I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.

As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

-- John 17:20-21, NRSV

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Berlin's Ecumenical Interfaith Room of Silence: A Symbol of Peace and Harbinger of Hope
 By Donald E. Messer*

Amid the distracting noise in the heart of bustling Berlin, Germany, exists an ecumenical, interfaith Room of Silence where people from around the world stop to pray and meditate.

Located within the famed Brandenburg Gate, where opposing military forces and political ideologies clashed until the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, the Room of Silence was created as a symbol of peace and inclusiveness for all people.

Persons are encouraged to enter without fear.  A statement of purpose invites individuals to "remain in silence, . . . relax, gain strength for daily life, . . . meditate and to feel gratitude . . . ."  The sponsors say the room is "a symbol .  . . to tolerance and the brotherhood of humanity embracing all nationalities and ideologies, a continuous reminder against violence and xenophobia .  .  . a small step towards peace and spiritual unity.” 
Pulpit Exchange to Encourage Unity

 As an active participant in Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) the United Methodist Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) recommends United Methodist pastors share in a pulpit exchange with our CUIC partners.  The hope is such an exchange will enliven visible unity among the churches and celebrate the journey we are taking together.  Such exchanges would be between the following faith communions: The African Methodist Episcopal Church, The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Christian Methodist Church, The Episcopal Church, The International Council of Community Churches, The Moravian Church (Northern Province), The Presbyterian Church (USA), The United Church of Christ and The United Methodist Church.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is also a partner in mission and dialogue and may be included. CUIC suggests the exchanges take place during the Easter Season (between now and Pentecost on May 24) and between the International Day of Prayer for Peace (September 21) and World Communion Sunday (October 4), remembering any non-United Methodist preacher should be approved in advance by the local District Superintendent. 


Click here for suggestions for implementing Churches Uniting in Christ. 




Ecumenical Pilgrimage Focuses On Celebration of the Past And Commitment To The Future

By Donald E. Messer*

 An Ecumenical Civil Rights Pilgrimage of forty-six laity and clergy, that started at the birthplace of Baptist preacher Martin Luther King, Jr., in Atlanta, and ended at the motel where he was martyred in Memphis, traced not only the struggles of the past but focused on contemporary issues of justice and equality.

Led from March 5 to 9 by retired St. Luke's United Methodist pastor, Rev. M. Kent Millard, and Bob Zehr, both of Indianapolis, the interracial ecumenical group of Presbyterians, Catholics, Quakers, and United Methodist clergy and laity, also included students and faculty of Christian Theological Seminary (a Disciples of Christ seminary), and a seminary student from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

2015 Christian Unity Gathering

NCCC logo2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee will speak during the opening plenary at the upcoming Christian Unity Gathering. Gbowee is a well-known peacebuilder and received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with women of many faiths to end the civil war in Liberia. Gbowee continues to work with women in conflict regions as Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network (WIPSEN-Africa). As we begin to explore our priority of Interfaith Relations with a Focus on Peace, Gbowee's story will be both instructive and inspiring for the work ahead.

The 2015 Christian Unity Gathering will be held at the Hilton Washington Dulles in Herndon, VA outside Washington, DC May 7-9. The event will be a celebration of ecumenism and an opportunity to put that spirit into practice as we continue our work to respond to the mass incarceration crisis and explore our second priority, interfaith relations with a focus on peace.

The program will include ample opportunity for all attendees to engage with one another through group discussion, input from expert resource people to help inform our discussion, and service of remembrance for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide held at Washington National Cathedral. Also importantly, both the Governing Board and Convening Tables will meet as well.

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