United Methodists annually join other Christians in marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Observed Jan. 18-25 in the Northern Hemisphere and between Ascension Day and Pentecost in the Southern, it is a time to develop Christian unity through prayer and fellowship.
During the eight days, all Christians are called together to form a vibrant and prayerful witness for Christian unity by heeding Jesus’s prayer “that they all may be one.”
“They Showed Us Unusual Kindness” (Acts 28:2) is the theme for the 2020. Christians in Malta and Gozo prepared the materials for this year’s observance. On Feb. 10, many Christians in Malta celebrate the Feast of the Shipwreck of St. Paul, marking and giving thanks for the arrival of Christian faith on the islands. The theme comes from the reading from the Acts of the Apostles used for the feast.
One of the prayers for an ecumenical worship service during the observance notes, “We have assembled here to pray for unity among Christians and reconciliation in the world. Divisions among Christians have existed for many centuries. This causes great pain and is contrary to God’s will. We believe in the power of prayer. Together with Christians all over the world, we offer our prayers as we seek to overcome separation.”
The Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity published the worship resources. Among the writers was a Methodist, the Rev. Kim Hutst, minister at St. Andrew’s Scots’ Church in Vallett, Malta, and a part of Christians Together in Malta, an organization including Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian and Protestant Christians.