15th Annual Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Unity

15th Annual
Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Unity
Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him him, and he would have given you living water.”

(Cf. John 4:7-10)

John's powerful Gospel account of Jesus' encounter and dialogue with the Samaritan woman is the theme for the 2015 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It was also the focal point of the 15th Annual Ecumenical Prayer Service on May 17, 2015, sponsored by Ecumenism Metro Chicago (EMC) and hosted by Fourth Presbyterian Church. The annual service is a continuation of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity observed throughout the world from January 18th-25th.

During the pre-service reception individuals from various Christian churches gathered in small groups to share information regarding their own religious experiences and Christian traditions. Guests also had an opportunity to enjoy an artwork exhibit prepared by students in Chicago-area elementary schools using the "water" theme. Their posters and essays included reflections on bible stories relating to Christian baptism; the importance of water in our Sacred Scriptures; and a display on water projects around the globe with a baptismal theme.

As the celebrants entered in procession, representatives of several participating churches passed near the "well" and slowly emptied their water jugs containing water from different sources. This blending of water symbolizes our unity which is real, although still incomplete.

Following the opening prayers, the congregants joined in prayers for Christian Unity lead by the judicatory leaders of Christian churches in the Chicago area.

Rev. Dr. John Armstrong delivered the sermon. Dr. Armstrong is a minister in the Reformed Church in America and the Founder/President of ACT3 Network, a ministry committed to ecumenism and mission.

Planning and coordinating the annual prayer service requires a great commitment of time and resources. We acknowledge and thank Dr. Joyce Shin and the staff at Fourth Presbyterian Church for hosting the 2015 service.

 

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