Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ecumenical Evening - Montreal Celebrates Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2015

On Sunday January 18, there was an evening of Ecumenical Evening at the Santa Cruz Portuguese Mission celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2015.

Barry Clarke, the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Montreal and other Christian leaders took part in the celebration. There were hundreds of people in attendance including Church dignitaries from many Christian denominations.

The master of ceremonies was deacon Brian Cordeiro and the word of welcome was provided by Father Cardoso of Santa Cruz. The sermon was delivered by His Grace Mgr loan Casian.

The theme for this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have their origins in Brazil. We prayed and sang together with the help of choirs from various churches including beautiful Brazilian music and a gospel choir.

The 2015 theme passage was taken from the Gospel of John—“Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’ ”(John 4:7).

The reading from scripture was from John: There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. She said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle? Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw."

Water was the theme that permeated the event from start to finish. At the start of the service Christian leaders and others processed to the front of the alter where they placed vessels containing water from thirteen Christian churches. The water was subsequently poured into the "common well."

There was also a slide show on water, showing its importance to life and well being and as a metaphor for Christian unification.

The words to the song, "There's a River," (lyrics by Darvel Garvin and Music by Dieter Ferworn) illustrated the importance of water as a symbol for Christian unity:

There's a river we must share
Though many will call it their own
This river that runs freely
To many may never be known
It flow through me, as it flows through you

The Intercessory Prayer called for unity as follows:

"God of eternal compassion, teach your children that charity, hospitality and unity are expression of your revelation and will for humanity."

"God of eternal compassion who spoke to us through creation, then through the prophets and at last through your Son Jesus Christ, grant us your wisdom to listen to your voice that resounds through our diversity and call us to unity."

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