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United Methodists urged to join ‘Week of Prayer’

 


United Methodists urged to join ‘Week of Prayer’

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A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose

The Rev. Larry D. Pickens prays during a worship service at the United Methodist Church's 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.
Dec. 14, 2004

By United Methodist News Service

NEW YORK (UMNS) – United Methodists are invited to join with Christians around the world in a week of prayer for peace.

The United Methodist Church’s top ecumenical officials are encouraging congregations to set aside Jan. 18-25 to participate in the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Bishop William B. Oden, ecumenical officer for the denomination’s Council of Bishops, and the Rev. Larry D. Pickens, top executive of the churchwide Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, sent a letter to bishops and other church leaders asking them to encourage participation in this annual observance.

"For more than 90 years, Christians have set aside time for prayer and reflection on their unity in Christ," Oden said. "We encourage United Methodists to join in this important celebration and observance."

The theme for the 2005 observance is "All Things are Yours … You Belong in Christ … and Christ, the Unique Foundation, Belongs to God," reflecting Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3:1-23.

"This is a foundational way for Christians to join together to promote peace," Pickens said. "Christians across the world will come together in celebration of our unity in Christ."

The United Methodist Church has historically been involved with Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute in promoting this week of prayer. The annual week of prayer began in the Episcopal Church in 1908.

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Bishop William B. Oden
Each year, the theme and texts are prepared by an international group appointed by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The churches in Slovakia prepared this year’s materials. Churches in Slovakia survived four decades of a political system that allowed them to exist but hindered their growth. Since then, the churches have experienced more than a decade of renewal and emergence.

Free resources to assist congregations and ecumenical organizations in planning and celebrating the Week of Prayer are available from the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute of New York City at www.geii.org.

Resources include bulletin and pulpit announcements, suggestions for Scripture references, and tools for communicating messages about the Week of Prayer in local communities.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

The letter sent by Bishop William Oden and the Rev. Larry Pickens follows:

Dec. 14, 2004

Dear Friends:

All United Methodists are encouraged to observe the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, on January 18th – 25th.

Communities across the world will come together in celebration of our unity in Christ and United Methodists are a central part of this celebration.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was initiated in 1908. It has evolved through the years into a major ecumenical observance.

The theme for 2005 is, "All Things are Yours… You Belong to Christ… and Christ, the Unique Foundation, Belongs to God." 1 Corinthians 3:1-23

Materials can be ordered from the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute. The website is www.geii.org. These materials can be downloaded without charge.

Let the unity in Christ be made more visible through this very special week.

Yours In Christ,

Larry D. Pickens, General Secretary
The General Commission on Christian Unity & Interreligious Concerns

Bishop William B. Oden, Ecumenical Officer
Council of Bishops

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