Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally celebrated between 18-25 January (in the northern hemisphere) or between Ascension Sunday and Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), by congregations and parishes all over the world. We in Australia will be observing the week from 12th-19th May 2024.
The theme for 2024 is "You shall love the Lord your God ... and your neighbour as yourself..." (Luke 10.27)
Resources for 2024 have been prepared by an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso, facilitated by the local Chemin Neuf Community (CCN).
About Burkina Faso (from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Resources):
Burkina Faso is located in West Africa in the Sahel region, which includes the neighbouring countries of Mali and Niger. It covers 174,000 km2 and has 21 million inhabitants, of about sixty ethnicities. In religious terms, approximately 64% of the population is Muslim, 9% adheres to traditional African religions and 26% is Christian (20% Catholic, 6% Protestant). These three religious groups are present in every region of the country, and in virtually every family.
Burkina Faso is currently experiencing a serious security crisis, which affects all the communities of faith. The country has endured a proliferation of terrorist attacks, lawlessness and human trafficking. This has left over three thousand dead and almost two million internally displaced persons in the country. Thousands of schools, health centres and town halls have been closed, and much of the socio-economic and transport infrastructure has been destroyed. Attacks targeting specific ethnic groups exacerbate the risk of inter-communal conflicts. In the context of this dire security situation, social cohesion, peace and national unity are being undermined.
Christian churches have been expressly targeted by armed attacks. Priests, pastors and catechists have been killed during worship and the fate of others who were kidnapped remains unknown. At the time of writing, more than 22% of the national territory is outside the control of the state. Christians can no longer openly practice their faith in these areas. Because of terrorism, the majority of Christian churches in the north, east and north-west of the country have been closed. There is no longer any public Christian worship in many of these areas. Where worship is still possible, with police protection, usually in large cities, it has been necessary to shorten services owing to security concerns.
Download the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity resources
Resources adapted for Australia will be available next year.