Churches meet to celebrate Christian unity

January 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Andhra Pradesh, Church, India, newsletter-india

Suor MendesAndhra Pradesh, January 25, 2012: Today when young people are intermingling as one humanity, unity must become the normal way of existence than a week of efforts.

Inclusiveness is the byword and exclusiveness is violence to our social fabric today. The social networking facilities open up the avenue for relationship without all the barriers of color, cast and creed.

The unity for which we pray is not merely a “comfortable” notion of friendliness and co-operation but requires a willingness to dispense with the competition between us, reflected Bishop Dr. Prakash Mallavarapu, of Vijayawada.

We need to open ourselves to each other, to offer gifts to and receive gifts from one another, so that we might truly enter into the new life in Christ, which is the only true victory, the prelate added.

There is room for everyone in God’s plan of salvation. Through His death and resurrection, Christ embraces all irrespective of winning or losing, “that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3,15). It is sufficient to believe in Him, and we will find it easier to overcome evil with good, said the bishop.

Rev. Bernard Apel who led a delegation of German Protestants stated that he was representing the World Council of Churches and their presence was a colorful dot in Vijayawada’s Ecumenical fest signifying the global dimension of the unity week.

Heads of different Church denominations with a few of their faithful gathered at the Laity centre, Vijayawada to celebrate the Christian Unity Week on Friday, January 20.

Catholic Bishop Dr. Prakash Mallavarapu, of Vijayawada described the event a great step towards affirming our beliefs in Christ Jesus, the one foundation of Christianity.

The local CSI Bishop, Gowada Daivashirvadam said that the movement of ecumenical unity is a new awareness that is slowly creeping beneath the suffering body of Christ which craves to remain united under Jesus Christ, the head and Lord of all humanity.

He also reminded the audience of the prayer which Jesus himself made in John 17:21 ‘that they may all be one’.

The other church leaders of Lutherans, Salvation Army, Pentecostals, Believers Church, also expressed their longing for unity in various ways.

The prayer service opened with Bishop Prakash carrying the Sacred Scriptures and leading the procession followed by all the other Church leaders.

Explaining the background Fr. Vijay said that this year’s theme comes from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, which promises the transformation of human life through the victory of Christ’s resurrection.

The theme of this year’s unity prayer was chosen by participating churches in Poland, who reflected on how their own faith sustained them through the many upheavals in their history,

In his presidential speech, Bishop Prakash said he was overjoyed to see many representative churches present for the gathering. He also stated that the Christian population amounts to over 10% of the total population of the city.

Representatives of local CRI sang hymns, bhajans and participated in shared prayers.

– sr. benigna menezes

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