South Sudan Council of Churches(SSCC) has joined the Ecumenical Community in the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, globally under the theme; “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (Jn 15:5-9) expressing Grand champ Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family.
The Grand champ Community is a monastic community that brings together sisters from different churches and various countries with an ecumenical vocation committing them on the path of reconciliation among Christians and within the human family, and to respect the whole of creation.
In a weekly morning devotion that is attended by all the staff of the South Sudan Council of Churches(SSCC) every Monday mornings, the General Secretary Fr. James OYET LATANSIO emphasized more on the importance of unity as product and proof of the gospel. A unified Church is one of the strongest evidences of the truth of the gospel. This is especially true in a world as fragmented and divisive as ours, where counter cultural unity among diverse people stands out. When the rest of the world can’t seem to agree on anything or bear to be around people who are different, a Church where enemies become siblings in Christ is a powerful alternative. Unity is a critical manifestation of a Spirit-empowered Church.
Every once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “I pray that they may all be one, just as you and I are …” (John 17.21).
During the Week of Prayer, hearts are touched, and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services an event that touches off a special experience of Christian Unity.
Traditionally the week of prayer is celebrated between 18th to 25th January, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul. In the southern hemisphere, however, sometimes, Churches often find other days to celebrate it, for example around Pentecost, which is also a symbolic date for unity.
In a world so hurt by divisions, God calls us to reconciliation and forgiveness towards one another. The vocation of our common life is to be a ‘parable of communion’, a sign, of the enrichment that is possible through our differences. Through personal and common prayer, we seek to stay with the words.
Church history of unity tends to correspond to the presence or absence of persecution. When things are comfy for the Church, it finds reason to squabble and divide. When persecution arises, unity takes on a bit more urgency achievable by our honest commitment to prayer.