Common Prayer Service: From Conflict to Communion
On Friday, November 10th, 2017, the Diocese of Hamilton hosted a common prayer service at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King. The service included the Lutheran and Anglican communities with our Roman Catholic community here at the Diocese. The service was in commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Bishop Crosby, along with Bishop Pryse of the Eastern Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, and Bishop Bird of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara presided together over the service.
The songs were sung by the Cathedral Basilica Choir, The Cathedral Tenor Bass Choir, The Diocesan Choir, St. John's Lutheran choir Hamilton and the Bay Area Chorus from Brantford. The interventions were proclaimed by both Lutheran and Catholic readers offering reflection and prayers of thanksgiving, and repentance. We then shared with our neighbours a sign of peace. Father Duffy, Dean of Hamilton, proclaimed the Gospel. The sermon was a joint sermon given by Sister Eileen Schuller, OSU representing the Catholic Church, and Pastor Daniela Mertz, representing the Lutheran Church. Together we joined in saying our Profession of Faith and the Our Father.
Bishop Crosby and Bishop Pryse together shared the Five Imperatives found in From Conflict to Communion. Each commitment was was marked by a statement of the commitment and the lighting of a candle using the original flame of the Paschal Candle. After intercessory prayers the three Bishops together gave the final blessing.
The service was a beautiful experience. The attendance of the various faithful was wonderful. It was a true reminder of what parts of our faiths we have in common and that our love our our Lord and Jesus Christ is what we all hold most dear.
A special thank you also goes out to Imam Tarek from the Muslim Association of Brantford. Imam Tarek joined us within the congregation as well. It was a reminder that we can all learn from each other by sharing any of the commonalities in our faiths. The time in our history of the Church is remembered for division, discord and bitterness, but now the Spirit of God is calling us in our time to a renewed sense of common mission, prayer and service. The world needs us all to be leaders of peace and reconciliation. Working together we can be a large light in the darkness.
The Five Commitments
1. Catholics and Lutherans should always begin from the perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division in order to strengthen what is held in common even though the differences are more easily seen and experienced. (#239)
2. Lutherans and Catholics must let themselves continuously be transformed by the encounter with the other and by the mutual witness of faith.(#240)
3. Catholics and Lutherans should again commit themselves to seek visible unity, to elaborate together what this means in concrete steps, and to strive repeatedly toward this goal (#241)
4. Lutherans and Catholics should jointly rediscover the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our time (#242)
5. Catholics and Lutherans should witness together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world. (#243).