Seeking Common Ground

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Sunday 2nd to Sunday 9th June 2019

Theme: Justice and only justice you shall pursue (Deuteronomy 16:18-20)

Marian Shrine of Annai Velangkanni, Medan Indonesia
Marian Shrine of Annai Velangkanni, Medan Indonesia

By Doug Hewitt

Each year the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is jointly promoted by the Vatican Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019 have been prepared by Christians from Indonesia. With a population of 265 million, 86% of whom are reckoned to be Muslim, Indonesia is well known as having the largest Muslim population of any country. However, about 10% of Indonesians are Christian from various traditions.

In terms of both population and the area of the country Indonesia is the biggest nation in South East Asia. The nation is founded on five principles called Pancasila, with the motto Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity). Across the diversity of ethnicity, language and religion, Indonesians have lived by the principle of gotong royong which is to live in solidarity and by collaboration with each other.

The representatives of the churches who have prepared the resources believe that an always fragile harmony is today threatened in new ways. Like other nations, much of the economic growth that Indonesia has experienced in recent decades has been built on a system that has competition at its heart. This is in stark contrast to the collaboration principle of  gotong royong. Corruption is often experienced in many forms. It infects politics and business, often with devastating consequences for the environment. In particular, corruption undermines justice and the implementation of law.

Moved by these concerns, the Christians of Indonesia found that the words of Deuteronomy, “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …” (Deut. 16:18-20) spoke powerfully to their situation and needs. Before the people of God enter the land which God has promised them they renew their commitment to the Covenant God had established with his people.

The National Council of Churches in Australia has produced worship and background material. 

Now is the time to begin discussions with local churches about ways in which you can celebrate together during the 2019 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.