Around the World, the week of 18 - 25 January has been celebrated internationally as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year's theme has been "Unusual Kindness" and has been based on the readings about St.Paul being shipwrecked on Malta while being transported to Rome.
Our prayer for Christian unity is deeply rooted in the Bible. We pray for unity because Jesus prayed that His disciples would be one, that the world might believe ( John 17:20-21). St Paul also urged the churches to which he wrote to recognise their unity in Christ, even though there was much diversity within them (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
St Paul challenged his fellow travellers, sailors, soldiers and prisoners to keep up their courage as they faced storm and then shipwreck. In the face of apparent desperation and hopelessness, we are challenged to put our trust in God and allow ourselves to be held and carried through the waters. There will be times when we are broken, as individuals and as churches, and looking back we shall see not just the one set of footprints in the sand, but hundreds, as we are surrounded and supported by those who love us. There will be times when, standing in the storms of our own making, we are challenged to demonstrate unusual kindness in the face of worldly indifference.
In the Ariege, the congregations of the Catholic, Protestant and Anglican Churches held a joint service in the Protestant Temple in the beautiful village of Carla Bayle. Because Carla Bayle stands almost 400m above sea level, however, we modified our theme of a boat to that of a gondola suspended below a hot air balloon.
Please note the figure of Martin Luther standing in the ship's bows !
Our service was led jointly by ministers from all our churches, with the Anglicans leading the prayers of intercession, which were based on the themes of fire, water, air and earth.
After the service, we all took time to share a 'pot d'amitie' and to share fellowship
We look forward to sharing prayer and worship many more times during 2020.
The Ministers' Team (from Left to Right):
Clive and Linda Billenness (Anglican Chaplaincy), Abbe Jean-Marcel Jordana (Roman Catholic Church), Rev Canon Tony Jewiss (Anglican Chaplaincy), Pasteurs Veronique Isenmann and Bernard Bordes (French Protestant Church) and Abbe Edouard De La Portaliere (Roman Catholic Church)