Christians unite in voice and worship during Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Christians unite in voice and worship during Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

February 3, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Christ has not been divided, Anglican Bishop Jane Alexander said Jan. 26 as she reflected on the theme of the 2014 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – Has Christ been Divided?

"No, Christ has not been divided. It's beyond the power of any person, country, denomination or leader to chop Christ into pieces," Alexander said in her homily at the closing service of the Week of Prayer at St. Matthias Anglican Church in southwest Edmonton. "Jesus is fully present in each Church."

Bishops, clergy and lay people of 14 Christian churches and organizations took part in the event, which was put together by the Edmonton and District Council of Churches. Alexander and various other Church leaders, including Archbishop Richard Smith, took part in the service.

At one point, leaders exchanged gifts representative of their churches. The Catholic Church, through Julien Hammond, the director of ecumenism for the Edmonton Archdiocese, presented an icon of St. Joseph the Worker.

Ukrainian Catholic Bishop David Motiuk presented an icon of Christ the teacher.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Ukrainian Catholic Bishop David Motiuk presented an icon of Christ the teacher.

Bishop David Motiuk, leader of Alberta's Ukrainian Catholics, presented an icon of Christ the Teacher. Lutheran Bishop Larry Kochendorfer presented a Bible.

Alexander said Christ is the head of the Church of which we are all members through Baptism and faith. Nevertheless, "there is always a need for us to keep getting together, to keep talking, praying, worshipping and studying together so that we look for that unity in Christ. We are a family."

Alexander said the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity always worries her. "I worry that by creating a week for it, we stop praying for (unity) each and every day with all of our hearts," she said.

"I worry that unity in Christ becomes a kind of glorious and vain hope for the future that we can't imagine achieving unless one group's approach or doctrine wins out over another. I worry that it makes Christ cry because we are not one as he and the Father are one."

The Anglican leader said when we think of Christian unity and the reflections of the Week of Prayer "we remember that Christ is indeed in the midst of all our churches and that in getting to know one another better we will see Christ even more clearly."

"So when we gather together in church councils or ecumenical discussion groups, local ministerials or gathering of leaders we know with all our hearts that Christ is present in those conversations – that the Messiah is in our midst."

Some of the finest moments in the Christian churches and communities in Edmonton have been when they have worked and witnessed together, observed Alexander. She mentioned the work of the Inner City Pastoral Ministry, the churches' public support for the program to end homelessness, and projects like No Room at the Inn, which funds housing projects for the needy.

"There are shades of tonight's Gospel reading there for certain," the Anglican leader said. "The more of this we can do then the better for the world around us and the more and more commonality we will find in our faith and lives together."