2022 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - A reflection

By Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated every year from 18-25 January in the Northern Hemisphere or around the feast of Pentecost in the Southern Hemisphere.  

It is sponsored jointly by the Pontifical Council for Promoting  Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches’ Commission on Faith and Order.  Supporting materials are created by the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute.  Christians from around the world engage in it and celebrate it.

Each year materials are prepared by an ecumenical group of Christians in a particular region, centered on a scriptural text and theme. They outline the liturgy for a joint worship service and write brief scriptural reflections for each day of the week.  Participation in ecumenical gatherings during this special week within our contexts is an excellent way to make a visible witness of the unity of Christ’s followers.
The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2022 was chosen by the Middle East Council of Churches, originating with the churches in Lebanon.  Present times in Lebanon are challenging economically, and made even more so because of the results of COVID.  They call Christians around the world to prayer and worship in difficult times.
They took the theme, “We saw the star in the east and came to worship Him,” from Matthew 2:2.  The theme has to do with Epiphany, coming together and worshiping.  Global Christianity will celebrate the gift of unity under the revelation of the star and the Good News that came to us from that day forward. 
Every United Methodist annual conference is encouraged to participate with ecumenical services of prayer and worship as a statement of our belief we are “a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ” (Article IV of “The Constitution,” The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016, ¶4, p. 26). 
Ideas for participating include:
  • Using part of the litany during a Sunday morning worship service and teaching about the Week during that service,
  • Praying for the churches of the Middle East Council of Churches and other Christians around the world during the Pastoral Prayer on Sunday morning,
  • Organizing a joint online worship service with other local congregations in the area,
  • Writing letters of prayer and encouragement to those congregations,
  • Choosing a ministry project your congregation could do with those congregations,
  • Holding a study during the week about the Week and the year’s theme,
  • Writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper, and
  • Joining the UMEIT: Zoom training to be held on January 18 (email spapajeski@umc-cob.org to request a link to the half-hour training).
For resources and more information, go to https://geii.org.