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Thursday, February 23, 2017
Irish Churches inspire prayers for reconcilation in Unity Week
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¬†Count to 77, slowly, and for each digit counted, pray for the strength to forgive someone who has wronged you: one practical step on the tough road to reconciliation, suggested in the worship resources prepared by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18 to 25 January. The Revd Mary Hunter representing the Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM) was part of the writing group brought together by CTBI. She explained how the 2006 theme came from the Irish Churches. They chose the text from Matthew 18.15-22 on the theme 'Where two or three are gathered in my name.' She said forgiveness is hugely important in Ireland where all communities have suffered deeply. The violence has engendered fear in so many people. '"here are thirty years of fear to overcome. Sectarianism is rife," she said. Worship resources are now downloadable from CTBI's web site: including the special ecumenical service and daily reflections. This year the ecumenical service is suitable for all-age worship. There is an affirmation written for young and older voices to be said in conversation. Prayerful steps towards unity are encouraged throughout the year though churches up and down the country use the annual Week of Prayer running from 18 to 25 January to refocus their efforts. Local plans to observe the Week this year include: ∑ a Saturday club for children of different churches in Sheffield; ∑ school assemblies in Church schools; ∑ a pilgrimage to each church building in a small town, with hospitality and prayers at each place; ∑ and many will adapt the daily meditations for use in their own homes or regular events during the week, such as youth club or home groups. The Assistant General Secretary of CTBI, the Revd Judith Maizel-Long said: "During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 18-25 January each year, tens of thousands of Christian people in cities, towns and villages throughout Britain and Ireland, in churches and other places, get together to meet and pray. "This a special focus on unity, however the resources are written to encourage work and prayer for unity throughout the whole year." Resources have been selling well since September. Nearly 30,000 cards with prayers for the peace of the world and the unity of the Church have been ordered as well as 23,000 pamphlets containing the special ecumenical service and daily reflections (also available in large print). There is also a Resource Book containing additional worship material and information about the Churches in Ireland. A bilingual English / Welsh version of the pamphlet is available as well as a planning pack. The Week of Prayer worship resources are available from CTBI Publications, phone 01733 325 002 or from ACTS (Action of Churches Together in Scotland) at their new office: 7 Forrester Lodge, Inglewood House, Alloa FK10 2HU phone 01259 222362 or from CYTŘN (Churches Together in Wales) at 58 Richmond Road, Cardiff CF24 3UR phone 029 2046 4204.
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