The theme for 2014 comes from the churches and communions of Canada. As with many countries in the Western Hemisphere, Canada celebrates the great diversity of its population. Every culture, ethnicity, language group, church and religion has something to contribute to the whole common good. St. Paul emphasizes the call to unity in the gifts of diversity throughout his first Letter to the Corinthians.
Diversity is a wonderful gift, but it can not lead to division for Christ himself is never divided. As many of us reflect on the optimism of the recent world Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea, we give thanks to God for the many gifts shared and pray for the unity of the One Church.
So, nine weeks to go. Oh yes, there is Thanksgiving, with hopefully many ecumenical and interfaith services. And then there's Advent and Christmas to think about first, but planning a good Week of Prayer service takes a little time and creativity.
In order to help with this, Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute offers materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in English and Spanish. Check out www.geii.org/order to see what your community may want to use. There are posters, prayer cards, bulletin covers, daily scripture/prayer guides and Ecumenical Services of the Word. All are intended to help us all commemorate the Week every year.
If nothing else, remember to pray "that they all may be one" this coming January 18-25, 2014. Prayer is the soul of the ecumenical movement. Done well, it moves those engaged into an ecumenism of the heart; the desire for unity grows with the experience of common prayer. Pray every day for the unity of the Church. May the Church always be blessed with diversity but may it also be blessed with reconciliation and peace.