REGINA — The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity came to an end Jan. 25 with activities in several Regina churches.
St. Paul’s Cathedral also celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul and the four-year-old covenant between the Diocese of Que’Appelle and the Archdiocese of Regina. It was a regular eucharistic service with guest preacher Rev. John Meehan, SJ, president of Campion College, University of Regina.
Wesley United Church celebrated an ecumenical service with a liturgy created by Brazilian Christians and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Meehan talked about the life of St. Paul, his persecution of Christians and his conversion on the road to Damascus.
“St. Paul is a model for us in the Christian church,” said Meehan as he talked about reconciliation. “Reconciliation is undermined daily,” said Meehan, referring to several examples, including committing violence in the name of religion. “Paul invites us to become agents of reconciliation.”
He ended his homily with examples of how Christian communities are working together; the Friends on the Outside who provide support and encouragement to inmates released from jail and the Regina Multi Faith Forum which includes many religions. “There is no doubt that more and more we are becoming one.”
Pastor Charles Koogan of Sonlight Christian Reformed Church and president of the Regina Council of Churches presided at the service hosted by Wesley United Church. Pastors and lay people from several congregations including Anglican, Roman Catholic and United also participated in the service, reciting the prayers and together reading parts of the Gospel.
Pastor Nick Helliwell of Healing Hearts Ministry and chaplain at the Regina Correctional Centre focused his talk on the story of Jesus resting at Jacob’s Well in Samaria and asking a Samarian woman for a drink. He described how women of the time had little going for them and this woman, who had been rejected by five husbands, came to the well at the hottest time of the day so she wouldn’t have to deal with the other women who came earlier.
“This woman’s life is marked by profound rejection,” said Helliwell. Helliwell said he meets with men in jail who know rejection. “We have much to offer, much to give,” he said and ended his talk by asking, “Where are you in this story?”
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began in New York in 1908 by Rev. Paul Wattson, SA, who advocated Christian unity. In 1966 the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity began collaborating on a common international text. These texts are now based on themes proposed by ecumenical groups around the world.