On Sunday, Jan. 26, Christians from across the Sudbury region will gather at the Church of the Epiphany on Larch Street from 3–5 p.m. to continue the celebration of Christian Unity Week.
A few years ago, an ecumenical dinner was held at St. Patrick Parish. At that dinner, the chairperson of each of the churches present was asked to say a few words.
I will never forget what the chairperson from the Greek Orthodox Church said that evening.
He said that if it were up to the people, there would have been unity between the churches long ago. His words are echoed in Pope Francis’s words to reporters on a return flight to Rome from Romania.
While he made direct reference to sharing the Eucharist, Francis was also speaking about the unity which can and must exist between different churches in many different ways.
Francis stresses the ecumenism found in giving witness to Faith in countries which reject Christianity, in praying together, and in ministry to the poor and marginalized. Francis stresses relationship and process.
Ecumenism is a process, a long journey in which we are called to walk together, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. “(John 17:21).
There is no option. For Christians, unity is a requirement of discipleship. It will not happen overnight. There is a long history of difference and indifference to overcome. We cannot choose to ignore our shadow side. If we do, it will lead to more division.
On the other hand, we acknowledge it and allow it to help us journey towards the call to unity.
On Sunday, Jan. 26 from 3-5 p.m. at the Church of the Epiphany on Larch Street, we continue this journey to unity. We gather in prayer to celebrate what we hold in common, to share our Faith traditions, and to learn more about our call to journey with the Spirit towards unity.
We welcome the Reverend Canon, Dr. John Gibaut, president of Thorneloe University, who will share with us his tremendous knowledge and experience serving as a senior executive within two global church organizations, the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Anglican Communion Office in London, England.
Parking is free on Sundays in the downtown and you are asked to bring a donation of a non-perishable food item to assist the food bank.
While theological dialogue is important, let us not underestimate the relationships and the journey to which we, members of the local Faith communities, are called.
Let this event be one more step in the process of building relationships which will bring us closer to the call to be one.
Tony Chezziis is a member of the Nord500North planning team.