CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 February 2018

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Strong turnout for final service of Christian Unity Week

The final service of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was held on the evening of January 24 at the Community Church Hong Kong in Sheung Wan, with strong participation of both Catholic and Protestant Christians. 
 
The hour-long English worship featured music, prayers and a sermon on the theme, Your Right Hand, Lord, Was Majestic in Power (Exodus 15:6). The event was co-sponsored by the Hong Kong Christian Council and the Catholic Diocesan Ecumenical Commission.
 
The service opened with the hymn, Sing A New Church, written by Benedictine Sister Delores Dufner. Community Church ministers and members led the liturgy and music, with readers from Quarry Bay Baptist Church, Kowloon Union Church and Rosary Church. The Alleluia, Halle, halle, halle, brought the spirit of the Caribbean into the worship, as this year’s resources were prepared by the churches of the Caribbean.
 
Father Jovito Dales, the general bursar of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, was the preacher. Drawing on readings from Exodus 15, Psalm 118 and Mark 5, he spoke of God’s mighty power as a demonstration of divine care for all those who suffer and are oppressed. The three miracles in the bible lessons—the parting of the Red Sea, the healing of the haemorrhaging woman and the raising of Jairus’ daughter—break the brutal chains of slavery and death. 
 
Likewise, he said the Church today is called to be a healing instrument of God’s liberation and salvation in Jesus Christ. 
 
Father Jovito shared touching stories of his experience with HIV/AIDS patients in the Philippines and landmine victims in Cambodia. Both experiences showed him the power of love and community in transforming shattered lives. 
 
He challenged the audience to reach out to those pushed hard by the crowds and to “get up” to serve the least and the lost in one’s own neighbourhood. In so doing, we bear witness to the Psalmist’s declaration, “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 118:17).
 
The offering was collected for a new Christian organisation called STOP (Stop Trafficking of People). STOP is an initiative under Vine Community Services Limited, working in partnership with the local community to end human trafficking in and through Hong Kong. The problems of human trafficking and modern-day slavery are more recent social concerns of Hong Kong Churches. 
 
To find out more about STOP, please visit their website http://www.stophk.org/.
 
This was the first time that the Ecumenical Unity Service was held at Community Church, an international congregation in Sheung Wan. 
 
The senior pastor, Reverend Steve Gaultney, said afterwards, “It was our privilege to host it. It was wonderful welcoming everyone to Community Church. We look forward to serving together in the future.” 
 
The service was recorded by RTHK-Radio 4 and aired on January 28 as the weekly Church Service broadcast.
 
Reverend Judy Chan

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