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 — March 31, 200231 mars 2002


In response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, Muslim and Christian communities in Winnipeg planned a day to express their disapproval of violence. On December 13, Christians were invited to spend a day in fasting and prayer in solidarity with Muslims participating in Ramadan. In the evening, Muslims and Christians gathered at Canadian Mennonite University to celebrate by praying together and breaking the fast with a vegetarian meal. Both groups felt their religions have misused the names of God and Allah to justify war. Representatives from both communities drew up a joint statement on the peace position their religions and copies to local churches and mosques to gather support through signatures. Tarik Khan of the Muslim community thought the event was important to build "confidence and trust" between the two groups. One reason for religious misconceptions is "because people don't communicate between groups" he said. Jason Hildebrand of Hope Mennonite Church said that if there is to be peace among nations there first must be peace among our personal neighbours.

More than 100 people gathered at Regina's Beth Jacob Synagogue on Jan. 20 to pray for unity, peace and harmony among the world's religions. Representatives of ten religious traditions shared a brief prayer and called for peace and understanding among all peoples. "We all have differences, but we look at what unites us," said Terry Marner, president of the Regina Multifaith Forum which organized the event. "All traditions teach that we must treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated. It is the beginning of justice and without justice we are not fully human," she added.

An ecumenical prayer service at the opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity held at Mayfair United Church, was organized by representatives of Saskatoon's Anglican, Catholic and United churches. Speaking at the celebration, Roman Catholic bishop Albert LeGatt said the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity provides a unique opportunity to discover and experience one another's prayers. "We need to experience each other's prayer forms not with the interest of a theological tourist or with an intellectual interest," he said, "but as people wishing to discover Jesus and receive the living water in each other's prayers. We need to pay attention to how others pray to the Lord and how Jesus Christ reveals himself to them and to us. Common prayer rises above our differences and makes it possible for all to rest in the heart of Jesus." When a church welcomes others into its own prayer, Jesus Christ is at the heart of what they are sharing, said Bishop LeGatt. "We know that is the gift being offered, and we treasure it because it is Jesus Christ we share with each other as we share our traditions," he added.

The Hebrew Bible, more commonly known as the Old Testament, was the theme of the first in a series of lectures entitled "Reclaiming a Common Past: 1,000 Years Together," co-sponsored by the Regina Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission and the John Paul II Centre. Dr. Jackie Kuikman, professor of Religious Studies at Campion College, gave a historical perspective of the Hebrew Bible. She made it clear that "Judaism is a living tradition that is ongoing. It did not end," and the interpretation of the Bible is ongoing. Dr. Volker Greifenhagen religious studies professor at Luther College noted that the Old Testament was the first Scripture of Christians, and is thus the common heritage of all Christian groups.


To coincide with the Pope's January 24th meeting with religious leaders in Assisi, Toronto Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu neighbours gathered for interfaith prayer services in six churches around the city. The Pope's call for universal interfaith prayer for peace, "signals that we recognize the value of prayer in other religious traditions as a source of communication with the divine," said Fr. Damien McPherson, the archdiocese of Toronto's director of ecumenical and interfaith affairs. "Any call to prayer is welcomed," said Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl of Beth Tzedec, North America's largest Conservative synagogue, "particularly for peace." At the prayer services, members of each faith community were invited to read a short passage from their own Scriptures then offer a reflection on the meaning of peace in their faith tradition.

The "ecumenical spirit" must "penetrate the hearts of all the faithful" if Christian churches are to make progress on the road to unity, said Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Canada, speaking at an Anglican Evensong to open the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Toronto. Those gathered at St. James Anglican Cathedral, Jan. 20, included guests from various Christian denominations. Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto, read the Gospel and Anglican Archbishop Terence Finlay greeted the congregation. Music was provided by the Anglican Choir, the junior schola of St. Michael's Choir School and the Choir of the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. The Week of Prayer ended with an ecumenical prayer service at Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Scarborough.

Three Toronto professors from different churches will team up at the Toronto School of Theology next fall to teach a course on the tough issues still dividing the churches. Topics to be discussed in the course, titled "Breakthroughs and Barriers in Ecumenical Dialogue", include women's ordination, the papacy, justification by faith, inclusive language, conscience, teaching authority, the Eucharist, and Christ's uniqueness. Teaming up to teach the course are Margaret O'Gara, professor of theology at the University of St. Michael's College; George Vandervelde, professor of theology at the Institute for Christian Studies; and Rev. Peter Wyatt, principal of Emmanuel College at Victoria University. O'Gara, a Roman Catholic, is on the Lutheran-Roman Catholic International Commission on Unity and the Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic International Commission for Dialogue. Vandervelde, a member of the Christian Reformed Church, is co-chair of the Evangelical-Roman Catholic International Consultation. Wyatt, an ordained minister and former ecumenical officer for the United Church of Canada, is a member of the Reformed-Roman Catholic International Dialogue.


A celebration of the World Day of Prayer took place on Sunday afternoon, 3 March, at the Romanian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation of Montreal. This year's prayer service was prepared by the women of Romania on the theme of "the Challenge of Reconciliation". It was an opportunity to get to know Romania better: her culture as well as the problems she faces. An icon exhibit and musical pieces by Romanian artists were on the program. The event was organized by the Romanian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation of Montreal, the Romanian Cultural Centre and the Montreal Ecumenical World Day of Prayer Committee.


When their church roof was condemned in late December, parishioners at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Millerton, NB, were offered the use of Grace Presbyterian Church. After Msgr. Joseph Woods described our Lady of Good Counsels' desperate situation, Presbyterian Rev. Murdo MacKay offered him the use of Millerton's Grace Presbyterian Church from January to May -- an offer Woods gratefully accepted. The two church denominations coming together is nothing new says Woods. "We have no problem working together. Ecumenism is going well in Millerton," he said. "If our Lady of Good Counsel doesn't fix its roof by May, they are welcome to use Grace in the summer, no problem," MacKay said. MacKay says he and Woods have been inviting each other to preach at their churches over the past four years. "This coming together was long overdue," he said. Our Lady of Good Counsel parish will pay for heat and electricity at their temporary residence, but will not be charged rent.

The latest of four Habitat for Humanity homes built within the Saint John, NB area was dedicated on Sunday, January 20. New home owner Cheryl Green tearfully thanked the many sponsors, businesses and volunteers who donated their time in helping her achieve the goal of owning her own home. "I was never alone," states Green, "I'd pray that someone would show up to help me every day and someone always did." Habitat for Humanity homeowners must be physically involved with the actual construction process. They have to put 500 hours of work into the building of their home. And, as everyone noted, by each speaker, Green was more than willing to do her share. Debbie Rice, President of Habitat for Humanity, Saint John Region Inc. states: "We are already in the process of selecting a new family for 2002 and hope to reach a decision by March. We like to do the building in the summer months and have the family move in before Christmas." Green's new home was blessed by Rev. Eugene Thompson and a reception in celebration of the dedication took place at the Monsignor Osborne Center. Habitat for Humanity is an independent, non-profit, Christian housing program dedicated to providing homes for Saint John area families in need.

Posted: March 31, 2002 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=29
Categories: CCEIn this article: Centre Canadien d’œcuménisme
Transmis : 31 mars 2002 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=29
Catégorie : CCEDans cet article : Centre Canadien d’œcuménisme

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