Sunday, January 20, 2013

Christian Unity

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2013: What Does God Require of Us?

“My prayer is not for them alone. 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 have sent me. John 17:20-21

After I announced my departure from St. Paul's last Sunday it opened the opportunity to share the news with colleagues, including those I work with in Oshawa/Lakeridge presbytery and from other denominations.

In the past week I have chaired the presbytery Mission, Outreach and Advocacy committee and attended presbytery. I spent time with our weekly peer group made up of United Church clergy and the next day attended the monthly meeting of our local ministerial with ten pastors and priests from different traditions. There I let them know that I will be relinquishing my involvement with the pastoral and religious care group for Bowmanville hospital, as well as The Gathering Place community meal. On Thursday I chaired The Gathering Place steering group where one member exclaimed "but you have been here forever!" Well, ten years isn't quite forever, but I am the longest serving member of the ministerial.

All these involvements have brought both meaning and a fair amount of time and effort to my role as minister at St. Paul's. I strongly believe though that we are meant as Christians to support one another beyond our own congregation and across denominational lines.

In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity I am aware that one of the reasons some folk don't have much use for organized religion is we are lousy at getting along with others who say they follow Christ. "That all may be one" is the motto of the United Church and from my standpoint we are called to live this out, even when it can be frustrating or time-consuming. It is Jesus' prayer for his disciples during their last meal together.

There are so many priorities in ministry. Do you feel working toward common goals and unity is amongst them?


Forail said...

Most definitely we should work together. We are all one in Christ, why can't we serve the greater community as one?

IanD said...

I agree with Forail, but the practical implications are also there: by not working together, we may be driving away more people than we are attracting.

Laura said...

One of my favourite children's book finishes with the great truth...You are loved and so are they....whenever it becomes only about us or our own way, I think we are missing the Message.
Just watched Hunger Games with a gaggle of youth and we agreed that life gets infinitely more complicated, but much richer as you work towards more than your own personal survival...something churches and faith groups need to be reminded of at times.