Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
January 29, 2001
Christians express unity in prayer
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — "I wish we could have something like this every week," said Flo Slomp as she smiles at the leaders and representatives all gathered together to celebrate Christian Unity Week.
Josephine Pallard, on the other hand, wouldn't mind if an event like this could happen everyday.
"It's so nice to see all these people together," said Pallard, a parishioner at St. Anthony's Church.
Though Pallard is Catholic and Slomp belongs to Daysland Presbyterian Church, they agree on one thing when it comes to their faith - God is at the core of it.
"I love ecumenical events," Slomp said. "That's what Christ was here for. Christ came for all of us and died for all of us.
"It's great to see all these people together. There's a sense of wholeness. This is what heaven's going to be like, all the different churches in one place."
Slomp and Pallard were among 600 people gathered at First Presbyterian Church, Jan. 21, to celebrate the opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
"What motivates us to be here?" asked the Rev. John Dowds, a Presbyterian Church minister, who gave the homily.
The service, he said, was an opportunity for communication among churches. He stressed the need to respect each other's spiritual traditions and history.
"Have you ever been to the place called understanding? People have what you call 'A ha!' moments . . . the recognition that not one person has the hand on the truth. Understanding is a great place."
Dowd also looked out onto the crowd, calling it a vision of heaven. "Jesus is the way for all of us and it's his life, his death, his resurrection that we share. Surely the kingdom of God is here with us in this place."
The service, hosted by the Presbyterian Church, included interdenominational choirs and the Jubilee Dance Ensemble.
"It was wonderful to see the different priests and ministers all together," said Heather Craig, a member of St. Paul's Anglican Church. "It was wonderful being blessed by a Catholic priest - I've never had that before.
"Everything (the Church leaders) said was so unified. When we sang the songs everyone sang together as if they always knew the words. It was wonderful."
Cathy Harvey, coordinator of the archdiocese's Commission for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, noted that in previous years, most of the crowd consisted of members of the hosting church.
"There was such a spread from all the different churches this year," Harvey said.
Participating in the service were representatives of several Edmonton area churches including Msgr. Don MacDonald, vicar general of the Edmonton Archdiocese, Father Stephen Wojcichowsky of the Ukrainian Eparchy, Lutheran Bishop Stephen Kristenson, Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews, the Rev. George Rodgers of the United Church and Lt.-Col. Doug Moore of the Salvation Army.
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