The global Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is held annually in January. It has taken place for well over one hundred years. Many countries have such gatherings. This year the liturgy was created by the ecumenical movement in Brazil. One of the major Chicago area gatherings for unity was hosted by my home congregation in Carol Stream, Lutheran Church of the Master, and co-sponsored by the Focolare Movement in Chicago and ACT3 Network. The evening of Saturday, January 24, was one of the more spiritually moving ecumenical gatherings that I have participated in personally. We drew Christians from many churches and traditions. And we were international and multi-ethnic as well. The leaders were both Catholic and Protestant. The stories shared, the sermon given, the Scriptures read and the hymns sung were all done so well by so many people. And after the service people lingered for more than an hour to get to know one another. One of the great outcomes of such a gathering is deep friendship.
We made the decision to not record this entire event but we did make a really well-done documentary of the evening. Why? We desire to encourage leaders in other cities to learn from this event and then create such prayer services in your own city. I dream of every city in America having such a service at least annually but perhaps more often.
I personally dream of having this kind of gathering more often here in Chicago. I am in the process of determining if we can do this at least three times a year. Pray for all of us as we plan and prayerfully consider this decision. A lot of work is needed and a number of volunteers. Let me know if you are interested. An urban prayer gathering for unity will take place on Sunday, May 17, at 3:00 p.m. at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago and I will be the preaching minister at this year’s Chicago gathering. I hope some of you will plan to attend.
If you live outside Chicago and would like to have such an event in your city then this video can help you. It is designed to spread this vision. Let me know how ACT3 can help you do such an event if you would like to host a similar service of praise and prayer.
Tomorrow the sermon from this event will be posted in an audio version. It is one of the finest fifteen minutes of Christian unity you will ever hear. I hope you will come back and listen on Tuesday.
This video is on our ACT3 homepage and also on the site that I created some months ago and now I am finally adding stories to it regularly: My Christian Unity Story.com.