CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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A pledge to promote justice in Christian Unity Week

HONG KONG (SE): In response to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, around 300 people from different Christian denominations attended an ecumenical prayer service at St. Teresa’s Church, Prince Edward Road, on January 19, in which Church leaders urged those present to bear witness to God through compassion, humility and a dedication to promote justice.
 
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is held annually between January 18 and January 25. The theme for 2019, Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue ... is inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18-20.
 
Those attending the prayer meeting included leaders and lay people from the Catholic Church as well as Protestant denominations, such as the Orthodox, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran and Evangelical Churches as well as those from Church of Christ in China and Tsung Tsin Mission of Hong Kong.
 
Reverend Lam Sung-che of the Methodist Church said during the homily that none of us should be complacent about ourselves and should respect differences as they can bring variety to our lives in the diversified society instead of causing conflicts.
 
Reverend Lam said that Christians should bear witness to God through compassion, humility and the promotion of justice so that people can find confidence in God in the secular world.
 
During the offertory, the congregation was invited to hold a prayer card in their hands and make a promise to God that they would live their lives with justice as well as mercy, and humbly keep a close relationship with God. Attendants then passed the cards on to the clergy at the altar and received a bookmark bearing the Chinese word, “義”, meaning justice.
 
At the end of the prayer service, people recited the Chinese ecumenical version of the Nicene Creed earlier verified by a ecumenical theological team and, at the same time, prayed for justice and the unity of the Christian Churches amid their differences.
 
The service was organised by the Hong Kong Catholic Diocesan Ecumenical Commission together with the Church Unity and Relations of Hong Kong Christian Council.
 
Reverend Amos Poon Ching-hang of the Anglican Church, told the Kung Kao Po Catholic weekly that, while denominations may have arguments over theological issues, it is easier for them to reach agreements on social issues concerning the poor, the oppressed or policies that need to be improved. Therefore, he believes their common views on justice issues give them a chance to strengthen their communications as they work for justice in unity.
 
Sister Lucia Cheung Ching-han, of the Ecumenical Commission, said that although Christians were divided over the course of history, reconciliation was possible as it is in the will of God. She explained that Jesus Christ never set up any denominations. Instead, he only asked his disciples to follow him.
 
Sister Cheung said that if Christians are united in love and do away with their differences, it will be a powerful witness in a diversified world.
 
During the week, besides the prayer service, a worship service for Church leaders and co-workers was held at St. John’s Cathedral, Central, on January 24, while an English service for unity was organised at Rosary Church, Tsimshatsui, on January 22. 

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