As they gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia from September 2-8 to prepare resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019, ecumenical partners reflected on the theme of “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue.”
Representatives from the World Council of Churches (WCC), Evangelical Alliance, Pentecostal churches, Christian Conference of Indonesia, National Prayer Network of Indonesia, Indonesian Bible Society, and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI) met to discuss how this theme resonates with current challenges - such as religious extremism - and a hope for growth in communion among churches in Indonesia and beyond.
The group also joined a Reformed church and a Catholic parish for worship, and visited an Indonesian museum.
"The churches in Indonesia want to play a prophetic role in their society", said Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, WCC director of Faith and Order. "Harmony in diversity, one of the foundational principles of the country, is being tested by growing signs of radicalism".
In such a context, he concluded, to pursue justice and only justice, as the biblical text suggests, "is not only a service to peace in Indonesia, but also a way to grow in communion as churches".
Faculty and students of the Jakarta Theological Seminary welcomed the international group for two panels followed by discussion on praying for unity and searching for a common understanding of the church.
The event marked the translation into Bahasa Indonesia of the Faith and Order convergence text "The Church: Towards a Common Vision".
About the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally celebrated between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul. Many countries in the southern hemisphere observe it near Pentecost, another symbolic date of unity.
In order to prepare for the annual celebration, ecumenical partners in a particular region are invited to produce a basic liturgical text on a biblical theme. Then an international editorial team of WCC and Roman Catholic representatives refines this text to ensure that it can be prayed throughout the world, and to link it with the search for the visible unity of the church.
The text is jointly published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the WCC.
The churches of the Caribbean were chosen to draft the material for the 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, while the churches of Indonesia are working to develop materials for 2019. Representatives from the Communion of Churches in Indonesia and the KWI chose "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20) as the theme for 2019.