In order to unite with one another, we must love one another;
in order to love one another, we must know one another;
in order to know one another, we must go and meet one another.
These words, known as the "Testament of Cardinal Mercier," are the impetus for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The week (actually an octave, eight days) has been celebrated continuously since 1894. However, the Week was a dream of many Christian leaders since the early years of the 19th century.
The traditional date for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 18-25 January. Those dates, proposed in 1908, cover the days between the feast of St. Peter and the feast of St. Paul, and therefore have a symbolic meaning.
The theme for 2015 proposed by The Canadian Council of Churches is “Jesus said to her: ‘Give me a drink’” (John 4:7). The service, written by Christians of Brazil, challenges conventions around sharing, “the other,” and divisions in the body of Christ. Through the suggested worship service and resources we are invited to “Be a part of the praying, be open to the challenge and be with your sisters and brothers of the whole body of Christ” (The Canadian Council of Churches).
The theme and focus biblical texts are prepared by an international Joint Committee of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. National and Regional councils of churches work to adapt and add to these resources as appropriate to their local context. Visit The Canadian Center for Ecumenism website for ideas, including French and Bilingual resources.