action. Grafted into Christ the vine as many diverse branches, may we bear rich fruit and create new ways of living, with respect for and communion with all of creation.

The long and often painful history of Christianity has sundered our churches for theological, liturgical, and political reasons. Many Christians now strive to heal these divisions, yet honour our diversity, through ecumenical dialogue, common action, and relationship-building. They also come together to pray for unity, joining Christ in his prayer to the Father “that they may be one so the world may believe” (John 17).

The worldwide celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is both the seed and the fruit of this striving for “unity in diversity.” This time of shared prayer, reflection, and fellowship invites Christians of different traditions to deepen our relationships and to live and witness together throughout the year.

Historical Highlights

The observance of the “Church Unity Octave” is initiated by the Rev. Paul Wattson, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in Graymoor, NY.

1908

The Faith and Order movement begins publishing “Suggestions for an Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity”.

1926

Unité Chrétienne (Lyons, France) and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches begin co-operative preparation of materials for the Week of Prayer.

1958
Father Irénée Beaubien, SJ, OC, founds the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and encourages the observance of the Week of Prayer.
1963
The Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (now known as the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) begin official joint preparation of the Week of Prayer text.
1966
First official use of Week of Prayer materials prepared jointly by Faith and Order and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (now known as the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity).
1968
A joint committee of The Canadian Council of Churches and the Canadian Catholic Conference (now the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops) begins to rewrite the international materials for Canadian use.
1968

An ecumenical team from Canada prepares international WPCU resources on the theme of “Has Christ been divided? (1 Cor 1:1-17)”

2014

Recommended Resources Developed by the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

WPCU 2016 logo

Resources for 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Download a full package of international and Canadian resources for 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, including tips for organizing an ecumenical WPCU event in your area an ecumenical Order of Celebration 8 Day Bible Study materials for use in schools hymn suggestions poster

Download

Liturgies for Christian Unity: The First Hundred Years, 1908-2008

To commemorate the centenary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2008, the Commission on Faith and Witness of the CCC sponsored the preparation and publication of Liturgies for Christian Unity: The First Hundred Years, 1908-2008, with prayers and texts from WPCU over the past 100 years, and ideas for ecumenical liturgies and prayer gatherings of all forms and sizes.

Learn more

Interested in practical ways to pray and work for Christian unity?

Learn about this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity theme, download resources, connect with celebrations in Canada and sign up for our newsletter on www.weekofprayer.ca The materials on this website are designed for your use not only during the Week itself but throughout the year. May they help you express the degree of communion already given to the churches and find ways of being more fully united in Christ.
Christian Unity

WFCU Members

  • Rev. Elly Boersma – Christian Reformed Church in North America
  • Rev. Andrea Budgey – Anglican Church of Canada
  • Rev. Roberta Howey – United Church of Canada, chair
  • Dr. Anne Jamieson – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Very Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Ready – Orthodox Church in America
  • Rev. Ann Stainton – Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Dr. Denitsa Tsvetkova – Canadian Centre for Ecumenism representative
  • Rev. Tuula Van Gaasbeek – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
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