Material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is available for the first time on smart phones, computers and tablets in 2016. The World Council of Churches (WCC) has initiated collaboration with YouVersion, developer of the “Bible App.”
The eight-day Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, jointly published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC since 1968, is traditionally celebrated in the Northern hemisphere from 18-25 January.
Through the “Bible App,” biblical reflections from the Week of Prayer will appear in an easily-shareable, free, digital format available in English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese. The app allows users to read the Bible, share verses with their social networks, and bookmark their favorite passages.
“More and more people are accessing Bible verses through their smart phones and downloading them on their computers or tablets. It seems an ideal time to partner with the WCC, and the app will actually personalize the Week of Prayer experience for you,” said Rev. Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, chairman of the Board of Advisors of Christian Media Corporation International and YouVersion international ambassador. Tunnicliffe is also former secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance.
The Bible App, already installed on more than 204 million unique devices all over the world, offers more than 1,200 Bible versions in more than 800 languages.
Each year, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Christians come together to pray, exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The theme for 2016 is "Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord (cf. 1 Peter 2:9)“.
Members of different churches in Latvia prepared the resources for the week as they explored the relationship between baptism and proclamation, and the calling shared by all the baptized to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord and manifest the oneness of the Church.
As we search for Christian unity together, the Bible App offers one more way for people to access biblical texts and adapt them in their own local and cultural contexts, said Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, WCC director of Faith and Order. “As churches and Christian communities observe the week of prayer, it is gratifying that technology, instead of separating us, can instead bring us together with common texts in a format that lends itself to ecumenical settings.”
In whatever way people choose to access the texts for the Week of Prayer, Mateus said he hopes the theme touches them both individually and as communities of faith.
“We will hear of God’s saving acts in history as God opened new life to all of us,” he said, “and, through prayerful reading, may we recognize the mighty acts of God in our own lives and serve the unity of the church and the unity of humanity.”
More information on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: www.oikoumene.org/week-of-prayer