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 — January 22, 200022 janvier 2000
 

by Cameron Hoffman, Regina Leader Post

Ken Cyr, pastor of Fort Qu’Appelle’s Valley Alliance Church, and his congregation will spend next week in churches other than their own, praying in the same pews as Lutherans, Anglicans, Catholics and United Church members, worshiping as a unified faith community.

Christians in Fort Qu’Appelle will participate in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, running Sunday through Jan. 30, an annual event held throughout the world that brings various groups of Christians to a greater understanding of each other.

Cyr looks forward to the Week of Prayer. For him, it’s a chance to forge bonds with people who share common beliefs.

“My motivation,” said Cyr, “is to try to link with other Christians who believe in Jesus Christ.”

The Week of Prayer in the Fort Qu’Appelle area begins with an interdenominational Sunday service in nearby Balcarres, followed by noontime prayer services throughout the week at the town’s various churches.

Believers in Fort Qu’Appelle find it easy to worship together, said Cyr, as they consider the week an extension of their everyday community ties.

Cyr says ecumenical events like the Week of Prayer work well in small towns, where people frequently rely on each other for small favours or help overcoming difficult financial circumstances.

Fort Qu’Appelle Christians have been celebrating the Week of Prayer for five years and, according to Cyr, the main problem with the event has simply been making time for all the activities rather than doctrinal differences.

During the Week of Prayer, Cyr says the similarities shared by Christian groups in his community significantly outnumber any differences.

“I found what I often heard in the Catholic service was the same as what we were saying in ours,” said Cyr.

Sharing the same message during the Week of Prayer is vitally important for the Archbishop of Regina, Peter Mallon. He says the event is a way for religious groups to meet and deepen their spiritual practices.

“It’s not just a warm feeling of co-operation or collaboration, but understanding our own faith and its basic teachings,” said Mallon. “If our communities could do that, study the Scriptures and pray together, we share values and come to a deeper understanding of one another.”

Mallon said the Week of Prayer has “made tremendous strides” in the last few years, and the spirit of ecumenism is stronger now than ever before.

The Week of Prayer, said Mallon, was started in New York state in 1908 by Paul James Wattson, an Episcopal priest, who vigorously advocated the reunion of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

The ecumenical event grew in significance because of the influence of the Second Vatican Council, which promulgated its Decree on Ecumenism in 1964, encouraging Catholics to seek stronger connections with other Christians.

Mallon said ecumenism is bolstered in southern Saskatchewan by the need for different Christian groups to unite against problems like poverty, the destruction of the environment and the lack of adequate health care.

Yme Woensdregt, president of the Regina Council of Churches, agrees that the province’s Christian groups are well-suited to ecumenical growth.

“In the West, there is greater willingness to become more ecumenical,” Woensdregt said. “In Western Canada, there is greater openness and warmth.”

Woensdregt sees the Week of Prayer as an event typical of the times, when various Christian groups are continuing to find common ground. He cited the progress made by the Canadian Anglican Church and the Evangelical Lutherans in Canada toward full communion as an example of the growing ecumenical spirit in North America.

But in southern Saskatchewan, ecumenical growth is not so much of a trend, but a basic character trait of the region, says Woensdregt. He thinks greater Christian unity is natural among people who have traditionally looked out for each other.

“It’s bound up in the Prairie soul,” said Woensdregt.

Posted: January 22, 2000 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=6202
Categories: NewsIn this article: Saskatchewan, spiritual ecumenism, WPCU
Transmis : 22 janvier 2000 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=6202
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Saskatchewan, spiritual ecumenism, WPCU


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