Middle Eastern Churches to lead worldwide peace prayers

 Christians from the ancient Churches of Syria have proposed the theme of peace for a worldwide chain of prayer. Their choice of the theme text: 'My peace I give to you' is reflected in the worship and prayer material to be used in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18 to 25) 2004, published next week by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. The Christian Churches of the city of Aleppo in Syria chose these words of Jesus (John14.23-29) because of the desire for peace in their fragile situation in the turbulent area of the Middle East, a place of conflict and tribulation. In the aftermath of the Iraq war, their choice seems all the more poignant and significant. The material from Syria was revised and edited by a group of church nominees drawn from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This editorial group urges Churches Together groups and local Christians to work and pray for peace, not only during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity but throughout the whole year. They say: 'as Christians pray for peace we should also pray and work for the unity of the Church as we cannot honestly pray for peace in the world and rest content with all the divisions and dissensions in our own lives as Christians.' The imaginatively produced material consists of a pamphlet containing the special ecumenical service and daily reflections, a card with prayers for the peace of the world and the unity of the Church, a large A2 poster with the symbols of rainbow, cross and dove, which can be used to advertise local services and a Resource Book containing additional worship material and information about the Churches in Syria. A bilingual English / Welsh version of the pamphlet is also available. The material has been produced by Methodist Publishing House on behalf of CTBI and can be obtained from CTBI Publications 4, John Wesley Road, Werrington, Peterborough, PE4 6ZP. For further information and to order online visit: www.ctbi.org.uk/

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