January 22, 2015 | Issue 22

Chaplains' Newsletter
Praying for Christian Unity

"If we do not walk together, if we do not pray for one another, if we do not collaborate in the many ways that we can in this world for the people of God, then unity will not come about." (Pope Francis)

Every year, on the third week of January (between the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul), Christians come together to pray for unity and peace among themselves. Congregations and parishes all over the world typically hold special celebrations and prayer services to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service. Each year, the WCC prepares resources for the annual celebration along with ecumenical partners in a particular region. 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, through the WCC's Commission on Faith and Order, which also accompanies the entire production process of the text. The final material is sent to WCC member churches and Roman Catholic episcopal conferences, and they are invited to translate the text and contextualize or adapt it for their own use.

The following is a prayer that has been adapted from this year's prayer resource. You may wish to invite ministers from churches within the school neighbourhood to take part in the service. To view the full resource,
click here .  



Prayer for Christian Unity

C: Celebrant  L: Lector   A: All  CBW: Catholic Book of Worship III

Candles are to be lit as the service starts.

L: The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is "Jesus said to her: 'Give me to drink.'" The biblical gesture of offering water to whomever arrives is a way of welcoming and sharing. As we meditate on the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well, we reflect upon how we can help people and communities in our calling to follow the example Christ set for us.

Please stand and join in singing the opening hymn as the celebrants enter in procession along the path. Passing near the "well", each representative of a participating church will slowly pour the water from a jug into the bowl. This water, from different sources, is a symbol of our unity which is real, though still incomplete.

Opening Hymn:

Suggestions include "There is One Lord" (CBW 530), "Christ is Made the Sure Foundation" (CBW 430)

Invitation to prayer:

C: Almighty God, breathe into us the wind of unity that recognizes our diversity,

A: Breathe into us tolerance that welcomes and makes us community, 

C: Breathe into us fire that unites what is torn apart and heals what is ill,

A: Breathe into us grace that overcomes hatred and frees us from violence,

C: Breathe into us life that faces down and defeats death,

A: Blessed be the God of mercy, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and makes all things new. Amen!

Confession of Sin and Kyrie:

C: In humility, as children of God and sisters and brothers in Christ, we receive God's mercy and respond to God's call to make new all relationships.

L: Merciful Lord, your Spirit hovered over the waters where diversity sprouted and flourished. We confess our difficulty to live with legitimate differences. Forgive us those attitudes of mind, words and actions that do violence to unity in diversity.

A: O Lord, have mercy upon us.

L: Merciful Christ, grace and joy of the multitude, listener and teacher, you give birth to new visions of hope and heal the wounds of mind and body. We confess that we have failed to listen to voices different from our own, failed to say words that bring healing and hope, and we have perpetuated exclusive attitudes to those who cry out for solidarity and fellowship.

A: O Lord, have mercy upon us.

L: Merciful Lord, you are the source of all creation, the Eternal and life-giving Word. We confess that we do not listen to your creation that groans and cries out for liberation and renewal. Help us to walk together and to hear your voice in all living things that suffer and yearn for healing and care.

C: O God, fountain of mercy and grace, pour over us your pardon. May your love transform us into a source of living waters to restore the strength of your people. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.

A: Amen.

Song: Suggestions include "Veni Sancte Spiritus" (CBW 419) or setting from the Taiz� Community

Gospel Acclamation: Use a setting that is familiar with your community

Proclamation of the Gospel of John 4:1-42

Reflection (spoken or silent)

Affirmation of Faith:

(The Nicene, the Apostles' Creed, renewal of baptismal promises or another affirmation of faith may be used)

Intercessory Prayer:

L: God of eternal compassion, as individuals and as community, we ask for light, so we may become more welcoming and understanding towards others and reduce the suffering in our world.

A: Hear us, God of love!

L: God of eternal compassion, teach your children that charity, hospitality and unity are expressions of your revelation and will for humanity.

A: Hear us, God of love!

L: God of eternal compassion, we beseech you, grant us peace; teach us and guide us to be builders of a tolerant and non-violent world.

A: Hear us, God of love!

L: God of eternal compassion, who spoke to us through creation, then through the prophets and then through your Son Jesus Christ, grant us wisdom to listen to your voice that calls us to unity in our diversity.

A: Hear us, God of love!

L: God of eternal compassion, in the name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord who as a stranger asked for a drink from a Samaritan woman, give us living water, springing up unto eternal life.

A: Hear us, God of love!

The Lord's Prayer:

C: With one voice, we dare to pray with the words Christ taught us. 

A: Our Father...


Benediction, Peace and Sending Forth:

C: May the Lord God, bless you and protect you, fill your heart with tenderness and your soul with joy, 
your ears with music and your nostrils with perfume, your tongue with song giving face to hope.

May Jesus Christ the living water be behind you to protect you, before you to guide you, 
by your side to accompany you, within you to console you, above you to bless you.

May the life-giving Spirit breathe into you that your thoughts may be holy, 
act in you so that your work is holy, draw your heart so that you love what is holy, strengthen you that you will defend what is holy.

May he make his home in your heart, water its dryness, and melt its coldness, 
kindle in your innermost soul the fire of his love and bestow upon you a true faith, and firm hope, and a sincere and perfect love.

A: Amen.

C: May God, who teaches us to welcome each other and calls us to practice hospitality, grant us peace and serenity as we move forward on the path of Christian Unity. As we go in the peace of Christ let us share with each other the sign of peace.





Here are some other online prayer resources that are especially geared toward school children:

School Assembly - A Week of Prayer

Good News - Unity in Jesus!




The Christian Ecumenical Community of Taiz� in France is a living example of Christian unity. Three times each day, the community gathers in the Church of Reconciliation to pray a meditative prayer that consists of chants, rich silence, scripture, and prayers of intercession.  At the heart of the prayer are the beautiful chants as singing is regarded as an essential part of worship.  Each chant consists of a simple phrase that expresses a basic reality of Christian faith that can quickly be grasped by the mind is sung repetitively. 
As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being.  The prayer is a simple and accessible way to gather a community of Christians from all denominations. One such chant, "There is One Lord," expresses in a simple and beautiful way the faith that unites all Christians. As we journey along the path toward unity, may we always do so with humble trust.

There is one Lord TAIZE HD on screen lyrics


In communion,

Janet Loo
Campus Minister/Director of Chamber Choir
King's University College


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