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The Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) of the Council of Bishops is encouraging United Methodists around the world to participate in the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18-25, 2014.
"We participate in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to remind ourselves that we belong to Christ, and that we are one family in Christ," said Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, ecumenical officer for the council.
*Has Christ Been Divided?* is the theme for this year's observance. Resources, including posters, daily scripture, prayer guides, bulletins, pulpit announcements and prayer cards, are available online from the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.
"There are so many church-dividing issues to contend with these days that many of us are very weary," said the Rev. Stephen Sidorak, ecumenical staff officer for the OCUIR. "During this special week set aside for intentional and communal prayer for Christian unity let us appreciate once more our need to rely less on ourselves and more on the Lord to show us the denominational and ecumenical way forward."
In addition to constant prayer during the designated week, Christians are encouraged to continue prayer for unity throughout the entire year, especially at noon each Friday.
Begun in 1908, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated each year in cities and towns across the country and around the world. The theme and text for each year's observance are chosen and prepared by representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and representatives of the World Council of Churches. The international texts are developed, adapted and published for use in the USA by the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.
*The United Methodist OCUIR works for unity and peace with other Christian denominations and seeks to strengthen interreligious relationships and community building. For more information, visit www.ocuir.org.