Every year, between Jan. 18 and Jan. 25, Christians around the world are invited to celebrate a week of prayer for the unity of all Christians, to reflect on scripture together, to participate in jointly-organized ecumenical services, and to share fellowship.
This week is formally called the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” and there is a wealth of information about the history of this week as well as how churches celebrate it at www.councilofchurches.ca/our-faith/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity/.
Here in Hope, our Christian Ministerial Association seeks to focus on the call to live and serve together, despite the differences between us.
As I interact with others and share how the Christian Churches of Hope work together, I always find people surprised at how we function as a diverse and yet united group of churches. It’s always been something that I have been thankful for, even more so as I see how rare it is in the world outside our community.
A question we often encounter is “If you all follow Jesus, how come you can’t come to an agreement on everything?”
The truth is we do agree on all the basics, which we see in the Apostle’s and the Nicene Creed, but just as the world is filled with people of diverse personalities, gifts, and abilities, the church has a variety of expressions.
As we sit around the table at our ministerial meetings we have to smile at the differences among us: Christ Church Anglican, Northwest Harvest, Hope Pentecostal Assembly, Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic, Hope United, Grace Baptist and Hope Lutheran. And that doesn’t even include all the Christian churches in Hope.
Yet we all believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, His teachings on truth, love, and forgiveness, as well as His presence in our day to day lives. Outside of that we celebrate the fact that the way we live it out, both inside and outside our church walls, is diverse and varied.
We have come to believe that what is most important is that each person seek out a relationship with Jesus, for that is why He came and what He wants. Then we encourage you to find a place to nurture and grow in that faith in one of the churches that serve our amazing community of Hope.
This coming week we celebrate that, though we work toward the goal in a variety of ways, we are united in what we believe.
God loves humanity, and invites us into a relationship with Him through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
It’s our hope that the unity we are seeking to live out inspires you to make that connection.
On behalf of the Hope Ministerial,
Lead Pastor, Grace Baptist Church