A Burlington, Ont.-based eccumenical prayer group called Christians on a Journey grew again this year as members from four new churches joined the group’s annual marking of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The internationally recognized week is prepared each year by the World Council of Churches. In Canada, its recognition is encouraged by the Canadian Council of Churches, to which the Christan Reformed Church belongs.
Anneke Kramer and Bob Luyk, two founding members of the group from New Street CRC, began meeting for prayer with Christians from other Burlington churches in 2015. Kramer said it was an effort to get to know Christians in other denominations. “Prayer is the main focus of our get togethers, and it has been a blessing to join together in this.”
During the 2020 Week of Prayer, which took place Jan. 18-25, Christians on a Journey shared hosting one another in their respective places of worship for eight consecutive evening prayer services. Participants came from nine different congregations, including Baptist, Presbyterian, United, Lutheran, and Catholic churches. The kick-off service took place at Appleby United Church.
Each night had a theme, coming from the overall theme and litany prepared by the Christian churches of Malta and Gozo. Points of focus for the services included reconciliation, hope, strength, and generosity.
“The 2020 theme, “They showed us unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2), remembers the historic shipwreck of Paul on the island of Malta and calls us to a greater generosity to those in need,” reads the description from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’s website. Luyk said that each year churches from a different part of the World Council of Churches prepare the theme.
In addition to the annual Week of Prayer, Christians on a Journey gets together once a month to pray. “We pray for our churches, our leaders, our ministries, our prodigals, and our community,” Luyk said.
Peter Noteboom, general secretary for the Canadian Council of Christian Churches and a commissioned pastor in the CRC, said he was encouraged by this grassroots movement for prayer in Burlington. “Many Christian unity events rely on ordained leadership to spark a community Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service. What a blessing for the ordained leadership and for all who participated in the week of services and celebrations,” Noteboom said.
About the Author
Callie Feyen is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Mich. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Callie writes news for The Banner and contributes to Coffee+Crumbs, and T.S. Poetry Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet, and Twirl: My Life in Stories, Writing, & Clothes.