January 2019

Christians Together in Fareham Celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019

Christians Together in Fareham are marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year with a service of prayer, worship and singing at Holy Trinity Church, West Street, Fareham at 4.00pm on Sunday 20 January 2019. This will include the coming together of choirs and singers from all our churches with the theme of 'Raise your voices' and 'Only justice'.

The service will use some of published materials which have been prepared from the churches of Indonesia, where there is a strong emphasis upon the need for unity alongside the nation’s ethnic and religious diversity. The theme also highlights issues of economic injustice and how religious pluralism can face challenges in the face of radicalisation. The theme is based around Deuteronomy 16:18-20, ‘Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue…’

Indonesia is the largest country in South East Asia, made up of more than 17,000 islands, 1,340 different ethnic groups and over 740 local languages, united by one national language Bahasa Indonesia. With some 86% of its 260 million people estimated to be Muslim, it has the largest Islamic population of any country. About 10% of Indonesians are Christian. Indonesians have lived by the principle of gotong royong which is to live in ‘solidarity and by collaboration’, regarding all Indonesians as brothers and sisters.

But gotong royong sits ill at ease with the neo-liberal approach to economics that has led to economic growth, and corruption infecting politics and business, often with devastating effects on the environment. Meanwhile those who are supposed to promote justice and protect the weak fail to do so. As a consequence, a country rich in resources bears the burden of many people living in poverty. Particular ethnic and religious groups are often associated with wealth in ways that have fed tensions.

The Christians of Indonesia found that the words of Deuteronomy spoke powerfully to their situation.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18th to the 25th January – the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Epiphany prayer for world leaders

God Merciful and Mighty, at the start of a new year,
we pray for our world and for those who lead the nations.

May your justice be in their heads and hearts.
May your concern for the poor guide their consciences.
May your love of peace shape their agendas.

We long for a world where justice and peace reign.
We long for the end of exploitation of human life,
which enriches the few at the expense of the many.
We long to learn to live on this earth in ways
that will ensure life for generations to come.

You have given us the vision.
We cannot fulfil it without you.

As we pray for our leaders, we pray for ourselves.
Show us your own power.
Equip us to choose, to speak and to act.
Be the ground on which we stand
and the love which drives us on.
Bring to us the day when all shall live in peace
and earth itself shall sigh with relief.

Amen. So be it. Amen.

Prayer based on Psalm 72 verses 1-7, 10-14, written by Carla A Grosch-Miller, and taken from 'seasons of the spirit' which is the prayer handbook 2019 published by the United Reformed Church