Botkins celebrates annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

BOTKINS — The Botkins Ministerial Association will host an interdenominational Celebration of the Word of God on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 1:30 p.m., at Immaculate Conception Church, North Main Street, Botkins.

The service will be held as part of the area’s observance of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (commemorated Jan. 18-25). Special music will be provided by a choir assembled for the occasion. Fellowship and refreshments will follow the service. All are welcome to attend.

The Botkins Ministerial Association includes Botkins United Methodist Church, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Only Believe Ministries Christian Center, St. Lawrence Catholic Church and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Begun in 1908, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated each year in cities and towns across the country and around the world.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Justice, and only justice, shall you pursue” from the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 16. Organizers write, “Christ’s Church is called to be a foretaste of this kingdom. However, in our disunity we fall short. We fail to be the sign of God’s love for his people….Justice has…fed the divisions of the Church. We repent of the injustice that causes division, but as Christians we also believe in the power of Christ to forgive us and heal. And so, we find ourselves united under the cross of Christ, calling both for his grace to end injustice and for his mercy for the sins which have caused our division.”

The theme and text for each year’s observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are chosen and prepared by representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and representatives of the World Council of Churches. The international texts are developed, adapted and published for use in the USA by the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.

“The Christian Unity service is always beautiful and meaningful. There are far too few opportunities for us to celebrate all that we as Christians have in common. I hope everyone in the area—Shelby and Auglaize counties — will consider attending,” said Rachel Barber, who is assisting with the service.