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Week of Prayer begins in Winnipeg

By James Buchok


WINNIPEG — The faithful of Winnipeg will begin celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Sun., Jan. 17, with a city-wide ecumenical worship service at St. John XXIII Roman Catholic Church, 3390 Portage Ave. at 7:30 p.m.

A weekday evening service will take place Thurs, Jan. 21 at Sherwood Park Lutheran Church, 7 Tudor Cres., and the week of prayer concludes with a Hearts Burning for Unity gathering, Sun., Jan. 24 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 830 North Drive. Both begin at 7:30 p.m. Members of all churches have been invited to participate in an ecumenical choir at each of the services.

During the week, all are welcome to join in daily ecumenical gatherings for reflection, prayer and fellowship at St. John XXIII, beginning at 10 a.m. each morning. Clergy and laity from various churches and traditions have been invited as guest speakers to facilitate the reflective portion of these daily gatherings. Coffee and fellowship will follow each daily gathering.

Topics from Monday to Saturday are: Called to be Messengers of Joy; The Witness of Fellowship; A Priestly People Called to Proclaim the Gospel; The Fellowship of the Apostles; Listen to this Dream; and Hospitality for Prayer.

This year’s resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by an ecumenical team in Latvia, as chosen by the International Committee appointed by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The various Latvian churches and religious organizations involved have chosen as this year’s theme, “Called to proclaim the mighty acts of God,” inspired by 1 Peter 2:9; “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” They invite Christians around the world to reflect on what it means to be the People of God, and how we are called both to proclaim and to respond to the acts of God in the world.

According to the Canadian Council of Churches website, Latvia has been a religious and political battleground throughout its history. Today, Latvia is a crossroads where Roman Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox meet and no single group is dominant.

For staff members of Winnipeg’s religious organizations the Week of Prayer will be preceded by the 15th annual luncheon of church leaders and their chancery, diocesan and conference staffs, on Wednesday before the Week of Prayer. This year Bishop Susan Johnson and the staff of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Office, and Bishop Elaine Sauer and the staff of the Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Synod office are hosting at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in River Heights.

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