Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018
18-25th January inclusive at 4.30pm.
The night before his Passion and Death, Jesus said:
“May they all be one,
year from 18-25th January, Christians of all denominations unite around
the world to pray for this great desire of the heart of
Jesus—that we may all be one. Here at Kilmacud Carmelite
Monastery we dedicate our Evening Prayer at 4.30pm for this intention
each day during the Week of Prayer. All are welcome to join us.
just as, Father,
you are in me and I am in you” Jn 17:21
QUICK LINKS: THEME & BIBLICAL
ECUMENISM IN THE CARIBBEAN
DAILY REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS
THEME: "Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power" Ex 15:6
BIBLICAL TEXT FOR 2018:
2 Corinthians 5:14-20
Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing
to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has
thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my might, and he has
become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my
father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the
Lord is his name.
Guest speakers at the Carmelite Monastery this week:
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea; his picked
officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them; they went
down into the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in
power— your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy. In the
greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries…
Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendour, doing wonders?...”
Thursday 18th: Rev. Vanessa Wyse Jackson, Rathgar Methodist Church
ECUMENISM IN THE CARIBBEAN
Friday 19th: Dr Paul Manook, (Dishchekenian) The Armenian Apostolic Church in Ireland
Saturday 20th: Reflection by a Carmelite Sister
Sunday 21st: Reflection by a Carmelite Sister
Monday 22nd: Rev. Ian Gallagher, St. Brigid’s Church of Ireland, Stillorgan
Tuesday 23rd: Reflection by a Carmelite Sister
Wednesday 24th: Reflection by a Carmelite Sister
Thursday 25th: Rev. Martin Kilmurray, O.Carm, Prior, Gort Muire Carmelite Community.
This text is reproduced
under the sole authority and responsibility of the ecumenical group in the Caribbean which
came together to write the source texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian
Caribbean region stretches from the Bahamas in the north to Suriname,
Guyana and French Guiana (Cayenne) on the South American mainland, and
from Barbados in the east to Belize in Central America in the west. The
common identity of the Region is based on geographical considerations
as well as on a shared history of colonialism, exploitation and
resistance against foreign domination, and on a common cultural
presence of some of the churches in the Region – e.g. the Roman
Catholic and Anglican Churches - coincides with the beginning and early
period of the colonial enterprise. Other churches came later as part of
the 18th, 19th and early 20th century missionary movement. Even more
recently, the evangelical and pentecostal movements have spread
throughout the Caribbean. Consequently, evangelical alliances or
fellowships can be found in many countries and territories of the
Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) grew out of a dynamic precursor
of ecumenical activity in the 1960s and was formally established during
the socio-cultural and political ferment of the early 1970s. This
was the immediate post-colonial period of the Region during which many
countries gained their political independence. It was a time when the
Region as a whole was enveloped in a movement towards
self-determination, development and new forms of self-expression. The
joint response and contribution of several churches to this new
regional awareness was the formation of an organisation called
Christian Action for Development in the Caribbean (CADEC). This
organisation is the precursor of the CCC, and would later become one of
two major departments of the CCC. The other department was known as the
Agency for Renewal of the Churches (ARC).
founding assembly of the CCC took place in 1973, in Kingston, Jamaica.
The thirty three member churches of the CCC represent a vast diversity
of people and cultures, spread over many islands and mainland
territories of South and Central America and belonging to four major
linguistic groupings – Dutch, English, French and Spanish.
Included in this grouping are: Cayenne (French Guiana), Cuba,
Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique and Puerto Rico. The CCC’s member
churches share the common conviction that, despite the divisiveness of
the long colonial heritage, there is an authentic, unifying Caribbean
identity through which Caribbean people must articulate God’s
will for them and make their response to it.
one of six Regional Ecumenical Organisations (REOs), the CCC is
historically unique, being the first instance in the world in which the
Roman Catholic Church – formally through its bishops’
conference - was a founding member of an REO. Over the forty three
years of its existence, the CCC’s member churches have together
taken many initiatives in the areas of theology, Christian education,
integral development, youth and women’s concerns, family life,
human rights, and communications.
from the CCC, there are other institutional expressions of ecumenism in
the Caribbean. One such outstanding manifestation is The United
Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI), located in Jamaica. On
a wider Regional level, there is also the Caribbean Association of
Theological Schools (CATS). This organisation brings together in a
collaborative manner the two major theological colleges of the
Anglophone Caribbean – UTCWI; Codrington (Anglican) College,
(Barbados); and the two Roman Catholic Colleges: St. John Vianney and
the Uganda Martyrs, (Trinidad), and St. Michael’s (Jamaica).
Printable (pdf) version of these daily reflections
DAY 1: Thur 18th Jan: You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt
After becoming the first independent black republic,
Haiti extended hospitality to other enslaved peoples in search of
freedom. Recent times have brought economic hardship to Haitians, many
of whom have left home, making perilous journeys in hope of a better
life. In many instances they have been met with inhospitality and legal
barriers. The Caribbean Council of Churches has been involved in
advocacy to challenge those nations that are restricting or stripping
Haitians of citizenship rights.
Like Israel, our common Christian experience of God’s saving
action goes together with remembering both alienation and estrangement:
from God and from his kingdom. Christian love is to love like the
Father, that is to recognize dignity and to give dignity, and thereby
to help bring healing to the
broken human family.
You belong to no culture and land but are Lord of all,
you call us to welcome the stranger in our midst.
Help us by your Spirit, to live as brothers and sisters,
welcoming all in your name, and living in the justice of your kingdom. This we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
DAY 2: Fri 19th Jan: No longer as a slave but a beloved brother.
trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which victims are forced
or tricked into sex work, child labour and the harvesting of organs for
the profit of the exploiters. It is a global, multimillion-dollar
industry. It is also a growing problem across the Caribbean. Reformed
Churches in the Caribbean have joined with the Council for World
Mission and the Caribbean and North American Council for Mission to
educate Christian communities to end trafficking.
Jesus challenged the social norms that devalued the human dignity of
Samaritans, describing the Samaritan as the ‘neighbour’ of
the man who had been attacked on the road. Paul describes the
once-enslaved Onesimus as ‘a beloved brother’,
transgressing the norms of his society and affirming Onesimus’s
humanity. Christians must be ‘bold enough in Christ’ to
raise a united voice in clearly recognising trafficked persons as their
neighbours and their beloved brothers and sisters, and so work together
to end modern-day slavery.
draw near to those who are victims of human trafficking,
assuring them that you see their plight and hear their cry.
May your Church be united in compassion and courage to work for that
day when no one will be exploited and all will be free to live
lives of dignity and peace.
This we pray in the name of the Triune God who can do
immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. Amen.
DAY 3: Sat 20th Jan: Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit
Many Christian churches in the Caribbean share a concern
about the issue of pornography, especially via the internet.
Pornography has destructive consequences for human dignity,
particularly for children and young people. Like slavery, it
commodifies human beings, ensnares those addicted to it and damages
wholesome loving relationships.
God still hears the cry of those who are subject to enslavement today,
and wills to deliver them. While sexuality is a gift of God for human
relationships and the expression of intimacy, the misuse of this gift
through pornography enslaves and devalues both those caught up in
producing it and those who consume it. St Paul writes that we are
called to give glory to God in our own bodies, which means that every
part of our lives, including our relationships, can and should be an
offering pleasing to God. Christians must work together for the kind of
society that upholds human dignity and does not put a stumbling block
before any of God’s little ones, but, rather, enables them to
live in the freedom which is God’s will for them.
By your heavenly grace, O God,
restore us in mind and body, create in us a clean heart and a pure
mind that we may give glory to your Name. May the churches attain
unity of purpose for the sanctification of your people,
through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
DAY 4: Sun 21st Jan: Hope and Healing
Within the Caribbean, violence is a problem to which the
churches are called to respond. There is an alarmingly high rate of
murder, much of which stems from domestic abuse, gang warfare and other
forms of criminality. There is also a rising rate of self-harm and
suicide in some parts of the region.
How can Christians bring the light of Jesus to those living in the
darkness of domestic and gang violence? What sense of hope can
Christians offer? It is a sad reality that division among Christians is
a counter-sign, which hampers the communication of hope.
However, when Christians strive for unity in a world of conflict, they
offer the world a sign of reconciliation. Christians who refuse to
enter a logic of privilege and status, who refuse to demean others and
their communities, give witness to the peace of God’s kingdom,
where the Lamb guides the saints to springs of the water of life. This
is a peace the world needs, and one which brings healing and comfort to
those afflicted by violence.
God of all comfort and hope,
your resurrection defeated the violence of the cross.
As your people, may we be a visible sign
that the violence of the world will be overcome.
This we pray in the name of our risen Lord.
DAY 5: Mon 22nd Jan: Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land!
Caribbean economies are based on the production of raw
materials for the European market and so have never been
self-sustaining. As a consequence, borrowing on the international
market became important for development. The requirements of such
borrowing reduces spending on transport, education, health and other
public services, which impacts most severely on the poor. The Caribbean
Conference of Churches has launched an initiative to address the
current debt crisis in the region.
As Jesus enters Jericho, many voices shout down the cry of the
blind beggar. He is an embarrassment. But Jesus hears the blind
man’s voice, just as God always hears the cries of the poor in
the Hebrew Scriptures. The Lord not only hears, he responds and the
beggar’s life is radically transformed.
The disunity of Christians can become part of the world’s tumult
and chaos. Our divisions can drown out the cry of the poor. When we are
united we are better able to hear, listen and respond.
Loving God, you lift up the poor and distressed and restore their
dignity. Hear now our cries for the poor of our world, restore their
hope and lift them up, that all your people may be one. This we pray in
Jesus name. Amen.
DAY 6: Tues 23rd Jan: Let us look to the interests of others.
international banking regulations continue to have a negative impact on
the trade and commerce of the Caribbean and threaten the economic
survival of many families. It has become
increasingly difficult for Caribbean people working abroad to send
money back to their families. The Churches in the Caribbean introduced
the Credit Union movement in order for the poor to have access to
finance for economic activity.
In the Scriptures, God always makes a preferential option for the poor.
Jesus consistently warns against the dangers of greed. However, the sin
of greed often infects our Christian communities. Insofar as we fail to
differentiate ourselves from the world, but conform to its divisive
competing spirit, we fail to offer ‘a refuge for the needy in
distress, a shelter from the storm’. For our various churches and
confessions, to be rich in the sight of God is to recognise that as
Christians we have countless brothers and sisters right across the
world. Conscious of this fraternity in Christ, Christians can join
hands in promoting economic justice for all.
Almighty God, give courage and strength to your church to
continually proclaim justice and righteousness in situations of
domination and oppression. As we celebrate our unity in
Christ, may your Holy Spirit help us to look to the needs of
DAY 7: Wed 24th Jan: Building family in household and church.
the Caribbean the family continues to be adversely affected by the
legacy of enslavement and by new factors such as the migration of
parents, financial problems and domestic violence. Facing this reality,
the churches of the Caribbean are working to give support to families.
Families are of central importance for the protection and nurture of
children. The Bible accounts of the infancies of both Moses and Jesus,
who were in mortal danger from the moment they were born. These stories
also show how action can be taken to protect such little ones. Matthew
presents us with a model of fatherhood that is in loving fidelity to
the Lord’s command, especially in turbulent times. The Scriptures
view children as a blessing and as hope for the future. For the
Psalmist, they are ‘like arrows in the hand of a warrior’.
As Christians, we share a common calling to live as supportive family
networks, relying on the strength of the Lord for the task of building
strong communities in which children are protected and can flourish.
Gracious God, you sent your son to be born in an ordinary
family with ancestors who were both faithful and sinful. We ask
your blessing upon all families and communities. We pray
especially for the unity of the Christian family so that the world may
believe. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
DAY 8: Thurs 25th Jan: He will gather the dispersed… from the four corners of the earth.
Caribbean churches work together to heal the wounds in the Body of
Christ in the region: a legacy left by colonization. Reconciliation
often demands repentance, reparation and the healing of memories. One
example is the acts of apology and reparation between Baptists in
Britain and the Caribbean. Like Israel, the Church in its unity is
called to be both a sign and an active agent of reconciliation.
The formation of God’s chosen people – united in a sacred
covenant with God – is integral to the Lord’s plan of
salvation and to the glorification and hallowing of God’s Name.
The prophets repeatedly remind Israel that the covenant demanded that
relationships among its various social groups should be characterized
by justice, compassion and mercy. As Jesus
prepared to seal the new covenant in his own blood, his
earnest prayer was that those given to him by the Father would be one,
just as he and the Father were one. God’s covenanted people must
always strive to be a reconciled community - one which itself is an
effective sign to all the peoples of the earth of how to live in
justice and in peace.
Lord, we humbly ask that, by your grace, the churches
throughout the world may become instruments of your peace.
Through their joint action as ambassadors and agents of your
healing, reconciling love among divided peoples, may your
Name be hallowed and glorified. Amen.
LINKS TO PREVIOUS YEARS' WEEK OF PRAYER AT KILMACUD
2014: Has Christ been divided?
Speakers: Rev. Ian Gallagher, St Brigid's Church of Ireland, Stillorgan
Dr Geraldine Smyth, Irish School
Rev. Canon Robert Warren, Taney Parish, Church of Ireland, Dundrum
Rev.Tony Coote, Adm., Kilmacud & Mount Merrion Parishes
Rev.Jameson Kunjukunju, Mar Thoma Syrian Church
2015: Jesus said to her: "Give me a drink "
Speakers: Rev. Katherine Meyer, United Methodist/Presbyterian Church, Sandymount
Rev. Robert Opala OCD, Carmelite Community, Oxford, UK
Rev. Ian Gallagher, St Brigid's Church of Ireland, Stillorgan
Rev.Tony Coote, Adm., Kilmacud & Mount Merrion Parishes
Mrs. Alex Fromholz, Lay Teacher/Leadership Team,
Holy Trinity Church of Ireland,
2016: Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
Speakers: Rev. Stephen Taylor, Dundrum Methodist Church
Rev. Gillian Wharton, Booterstown and Carysfort wtih Mount Merrion, Church of Ireland
Rev. Ian Gallagher, St Brigid's Church of Ireland,
Rev.Tony Coote, Adm., Kilmacud & Mount Merrion
Sr Mary O'Driscoll OP, Dominican Sisters, Cabra
2017: The love of Christ compels us
Speakers: Rev. Ruth Patterson, Restoration Ministries, Belfast
Rev. Ian Gallagher, St. Brigid’s Church of
Rev. Kieran McDermott, Vicar for Evangelisation &
Ecumenism, Archdiocese of Dublin
Rev.Tony Coote, Adm., Kilmacud & Mount Merrion
Pr Martin Sauter, St. Finian's
Lutheran Church, International Congregation