The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is underway. Thousands of prayer events are taking place in churches around the world.
The global organisers (the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches) of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have asked Scotland to be this year's host. 2010 marks the centenary of the first World Mission Conference which met in Edinburgh in 1910 on the theme 'Witnessing to Christ today'.
This gathering is traditionally seen as the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement, which seeks to promote the visible unity of the world's divided churches.
The theme for this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is: 'You are witnesses to these things' (Luke 24:48). A special web feature is now available on: www.catholicbishops.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1694:feature-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity&catid=12:Features&Itemid=49 The web feature consists of: the history of the Week of Christian Unity; liturgical resources from the Vatican and related links; and details of ecumenical services across Ireland this week.
In London, the choirs of Westminster Cathedral and St Paul's Cathedral are preparing to swap places as part of the Week's celebrations. On Friday 22 January, Westminster Cathedral Chaplains and Choir will sing Vespers at St Paul's Cathedral at 5pm. Next Tuesday, 28 January the Chaplains and Choir of St Paul's will come to Westminster Cathedral to sing Evensong at 4.30pm. All are welcome to attend both services.
At Farm Street this annual ecumenical occasion began with a pulpit swap at the 11am Mass. Canon Mark Oakley from the Grosvenor Chapel gave the homily, while Fr William preached at the Chapel. On Sunday, 24 January, the guest preacher will be the Reverend Roddy Leece from St George's Hanover Square.
Today, the Annual General Meeting of Churches Together in Westminster takes place at Methodist Central Hall at 6.30pm. The guest speaker will be Ann Widdecombe who is now retiring after many years in Parliament. She will be speaking about her experiences as a Christian (Anglican and Catholic) in public life.
At 7pm on Wednesday, 20 January, representatives of the Anglican. Methodist and United Reform Churches will be taking part in Vespers at St Thomas More's Catholic Church in Henry Road, Finsbury Park, London N4. Theologian and writer Leslie Holden will be giving a talk at 8pm. This is just one of many ecumenical events held during the year by the churches in Finsbury Park and Manor House. They go on a pilgrimage together each year to a different destination. This Christmas carol singers raised funds for the homeless and on Palm Sunday an interchurch procession is held.
An ecumenical celebration takes place at the Methodist Central Hall near Westminster Abbey this Thursday 21 January at 7pm. All are welcome. JCFL are leading the music. If you would like to join them please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for rehearsal times.
On Sunday, 24 January at 3pm there will a Churches Together in Hampstead ecumenical service at St Mary's, Holly Hill. The homily will be given by Fr James Hanvey SJ, new superior of the Jesuit Community in Mount Street, who teaches Systematic Theology at Heythrop College and is Director of the Heythrop Institute for religion, Ethics and Public Life.
For more information and resources see: www.ctbi.org.uk/414