Praying for Christian Unity
WORLD – Every year from January 18-25, Christians around the world mark a week of prayer for the unity of the Christian Church.
“Whether it happens to be this particular week in late January or not, I urge our people to include the matter of Christian unity time and again in their prayers,” said Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) President Robert Bugbee. “The Lord Christ prayed for the unity of His people in John 17. We do well to attach our hearts to that great prayer of His.”
In the Gospel of John, Jesus prays for His disciples that they would be sanctified in the truth of God’s Word (John 17:17). “My prayer is not for them alone,” He continues. “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23).
Lutheran Church–Canada currently engages in direct dialogue with three other Christian denominations: the North American Lutheran Church, the Anglican Church of North America, and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition to these dialogues, LCC holds regular contact with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada through its joint work in the Lutheran Council of Canada, as well as through joint work in Canadian Lutheran World Relief. Lutheran Church–Canada also holds observer membership status in the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC).
Globally, LCC is an active member in the International Lutheran Council (ILC) together with other confessional Lutheran churches around the world. The ILC is currently in direct discussion with the Roman Catholic Church on an international level, and one of the dialogue partners is LCC’s own Rev. Dr. John Stephenson.
The origins of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity dates back to 1908.