For more than 25 years, every January several hundred people from a dozen or more churches of various denominations in Abbotsford have met together for six noon-hour worship services during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
They have joined thousands of others around the globe who have been meeting since the early 1900s.
The local gatherings have been planned by an ad hoc group of lay persons and clergy who meet monthly, believing that what unites us is greater than what divides us.
In each service, we come to pray together for each other and the world, often followed by a shared meal.
Being with Christians who are different than we are, yet linked together in a strong common faith, has become a deep passion.
God's most basic invitation to us is "Love one another." We can't love Christians who are different than us if we don't know them.
We can't know them until we actually meet with them. Unless we spend time with people who are different than we are, we will not appreciate them, understand them, never mind love them.
Using worship materials prepared each year by a working group from a different part of the world, each hosting congregation brings its own tradition and style to the service.
We come to see the multidimensional face of Jesus in each other. We are wired to express our faith in different ways.
It seems these ways of loving God tend to shape our unique denominational identities.
So when we pray together, we are meeting Jesus in greater fullness. Christians of each tradition bring their distinctive and wonderful gifts to the table, so we can enjoy the feast of a generous orthodoxy. All are welcome to attend one or more of the services this January at 12: 30 p.m.
- Monday, Jan. 21, St. Matthews (ANic) at Grace Church
- Tuesday, Jan. 22, St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church
- Wednesday, Jan. 23, Calvin Presbyterian Church
- Thursday, Jan. 24, Trinity Lutheran Church
- Friday, Jan. 25, Mt. Lehman United Church
- Sunday, Jan. 27 Highland Community Church Sunday's evening service starts at 7: 30 p.m..
Donations at all services are designated for the Abbotsford Food Bank and for the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.
- Roland Balzer is chaplain at Tabor Home and a member of Highland Community Church.