The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
(January 18–25, 2016)
Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." John 4:7
The Church Unity Octave, a forerunner of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, was developed by Father Paul Wattson, SA, at Graymoor in Garrison, New York, and was first observed at Graymoor from January 18-25, 1908. Today, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites the whole Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).
In 1966, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Secretariat (now Council) for Promoting Christian Unity began collaborating as a common international text for worldwide usage. Since 1968 these international texts, which are based on themes proposed by ecumenical groups around the world, have been developed, adapted and published for use in the United States by the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute.
Chosen Theme: Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord (cf. 1 Peter 2:9)
The 2016 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been selected. Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord (cf. 1 Peter 2:9). For the coming year the theme finds its origins in the First Letter of Peter. The initial work on the theme for this year’s Week of Prayer material was prepared by a group of representatives from different parts of Latvia. Representatives were gathered from the Lutheran Church, Latvia House of Prayer for All Peoples, Vertikale Television, Sunday Morning Christian Programme, Chemin Neuf Community, Religious of the Pro Sanctitate Movement, and the Catholic Youth Centre of the Archdiocese of Riga. The texts were finalized during a meeting of the International Committee of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The members of the Committee joined with representatives of the Latvian Churches in September of 2014.
The relationship between baptism and proclamation, and the calling shared by all the baptized to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord was inspired by two verses from the First Letter of St Peter. This calling forms the theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity for 2016. St Peter tells the early Church that in their search for meaning prior to encountering the Gospel they were not a people. But through hearing the call to be God’s chosen raceand receiving the power of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, they have becomeGod’s people. Baptism opens up an exciting new journey of faith, uniting each new Christian with God’s people throughout the ages. In the shared sacred texts of the Bible, we hear of God’s saving acts in salvation history: leading his people out of slavery in Egypt, and the great mighty act of God: the raising of Jesus from the dead, which opened new life to all of us. As Christians seeking the unity of the Body of Christ we are all called to recognize the mighty acts of God in our own lives and the life of the Church.
The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is January 18-25. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Servant of God, Fr. Paul Wattson, SA Founder of the Society of the Atonement, to cover the original days of the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter (January 18) and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25) , and therefore have a symbolic significance.
Materials for the celebration of the Week of Prayer For Christian Unity in 2016 are available at GEII.org.
2016 Week of Prayer For Christian Unity Order Form >>