The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international initiative where Christians worldwide are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17:21).
Locally, UniteBoston coordinates evening collaborative gatherings of fellowship, prayer and worship from January 18-25 annually.
This year’s theme was about how we can show “unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2) to become witnesses of God’s love to all people. This year, we had an incredibly diverse denominational representation, including Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Baptist, and more. Check out the photos below to get a sense of the diverse array of ethnicities, traditions, and geography that make up the Church in Boston!
I had a great time visiting People’s Baptist Church! I knew about this church and its rich history but had not yet visited. I got a chance to visit during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity when I attended an event there held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I was so blessed by the love and generosity of the Youth Minister and her children who ran the service!
-Cleopatra Muhammad, UniteBoston Dorchester Neighborhood Dinner Coordinator and member of Restoration City Church
“Being at the UniteBoston Monday evening service led by young people who are part of People’s Baptist Church was so on-target to me. It is critically important that in today’s Boston twenty and thirty year old committed Christians need to be seen by all Bostonians as TOP Christian leaders here, and I saw that at that UniteBoston meeting.”
-Ralph Kee, Greater Boston Church Planting Network
“This was my husband’s and my first time at a UB neighborhood dinner and it was great! We met Christians from lots of different churches in a friendly home setting, and we heard about God at work in house churches in various corners of the city. We also prayed the same prayer with Christians all over the world praying that same week. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of.”
-Jess Mason, Member of Forest Hills Covenant Church
The Taizé community in France is an ecumenical Christian community dedicated to prayer, reconciliation, and Christian unity. While taking part in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity as the leader of Taizé prayer at MIT, I encountered the Paulist Fathers for the first time, and discovered that the mission of the Paulist Fathers includes seeking unity among Christians and building bridges of respect and collaboration with members of other world religions. I was delighted to pray deeply in the company of fellow spiritual seekers, both in “my house” (the chapel at MIT) and “their house” (the Paulist Center in downtown Boston).
-Susan Butterworth, graduate of the Episcopal Divinity School and leader of the weekly “Song & Stillness: Taize at MIT” prayer service in the MIT Chapel.
“Boston is filled with storefront churches throughout Roxbury, Dorchester and many other surrounding communities. These vibrant communities of faith are often overlooked when people from outside Boston talk about how this area is unchurched. Christ Church International is where Brother Osagie attends. He invited Pastor Sharon to lead the prayers not only for the innocent convicts but for the eyes of law enforcement and judicial system officials eyes to be opened to these wrongful convictions and to resist systemic pressures that might lead to such convictions in the first place. I have a heart for systemic issues related to mass incarceration but I learned to pray in a whole new way that night.”
-Rev. Dana Baker, UniteBoston Board Member
“It was inspiring to be in the presence of Christians who express and go about their faith in different ways than I regularly experience. Some of it arose in me what I imagine the roots of our Christianity to have felt and looked like.”
-Erika Salloux, Member of St. Cecilia Parish in Boston
“The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity services were an experiential exemplification of the richness of spiritual gifts the different traditions of Christian faith offer to one another–the contemplative eve of Taize prayer at MIT . . . the energetic movement and music and prayer at People’s Baptist Church . . . the dynamic preaching by the UCC pastor at the Paulist Center . . . . It was a wonderful witness to the mutual enrichment offered to us all in our relations with each other! “
-Fr. Tom Ryan, director of the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
“I valued the opportunity to gather with believers at different houses of worship in the city that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. It made me realize that there’s an outpouring of worship for God happening all across the city and I didn’t even know it! Every event that I went to that week made me see the beauty of the body of Christ in ways I did not expect or anticipate. Taking part in these worship gatherings in discrete enclaves throughout the city and seeing the earnestness of the believers in prayer and action warmed my soul and provided encouragement that the Church really is the hope of the world. After having participated at various prayer gatherings that week, I feel more connected with the life of the Church in Boston and hope that this experience will foster more of a desire for that amongst believers in the city.”
-Saranya Sathananthan, Ministry Development Associate at the Emmanuel Gospel Center and member of Antioch Community Church Brighton