Members of the international group jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches that met at the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland in September, 2019, to prepare materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2021.
The theme for the 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Abide in My Love…You Shall Bear Much Fruit.” It was discerned by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland and finds its origins in the Gospel of John (cf. John 15:5-9).
“Jesus gave his life for all out of his love for all,” said Fr. James Loughran, SA, Director of Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII). “To abide in his love reminds us that we live in a community celebrating our gift of unity.”
The Monastic Community of Grandchamp discerned the theme for 2021 and prepared working drafts of the background and worship materials. These documents subsequently were finalized during an international group meeting sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the International Committee of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches at Grandchamp in September, 2019. Fr. James Puglisi, SA, director of the Centro Pro Unione, a ministry of the Friars of the Atonement that includes an ecumenical library and research center in Rome, Italy, served on the international team.
Established in the Reformed Church in Grandchamp, Areuse, in the canton of Neuchatel, Switzerland, in the 1930s, the Monastic Community of Grandchamp had close ties to the Community of Taizé and Abbé Paul Couturier, a seminal figure in the history of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Today, the community comprises 50 sisters from different generations, churches, countries and continents, called in vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church, the human family and the whole of creation.
In choosing the 2021 theme, the Community of Grandchamp desired to share the experience and wisdom of their contemplative life abiding in the love of God and keeping his commandment of “loving one another as He has loved us.” They remind Christians worldwide about the importance of praying for the fruits of closer communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ and greater solidarity with the whole of creation.
“In these days of the Coronavirus threat, our world has become smaller,” said Fr. James Loughran, SA. “We are one in our response. More than ever, we need to appreciate the value of Christian unity.”
The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is January 18-25. Those dates were proposed by Servant of God, Fr. Paul Wattson, SA, founder of the Society of the Atonement, who initiated observance of the first “Church Unity Octave” in 1908, to cover the original days of the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter (Jan. 18) and the Conversion of St. Paul (Jan. 25), and therefore have a symbolic significance.
Each year, GEII adapts the texts chosen and prepared by representatives of the Vatican and the World Council of Churches and publishes a full suite of print and digital materials and resources for use in celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the U.S. These materials and resources will be available through the GEII website (geii.org/) by October 1st.