Churches pray for unity
CHURCHES around Britain and Ireland observed the week of prayer for Christian Unity from 18-25 January. Although the observance has declined in popularity there were signs of new life.
Reports from London and other parts of the country suggested that prayer walks are growing in popularity as a replacement for conventional services. John Richardson of Churches Together in South London reported that one prayer walk had gone from a Pentecostal to a Roman Catholic Church through a housing estate that had experienced two murders in the past year.
Services including dance and testimonies as well as singing, prayers and scripture reading reflected the growing involvement of black majority churches in the week of prayer.
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland produced material for the week from an ecumenical group in South India with meditations for eight days and two versions of a worship service.
Christian Aid cooperated in producing the material, which was free to download or could be bought as a booklet. The title of the material comes from Micah 6:6-8 and takes the form of the question ‘What does the Lord require of you?’
In Northern Ireland church leaders marked the week of prayer with appeals for peace. Responding to the disturbances in Belfast, the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Rev Harold Miller, made an impassioned appeal in which he said that the protests over the decision to fly the Union flag on Belfast only 12 days in the year had led to scenes of ‘violence and mayhem’ that had been broadcast around the world.
He continued: “Lying behind all of this is the sense in par ts of the Loyalist community that they have lost a great deal over the past years, especially in terms of identity, and this has led to a fear of the future being uncertain.”
An ecumenical service in Irish was due to be held at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin to mark the end of the Week of Prayer on 25 January.