While Stettler’s churches share much in common — both in terms of their beliefs, and their outreach in the community — it is relatively rare that they gather for worship together.
“We are not alone,” said Rev. Jan Richardson, minister at the Stettler United Church. “We all are doing our part, and it’s just nice to formally kind of acknowledge that.”
The Stettler United Church will host this year’s ecumenical prayer service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The service will be held Sunday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m., with the message delivered by Rev. Carolyn Langford of St. George’s Anglican Church.
An interdenominational choir led by Barbara-Lynn and Dave Goodwin, featuring members drawn from five local churches, will provide special music for the ervice. All are invited and refreshments will be served afterward.
Speaking to the Independent, Richardson observed that it often takes great tragedy to bring churches together in prayer, citing the recent RCMP shootings in St. Albert as an example.
“Even though we have our differences in how we worship, the call is still there,” she said, referring to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, in which he refers to the church as having “many parts but one body.”
Differences in doctrine between churches have often been a source of division, said Richardson, but the Week of Prayer focuses on what the churches share in common.
The theme for this year’s Week of Prayer centres on the story of Jesus meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well, as recounted in John 4, and how his actions can influence Christians’ response to divisions in the church.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an annual event promoted through the Canadian Council of Churches. For more details, visit www.councilofchurches.ca.