Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019

18-25th January inclusive at 4.30pm.

The night before his Passion and Death, Jesus said:

“May they all be one,
just as, Father,
you are in me and I am in you” Jn 17:21

Each 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. 

QUICK LINKS:             THEME & BIBLICAL TEXT 2019           

                                    ECUMENISM IN INDONESIA

                                    DAILY REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS

                                    PREVIOUS YEARS

"Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue" Deut 16: 18-20

BIBLICAL TEXT FOR 2019:  Deuteronomy 16: 18-20

Rejoice before the Lord your God — you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, the Levites resident in your towns, as well as the strangers, the orphans, and the widows who are among you — at the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and diligently observe these statutes.
You shall keep the festival of booths for seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing-floor and your wine press. Rejoice during your festival, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, as well as the Levites, the strangers, the orphans, and the widows resident in your towns. For seven days you shall keep the festival to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose; for the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all your undertakings, and you shall surely celebrate.
Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the festival of unleavened bread, at the festival of weeks, and at the festival of booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed; all shall give as they are able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
You shall appoint judges and officials throughout your tribes, in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall render just decisions for the people. You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

        New Revised Standard Version

Guest speakers at the Carmelite Monastery this week:

Friday 18th: Rev. Ian Gallagher, St. Brigid’s Church of Ireland, Stillorgan

Saturday 19th: 
Reflection by a Carmelite Sister

Sunday 20th: Reflection by a Carmelite Sister

Monday 21st: 
Reflection by a Carmelite Sister

Tuesday 22nd: 
Reflection by a Carmelite Sister

Wednesday 23rd:
Rev. Dr. Heather Morris, Home Mission Department, Methodist Church in Ireland 

Thursday 24th:
Reflection by a Carmelite Sister

Friday 25th: 
Rev. Ibrahim (Hann) Riberu OCD, St Joseph's Carmelite Commisarate, Indonesia.


This text is reproduced under the sole authority and responsibility of the ecumenical group in Indonesia which came together to write the source texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019.

Indonesia is a pluralistic society, a home for people of many tribes, languages, cultures and religions. Out of 265 million people, around 12% are Catholics and Protestants. Christianity first came to Indonesia as early as the seventh century, brought by the Nestorians to North Sumatra; however, it did not survive. The gospel was next brought by Catholic missionaries who followed in the wake of Portuguese merchants in the early 16th century. These included the Jesuit St Francis Xavier, who worked in the Maluku islands from 1546-1547. The first baptism was in Mamuya, Halmahera, in 1534. In 1605 the Dutch, under the flag of a trading company called the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC, the Dutch East India Company), expelled the Portuguese from Indonesia. With the arrival of these Dutch merchants, Protestantism was introduced in Indonesia and Catholics were forced to convert to Protestantism.

The Communion of Churches in Indonesia
Persekutuan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia (PGI), the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, is a fellowship of the Protestant churches in Indonesia. It was founded as Dewan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia (DGI), the Council of Churches in Indonesia, on May 25, 1950 with the aim of uniting the churches in Indonesia. In its 10thGeneral Assembly in Ambon in 1980, the DGI changed its name to Persekutuan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia (PGI). The members of the Council came to the point that, after working together for some years, they needed to deepen and strengthen their fellowship and move beyond organizational matters into a common commitment as a communion of churches, working together in concrete ways to promote the unity of the Church and to proclaim the gospel in the context of a pluralistic Indonesian society.

It was during this 1980 Assembly that the PGI produced “Five Documents of Church Unity”, which consists of: (1) Common Calling of the Churches in Indonesia, (2) Common Understanding of Christian Faith, (3) Common Recognition and Acceptance among the Churches in Indonesia, (4) By Laws, (5) Towards Self-Reliance in Theology, Resources and Finance of the Churches in Indonesia. These documents reflect the theological and ecclesiological understanding of the member churches in the light of their common striving towards Church unity, manifested in concrete programs for renewing, developing and uniting the churches. These documents are always reviewed by the General Assembly of PGI which is held every five years. 

From time to time the PGI issues relevant public statements or sends letters to the government of the Republic of Indonesia in response to certain critical issues in society, including the implementation of religious freedom and advocacy for justice and peace, especially for those who are marginalized. Similarly, the PGI sends pastoral letters to its member churches addressing critical issues in Indonesia, such as freedom of religion, corruption, human rights violations, violence, child protection, etc. 

Catholicism in Indonesia and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Despite early missionary successes in the 16th century, Catholicism was suppressed under Dutch rule until 1807, when political events in Europe again allowed Catholics freedom of worship. Roman Catholicism thus existed only in restricted pockets until the second half of the 19th century and the 20th century when new missionary efforts established schools, seminaries and new worshipping communities. The first indigenous Indonesian priests were ordained in the 1920s, and one of these priests, Fr Albertus Soegijapranata SJ, became the first indigenous bishop in 1940. Something of a national hero because of his support for Indonesian independence, he is remembered for his slogan, “100% Catholic, 100% Indonesian”.
The Indonesian Catholic Bishops’ Conference was first formed in the 1920s and then reconstituted in the 1950s to include bishops from all parts of the newly independent country. Since 1987 it has been called the Konferensi Waligereja Indonesia (KWI). For many years, PGI and KWI have worked in close cooperation, particularly in addressing issues of common concern in the country. Since 1980, PGI and KWI have issued a joint Christmas message annually, mostly addressing national issues in the light of the Christmas gospels. This message is read in parishes of both Catholic and Protestant churches. Gradually, the theme of the annual PGI-KWI Christmas message has been adopted nationally. One of the issues regularly addressed by both bodies is related to the implementation of religious freedom for all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. Whenever needed, PGI and KWI issue public statements relating to emerging issues in society which threaten justice and peace in the community and the welfare of the people.

Churches in Indonesia are aware of the importance of building and strengthening relationships with people of different faiths. PGI and KWI are very much involved in interfaith dialogue and cooperation. Both bodies have actively participated in the joint collaboration of different faith organizations in Indonesia which recognises six official religions, namely: Islam, Protestant Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. Faith leaders from these religions meet from time to time to discuss some crucial issues and often release joint statements regarding particular concerns. At the local level, many congregations and parishes related to PGI and KWI are also actively involved in interreligious dialogue and concrete actions in the society.


Printable (pdf) version of these daily reflections

DAY 1: Fri 18th Jan: Let justice roll down like waters
Christians can sometimes be very committed to prayer and worship, but less concerned for the poor. Sometimes we pray in church, but at the same time oppress our fellow human beings or exploit the environment. Christians in Indonesia recognize that in their land some people practise their faith, but also oppress those of other beliefs, even with violence. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus reminds us that the outward sign of true worship is acting justly. He is fierce in his condemnation of those who neglect this obligation. God rejects the worship offered by those who neglect justice, until they ‘let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ (Amos 5:24). Amos insists on the absolute link between worship and doing deeds of justice. When Christians work together to listen to the cry of the poor, they grow in communion with one another and with the Triune God.

God of the widow, the orphan and the stranger, 
You have shown us the path of justice. Help us to follow your way by doing justice as our worship of you. As Christians together, may we worship you not only with our hearts and minds, but also by our deeds.
May the Holy Spirit help and guide us to work for justice wherever we are, so that many people may be strengthened through our works. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

DAY 2: Sat 19th Jan: Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’ Violence towards fellow humans is not found only in physical assault and robbery, but also in gossip and malicious rumours. Social media have made it easy for untruths to be circulated instantly to a wide audience. Christians in Indonesia are aware of how this has sometimes led to lies and prejudice being propagated by religious groups, including Christians, against other religions. Deceitfulness destroys good relationships between persons and between groups, including churches. Dishonesty disrupts the unity of the Church. Christians are called to be honest and accountable to each other, so that they may grow in fellowship. When we do so, it is not the spirit of the evil one, but the Holy Spirit of God who will be with us.

God of righteousness, 
grant us wisdom to distinguish right from wrong.
Let our hearts be guided by honesty and our lips speak the truth. Give us courage to be truthful even when others go against us. Keep us from spreading deceit; 
make us, rather, agents of unity and peace, 
spreading good news for all people. We pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


DAY 3: Sun 20th Jan:  The Lord is gracious and merciful to all 
The love of God is beyond boundaries of ethnicity, culture, race, and even religion. The account of the genealogy of Jesus reflects this expansive vision. Matthew names four women among the ancestors of Jesus, two of whom, Ruth and Rahab, were Gentiles. Three other ancestors in the list were known for their sinfulness, including the adulterous King David. God includes everyone, male and female, sinner and righteous, in his plan of salvation, regardless of their backgrounds. Indonesia is a nation of over 17,000 islands and 1,340 different ethnic groups, and churches are often separated along ethnic lines. Amidst escalating ethnic and religious fanaticism and a growing spirit of intolerance, Christians can serve the human family by joining together to bear witness to the all-embracing love of God, proclaiming ‘the Lord is gracious and merciful’ to all.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, we give praise to you for your great glory made manifest in all of creation. Give us an open heart to embrace all who experience discrimination. 
Help us to grow in love beyond prejudice and injustice. 
Grant us the grace to respect the uniqueness of each person, 
so that in our diversity we may experience unity. 
This prayer we make in your holy name. Amen.

DAY 4: Be content with what you have
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews warns against excessive love of money and material things. In the face of our tendency to think we never have enough, this text reminds us that God will never forsake creation. Through the fruitfulness of earth, rivers and seas, God’s goodness has provided ample food and fresh water to sustain all living beings, and yet many people lack these basic necessities. Human weakness and greed frequently lead to corruption, injustice, poverty and hunger. It can be tempting to gather and accumulate money, food and natural resources for ourselves, or our own nation or ethnic group. In recent years, some churches in Indonesia have been providing various kinds of financial, human and educational support to small churches in rural areas.  Living more simply, not preoccupied with earning money beyond our needs or with hoarding resources for the future, can enable us to make the earth, our common home, a more just place.

Compassionate God, we thank you for your bountiful gifts.
Give us the grace to accept all blessings in simplicity and with humble gratitude. Enable us to be content and ready to share with others who are in need, so that all may experience unity in the love that flows from you, our Triune God, who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

DAY 5: Tues 22nd Jan:  To bring good news to the poor
The prophet Amos criticized traders who practiced deceit and exploited the poor in order to gain maximum profit. Amos also underlined how God observes their wrongdoing and will never forget it. God listens to the cries of victims of injustice and never forsakes those who are exploited and treated unjustly. We live in a globalized world where the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider. Economic issues often trigger tensions and conflicts. It is hard to enjoy peace when justice is absent. By virtue of our common Baptism, all Christians share in the prophetic mission of Jesus to proclaim good news to the poor and the weak, in both words and deeds. When we recognise this mission, the Spirit of the Lord will be upon us too, empowering us to work for justice. Our dignity as Christians calls us to speak and act in such a way that the words of Jesus are fulfilled each day in the hearing of those around us.

God our Father, forgive our lust for power 
and free us from the temptation to oppress others.
By your Holy Spirit of communion, 
help us to live in solidarity with our neighbour,
and so share together with your Son Jesus 
in fulfilling your promise of freedom from poverty and
oppression. We pray in his name. Amen.

DAY 6: Wed 23rd Jan:  The Lord of hosts is his name
The created world is a manifestation of God’s wondrous power. Today, however, we are facing a serious global ecological crisis, which threatens the survival of the natural world. In this context it is useful to remember that after his resurrection, Jesus commissioned the disciples to proclaim the good news ‘to the whole creation’. No part of creation is outside God’s plan to make all things new. Movements among people of different faiths in Indonesia and many other places are inspiring Christians to promote eco-friendly churches, and to take a stand against environmental abuses. This unites Christians in bearing witness to their Creator, ‘for he is the one who formed all things’. When we join with other Christians in defence of our common earthly home, we are fulfilling the Lord’s command to proclaim the good news to all of creation.

Loving God, by your word all things came to be.
We thank you for the universe which manifests your glory, beauty and kindness. Grant us the wisdom to walk gently upon the earth and together to be prophets of your good news to all creation. Amen.

DAY 7: Woman, great is your faith!
In the Bible,  Eli misjudged Hannah’s deep and fervent prayer and condemned her, dismissing her supplications as drunken ramblings. Likewise, when the Canaanite woman came to beg Jesus to heal her daughter, he initially dismissed her. In both cases, a woman who was initially marginalised turned out to be speaking prophetic words. Even within our churches today we often devalue women. Many women and children are snatched forcibly from their homes and trafficked to other lands. These are often denied the most basic human rights. In recent years churches in Indonesia have taken common action against
human trafficking and the sexual abuse of children. Their efforts are all the more urgent since the number of victims in some parts of their country is increasing daily. God also speaks today through the cries of the most abused in society.

Gracious God, You are the source of human dignity. 
As we search to manifest the unity of the Church, 
grant us the courage to reject all forms of violence against women and to celebrate the gifts of the Spirit 
that women bring to the service of the Church. 
This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God for ever and ever. Amen.

DAY 8: Fri 25th Jan:  The Lord is my light and my salvation

Throughout the eight days of this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the daily reflections have considered many difficult situations facing the world today, including greed, violence, exclusion, exploitation, poverty, pollution, hunger and trafficking. Churches in Indonesia are conscious that some of these sins have tainted the lives of their churches too, wounding their unity and diminishing their witness to the world. At the same time, they recognise as well the many promising instances of churches coming together to witness to their unity in Christ. Christians in other parts of the world can name many other examples from their own situations. The Holy Trinity is the source of all unity and Jesus is the light of the world, who promises the light of life to those who follow him. The many injustices in the world frequently sadden or anger us, but we Christians do not lose hope. We move to action because the Lord is our light and our salvation.

God our Sustainer, we praise you for your loving kindness, 
for upholding us in times of trial, and showing us your light in times of darkness. Transform our lives so that we may be a blessing for others. Help us to live unity in diversity as a
witness to your communion, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 
one God now and forever. Amen.



2014: Has Christ been divided? 

Speakers:     Rev. Ian Gallagher, St Brigid's Church of Ireland, Stillorgan
                   Dr Geraldine Smyth, Irish School of Ecumenics
                   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,                                 Rathmines

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, Stillorgan
                    Rev.Tony Coote, Adm., Kilmacud & Mount Merrion Parishes
                    Sr Mary O'Driscoll OP, Dominican Sisters, Cabra

2017: The love of Christ compels us

     Rev. Ruth Patterson, Restoration Ministries, Belfast
                    Rev. Ian Gallagher, St. Brigid’s Church of Ireland, Stillorgan
                    Rev. Kieran McDermott, Vicar for Evangelisation & Ecumenism, Archdiocese of Dublin

                    Rev.Tony Coote, Adm., Kilmacud & Mount Merrion Parishes
                    Pr Martin Sauter, St. Finian's Lutheran Church, International Congregation
2018: Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power

Speakers:      Rev. Vanessa Wyse Jackson, Rathgar Methodist Church
Dr Paul Manook, (Dishchekenian) The Armenian Apostolic Church in Ireland
Rev. Ian Gallagher, St. Brigid’s Church of Ireland, Stillorgan
                    Rev. Martin Kilmurray, O.Carm, Prior, Gort Muire Carmelite Community

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