Regional news

 — Mar. 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
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
, 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
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
. Wyatt, an ordained minister and former ecumenical officer for the
United Church of Canada, is a member of the Reformed-Roman Catholic International


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: Mar. 31, 2002 • Permanent link:
Categories: CCEIn this article: Centre Canadien d’œcuménisme
Transmis : 31 mars 2002 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : CCEDans cet article : Centre Canadien d’œcuménisme

  Previous post: Ancien article : Iceland: Lutheran Pastors Stand ready to Serve Anglicans because of ‘Porvoo’
  Newer post: Article récent : National news