At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Traditionally the week of prayer is celebrated between 18-25 January, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul. In the southern hemisphere, where January is a vacation time, churches often find other days to celebrate it, for example around Pentecost, which is also a symbolic date for unity.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2021 was prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland. They chose a theme based on John 15:1-17:
Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit.
This theme expresses Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family.
The celebration that Geneva’s local Christian communities were planning to hold in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on Wednesday 20 January has been postponed due to new sanitary restrictions in Switzerland.
Praying for unity with the Sisters of Grandchamp in 2021 (feature article by Odair Pedroso Mateus)