The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been jointly organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church since 1968. In the southern hemisphere, where January is a vacation time, churches often find other days to celebrate it, for example around Pentecost, also a symbolic date for unity.
Tasked with preparing the 2021 edition, the Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland chose the theme “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (cf. Jn 15:5-9). This allowed the community’s 50 sisters from diverse confessions and countries to share the wisdom of their contemplative life abiding in the love of God.
“It is not easy to always remain in Christ, to abide in his love,” says Sister Anne-Emmanuelle Guy, prieure of Grandchamp. “Daily community life is where I can verify where I stand with my love of others and of God. For how can I say that I love God if I do not love my sister, my brother living alongside me?”
For Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, interim WCC deputy general secretary and director of its Faith and Order Commission, the prayer journey outlined in the Week of Prayer booklet can help us to stay connected as a community even when we need to limit our physical contacts in order to protect the most vulnerable: “Prayer often involves a kind of self-isolation, focussing our minds and hearts on the love of Christ; but when we pray for unity, we enter into closer communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
See also: www.oikoumene.org/week-of-prayer
Worship and background material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021
Link for following a global ecumenical prayer service on Monday, 25 January 2021, 2pm CET: www.oikoumene.org/live
Call for pictures of the Week of Prayer (please submit by 26 January)
Praying for unity with the Sisters of Grandchamp in 2021 (feature article by Odair Pedroso Mateus)
Broadcast of daily prayers in the Grandchamp community’s website
Interviews with several Grandchamp Sisters in the magazine Unité des chrétiens (in French)