I just got back from the annual service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which was held at our local Baptist church this year, and the theme for this year was prepared by the churches in Poland.
The Theme for 2012:
‘We will all be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ’
(cf. 1 Cor 15:51-58)
It was a beautiful service! Very moving and thought provoking, and I left feeling elated at the openness and acceptance I experienced from those who didn’t know me, but knew that in order for me to have attended, I must be a Christian. The evening included beautiful readings, uplifting music, poetry, prayer and an overall sense of belonging.
This year was more special than most, for me anyway, because our Bishop, Paul Hendricks, was the key-note speaker. His message was to the point and included anecdotes from his life at Oxford University as a student. He mentioned that he enjoyed debating with fellow students about various topics on faith and religion and mentioned that he would always come away from these discussions invigorated and challenged by what had been explored. He also mentioned that he grew in faith from these experiences. A lot. (I found this link http://www.harvardichthus.org/ which may go a long way in explaining what Bishop Paul’s debates may have been about. Fascinating!)
It was inspirational, to say the least, and I sat in my chair quietly proud of our strong and confident leader, preach in the spirit of Ecumenism. He stood as part of Christ’s flock , reaching out in love to us all by suggesting that we play our part in uniting Christians, and challenging us to take ‘the first step’towards discovering another Christian denomination and what we may have in common with one another.
I have a long way to go down this unknown path called Ecumenism and I have much to learn, but I am spurred on by the experiences encountered at the services I have attended during the Week of Prayer for Christian unity over the past few years.
What about you?