WATCH: Archbishop discusses St Margaret Declaration

Archbishop Leo Cushley speaks recently (Wed 21 Sep) about the recent landmark commitment of friendship and unity between the Catholic Church in Scotland and the Church of Scotland, the St Margaret Declaration.

This event was organised by the  Edinburgh Jesuit Centre at Sacred Heart Church, Edinburgh (small hall) and was livestreamed on YouTube. (Watch below or here).

The event launches a programme of talks between September and December at the Edinburgh Jesuit Centre - see here for more details.

WATCH: Churches working together in West Lothian

Fr Jeremy Bath and Rev Hanneke Janse van Vuren discuss relations between their churches in West Lothian.

Fr Jeremy is a Catholic Priest at Ss John Cantius & Nicholas in Broxburn (linked with St Philomena in Winchburgh). Rev Hanneke is a Church of Scotland Minister at Strathbock Parish Church in Uphall.

Fr Jeremy is Vicar Episcopal for the Archdiocesan Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue. Meet the commission members here. Above footage: Tern TV.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: 18-25 January

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022 begins on Tuesday 18 January. It is an annual ecumenical celebration when Christians around the world are invited to pray together for unity.

Materials for the Week have been prepared by the churches of the Middle East (available here) and this year's theme is 'We Saw His Star in the East'.

Events include:

The service will streamed on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/CityofEdinburghMethodistChurchOnlineWorship 

Ecumenical group Churches Together in Britain and Ireland state: "The Middle East is still characterised by conflict and strife, tainted with blood and darkened by injustice and oppression.

"The Christians of the Middle East offer these resources conscious that the world shares many of the travails and much of the difficulties that it experiences, and yearns for a light to lead the way to the Saviour who is the light that overcomes darkness."

Our Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue, led by Fr Jeremy Bath, has also made available resources here.

Is your parish hosting an ecumenical service? Share what's happening with matthew.meade@staned.org.uk

EVENT: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on Monday 18 January. This year's theme is Abiding in Christ. Below we explain what the week is about, how you can get involved and the resources available.

What is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity?

It's an ecumenical Christian event celebrated annually and internationally. It began in 1908 to help strengthen the ecumenical ties between denominations and encourage a sense of mutual support.

Tell me more

Here's a message from Fr Jeremy Bath, our Vicar Episcopal for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue (parish priest at Ss John Cantius & Nicholas, Broxburn).

 

This year's theme

This year's theme is “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”. It is based on John 15:1-17 and was chosen by the monastic community of Grandchamp. It expresses that community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family.

What resources are available?

The main resource is the Abiding in Christ pamphlet, available to download here.

Message from Archbishop Cushley

Archbishop Cushley joined the Moderator of the Church of Scotland to issue this message.

Why should Catholics be involved?

Catholics are involved in ecumenism because we believe that when Christians are divided it is a scandal to the world and it makes the message of Jesus less credible. As Catholics, we seek to know the person of Jesus Christ and bring others to know him too. Christ is always at the centre of the ecumenical endeavour: as we draw closer to the centre, we then draw closer to one another.

Prayer

Thrice-holy God, we thank you for having created and loved us.
We thank you for your presence in us and in creation.
May we learn to look upon the world as you look upon it, with love.
In the hope of this vision, may we be able to work for a world where justice and peace flourish, for the glory of your name.

From the booklet for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

What else is happening?

While it's not part of the Week of Prayer, you can tune into Reflections at the Quay, an ecumenical prayer service on BBC1 Scotland this Sunday at 11:30am It's presented by the Reverend Jane Denniston, of Campsie Parish Church, and our own Father John Deighan, of St Machan’s, Lennoxtown.

Call to prayer

Also on Sunday there is the weekly call to prayer, where Christians of all denominations are invited to come together at 7pm to pray for all those affected by Covid-19. The prayer is signed by Archbishop Leo Cushley. Read it here.

Online event (I)

The Bishops' Conference of Scotland and the Ahl Al-Bait Scotland Society host an online conference on Monday 01 February, 5-7pm. It's titled Human Fraternity for Peace and Living Together*. The event marks the signing of the document on Human Fraternity by Pope Francis and Sheikh Al Azhar. Keynote speakers are Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali and Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald. To register, click here.

*This is not part of the Week of Prayer but will be of interest to those interested in interfaith relations.

Online event (II)

The Moderator of the Church of Scotland hosts an online presentation and discussion for the ecumenical charity Grasping the Nettle on Wednesday 20 January at 7.30 pm. It's titled Neuroscience Meets the God of the Letter to the Colossians. Register and find out more here.

Read (I)

Ecumenism: Fr Jeremy Bath recommends this book for the Week of prayer for Christian Unity: Tomorrow's Christian, by Fr Adrian B Smith, a priest who has worked in the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity. More here

Read (II)

Interfaith: Christology is one of the most contentious subjects in Christian-Muslim relations, but Fr Robert Afayori, parish priest at St Mary's in Stirling tackles the subject head on in his book Christology in Christian-Muslim Dialogue. Find out more here.

Find out more about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity here.

Christians unite in weekly Sunday evening prayer

This Sunday, Christians across Scotland will join together in prayer at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As with previous weeks during lockdown and the phased easing of restrictions, 14 Christian church leaders across the country, including Archbishop Leo Cushley, have co-signed this week's letter calling for prayer.

In it, they say: "In the midst of the complexity, we hear again the commandments to love God and neighbour and affirm that everything hangs on these two as our indispensable guide.

We pray

Lord our God,
We turn to you,
As the One who has spoken in times past,
And ask that that you would speak to us in times present.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
In our response,
We listen for your Word
And the call to love you with heart and soul and mind.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
In the living out of our response,
We offer all that we are,
Knowing you have given all through Christ our Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
We turn to you,
As the One who has made us in your image,
And who makes our neighbour in that same image.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
In our response,
We journey with our neighbour
And seek to love them as you command.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord our God,
In the living out of our response,
We stand together with our neighbour,
Knowing you stand together with us through Christ our Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

Call to prayer at 7pm on Sunday

The below statement and prayer continues the weekly call to prayer for Christians across Scotland, each Sunday at 7pm.

In a recent conversation, a minister suggested that ‘we Christians have no immunity from the struggles and suffering of a broken world.’ He’s right.

But this is also true; that God is with us, no matter what we’re facing. The God we worship is not an absentee landlord, a disinterested bystander. Indeed Christian faith is built on the truth that the very opposite is true - that God is with us. Immanuel.

By prayer and practice, the Church is called to give expression to this key aspect of our belief system. When the Church prays for the world and when the Church cares for the world, the Church makes clear that God is with us in the world.

That’s been true throughout the pandemic and remains true as we begin to plot our course forward, considering what ‘building back better’ might look like. May it be that we remain on our knees before God, the better to know and trust Him.

We pray:

Most High God, you are far above us and beyond our knowing. And yet in Jesus you came among us and you are here.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

Ever faithful God, when waves threaten to overwhelm us and when fire is burning all around us, still you are with us. There is no point at which you run for cover or leave us to manage on our own.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

Guiding God, you are a lamp for our feet, a light for our path. In uncertain times, with so much that is unknown and unknowable, go before us, we pray, that being attentive to your voice we might sense your leading.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

Eternal God, there is much that is transient in our experience; we ourselves flourish as flowers and then are gone. But You, Lord, are without beginning or end; the same yesterday, today and forever. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven which shall not be subject to decay or destruction.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

Loving God, in all things we marvel at your goodness and long only to see you more clearly and to know you more nearly. Put salt on our lips, then, that we might thirst for you more.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

In Christ’s name, Amen.

Signed by:

Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Rev. Jim Ritchie, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)