'Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them' from Matt. 18:20 is the theme of the 2006 edition of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It was chosen by an ecumenical group in Ireland.
Jointly prepared since 1968 by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Roman Catholic Church, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally celebrated from 18-25 January, although in the Southern hemisphere, other dates are sometimes chosen, for example, around Pentecost.
Setting out their reasons for choosing Matt. 18:20 as the central biblical text and theme for 2006, the Irish preparatory group explained that they 'wished to draw attention to Jesus as the source of our unity' and to underline 'the simplicity of two or three coming together in Christian mutual love as a vital means of building up relations between divided peoples and communities.'
They were, moreover, 'mindful that hope for the future, and peace and reconciliation in the present necessarily involved dealing with painful memories and hurtful grievances of the past.' It is 'in that spirit,' they say, 'that all Christians who use these Week of Prayer resources are encouraged to come together in prayer and in mutual love to seek to understand each other amidst differences.'
Week of Prayer resources include an introduction to the theme, a suggested ecumenical worship service that local churches are encouraged to adapt for their own particular liturgical, social and cultural contexts, biblical reflections and prayers for the 'eight days,' and additional prayers from, and an overview of, the ecumenical situation in the particular country that has prepared the material - in this case, Ireland.
The 2006 Week of Prayer materials are available on the WCC website at:
Additional information: email@example.com
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 347, in more than 120 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Samuel Kobia from the Methodist church in Kenya.