The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
(January 18–25, 2015)
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: Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."
The 2015 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been selected. For the coming year the theme finds its origins in the Gospel of John:4:1-42. The initial work on the theme for this year’s Week of Prayer material was prepared by a group of representatives from the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC). CONIC appointed a working group formed by representatives from its member churches and affiliated ecumenical organizations to arrive at the theme. The texts were then approved at a meeting held in São Paulo, Brazil of the International Committee composed of members of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting of Christian Unity.
The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman invites us to try water from a different well and also to offer a little of our own. In diversity, we enrich each other. When Jesus says to her, “please give me a drink” it implies an ethical action that recognizes the need for one another in living out the Church’s mission. It compels us to change our attitude, to commit ourselves to seek unity in the midst of our diversity, through our openness to a variety of forms of prayer and Christian spirituality. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a privileged moment for prayer, encounter and dialogue. It is an opportunity to recognize the richness and value that are present in the other, the different, and to ask God for the gift of unity.
The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 18-25 January. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson, 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 2015 are available at GEII.org.
2015 Week of Prayer For Christian Unity Order Form >>