CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is expected to issue a statement this week apologizing for the violence that followed the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago.
The statement, according to news accounts, will express remorse that the (Protestant) Church of England carried out so many acts of violence — including burning Roman Catholics at the stake.
It will also urge believers to ask for forgiveness for atrocities that happened on both sides during the Reformation and for greater unity between Catholic and Protestant churches today.
The publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, is traditionally considered the birth of the Reformation that split Western Christianity into Catholic and Protestant. Celebrations throughout the world will mark the 500th anniversary this year.
Welby’s statement is due to come a month before members of the Church of England’s General Synod discuss the commemoration.
Catholics and Protestants will gather at Lambeth Palace — Welby’s London home — to express remorse and pray for Christian unity.
Although the physical atrocities against Catholics took place during the reigns of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Edward VI, Catholics (and Jews) were not allowed to vote, sit in Parliament or attend universities until the middle of the 19th century.
[WCC] The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated worldwide from 18-25 January, will be hosted this year by the Council of Christian Churches in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Deutschland / ACK). As 2017 marks the commemoration of the Reformation, the week of prayer will reflect on the legacy of the Reformation and the current spirit of reconciliation in Christ.
“For Christians in Germany and all over the world, the theme Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) can be considered both a calling and an opportunity for reconciliation”, the Revd Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, World Council of Churches (WCC) director of Faith and Order, said, “a chance to break historical walls that separate churches and congregations from each other, during times that require healing and recovering hope”. Continue reading “Unity prayers to recall the Reformation and celebrate reconciliation”
To walk humbly with God means to walk in celebration. The visitor to India is struck by the hardships and struggles endured by Dalits, but at the same time by their sense of hope and celebration. 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers
Prayer on Day Eight
Gracious God, may your Holy Spirit fill our communities with joy and celebration, so that we can cherish the unity we already share, and zealously continue in the search for visible unity. We rejoice in the faith and hope of peoples who refuse to allow their dignity to be diminished, seeing in them your wonderful grace and your promise of freedom. Teach us to share in their joy and learn from their faithful endurance. Rekindle our hope and sustain our resolve, that in Christ‘s name we may walk together in love, raising a united voice of praise, and singing together one prayer of adoration. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
To walk humbly with God means walking in solidarity with all who struggle for justice and peace. This poses a question for those who pray for the unity of Christians this week: what is the unity we seek? 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers
Prayer on Day Seven
Triune God, in your very life you offer us a unique pattern of interdependence, loving relationships and solidarity. Unite us to live our lives in this way. Teach us to share the hope that we find in people who struggle for life all over the world. May their endurance inspire us to overcome our own divisions, to live in holy accord with one another, and to walk together in solidarity. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
To walk humbly with God means walking beyond barriers that divide and damage the children of God. Christians in India are aware of the divisions among themselves. The treatment of Dalits within the churches and between them is a church-dividing issue that betrays the biblical vision of that unity for which we pray this week. 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers
Prayer on Day Six
Father, forgive us for the barriers of greed, prejudice, and contempt that we continually build which separate us within and between churches, from people of other faiths, and from those we consider to be less important than us. May your Spirit give us courage to cross these boundaries, and to tear down the walls that disconnect us from each other. Then with Christ may we step forth into unknown terrain, to carry his message of loving acceptance and unity to all the world. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
To walk humbly with God does not mean walking alone. It means walking with those who are those vital signs of God‘s presence among us, our friends. “But I have called you friends.” says Jesus in John‘s Gospel. 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers
Prayer on Day Five
Jesus, from the first moment of our being you offered us your friendship. Your love embraces all peoples, especially those who are excluded or rejected because of human constructions of caste, race or colour. Filled with the confidence and assurance of our dignity in you, may we walk in solidarity towards each other, and embrace each other in the Spirit, as children of God. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
If we are to walk in humility with God, we will need always to be aware of ourselves as part of creation, and recipients of God‘s gifts. There is a growing recognition in today‘s world that better understanding of our authentic place in creation must become a priority for us. 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers
Prayer on Day Four
God of life, we thank you for the earth, and for those who care for it and bring forth its fruits. May the Spirit, the giver of life, help us to recognise that we are part of creation‘s web of relationships. May we learn to cherish the earth and listen to creation‘s groaning. May we truly walk together in the steps of Christ, bringing healing to all that wounds this earth, and ensuring a just sharing of the things that it brings forth. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
Exodus 1:15-22 | The Hebrew midwives obey God’s law over the command of Pharaoh Psalm 17:1-6 | The confident prayer of one open to God’s gaze 2 Corinthians 3: 17-18 | The glorious freedom of God’s children in Christ John 4:4-26 | Conversation with Jesus leads the Samaritan woman into freer living
Walking humbly with the Lord is always a walk into receiving the freedom he opens up before all people. With this in mind we celebrate. We celebrate the mystery of the struggle for freedom, which takes place even in the places where oppression, prejudice and poverty seem to be impossible burdens. 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers
Prayer on Day Three
Liberating God, we thank you for the resilience and hopeful faith of those who struggle for dignity and fullness of life. We know that you raise up those who are cast down, and free those who are bound. Your Son Jesus walks with us to show us the path to authentic freedom. May we appreciate what has been given to us, and be strengthened to overcome all within us that enslaves. Send us your Spirit so that the truth shall set us free, so that with voices united we can proclaim your love to the world. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
To walk humbly with God means hearing the call us to walk out of the places of our own comfort, and accompany the other, especially the suffering other. 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers
Prayer on Day Two
God of compassion, your Son died on the Cross so that by his broken body our divisions might be destroyed. Yet we have crucified him again and again with our disunity, and with systems and practices which obstruct your loving care and undermine your justice towards those who have been excluded from the gifts of your creation. Send us your Spirit to breathe life and healing into our brokenness that we may witness together to the justice and love of Christ. Walk with us towards that day when we can share in the one bread and the one cup at the common table. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
Genesis 11:1-9 | The story of Babel and legacy of our diversity Psalm 34:11-18 | “Come … listen.” God’s invitation to conversation Acts 2:1-12 | The outpouring of the Spirit, the gift of understanding Luke 24:13-25 | Conversations with the Risen Jesus on the road
To walk humbly with God means to walk as people speaking with one another and with the Lord, always attentive to what we hear. And so we begin our celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by reflecting on scripture passages which speak of the essential practice of conversation. 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers
Prayer on Day One
Jesus Christ, we proclaim with joy our common identity in you, and we thank you for inviting us into a dialogue of love with you. Open our hearts to share more perfectly in your prayer to the Father that we may be one, so that as we journey together we may draw closer to each other. Give us the courage to bear witness to the truth together, and may our conversations embrace those who perpetuate disunity. Send your Spirit to empower us to challenge situations where dignity and compassion are lacking in our societies, nations, and the world. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen