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Week of Prayer in Ponoka

The Week of Prayer is a worldwide celebration held every year from Jan. 18 to 25 to encourage people of all denominations to pray together as a sign of Christian unity

The Week of Prayer is a worldwide celebration held every year from Jan. 18 to 25 to encourage people of all denominations to pray together as a sign of Christian unity.

Its extensive history dates back to its beginning which was in 1908 at Graymoor in Garrison, NY, home of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement.

It is an expression of the ecumenical movement – a worldwide movement among Christians to heal the divisions within the Church; to promote dialogues among churches and Christian communities; and to encourage Christians everywhere to better understand and reflect the implications of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

Every year since 1968 the text and theme has been jointly chosen and prepared by representatives of the World Council of Churches and Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. A local ecumenical group from South Korea selected the theme for the 2009 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Members of the group were from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea and the National Council of Churches of Korea. The text they chose for the 2009 celebration is Ezekiel 37:15-19, 22-24a and the theme is, “That they may become one in your hand.” Ezekiel’s name means “God makes him strong.” According to the Bible, he was called upon to give his people hope in a desperate religious and political situation: the fall and occupation of Israel, and the exile of many of its people. For the local group from Korea, the Ezekiel text has similarities to their own situation within a divided country and a divided Christendom. Ezekiel’s words give hope that God’s people will again be gathered into one, God’s own, and will be blessed to become a mighty people. A new ultimate hope is born: that God will create a new world.

Every year, the Ponoka ministerial holds a Week of Prayer in which the various churches gather together to lift up Ponoka through prayer. Instead of concentrating solely on Christian unity, for the last few years the ministerial has chosen to devote each day to praying for the individuals and groups who serve our community to bless them and let them know their efforts are recognized and greatly appreciated.

This year’s Week of Prayer in Ponoka runs from Monday, Jan. 19 to Friday, Jan. 23.

Each day, anyone who wishes to take part may do so by going to St. Mary’s Anglican Church (5120-49 Ave.) at 11:45 a.m. for an opening welcome and a prayer for lunch, which is a large selection of delicious homemade soups. When lunch is finished at roughly 12:20 p.m., there is an opening song and talking which is followed by prayer time. While every day has the same time schedule, every day has a different theme led by a different church representative as follows.

On Monday, Jan. 19 the group prayer was for the Town office and County, the workers, and the staff of Ponoka led by Pastor Rob McArthur of the Word of Life Trinity Lutheran Church. On Tuesday, Jan. 20 the afternoon of prayer was devoted to our schools led by Pastor Norm Dibben from the Ponoka Alliance Open Bible Church and today, there was a prayer for Ponoka’s volunteer organizations led by Pastor Kirk Ehrhart of the Ponoka First Baptist Church.

On Thursday, Jan. 22 there will be a prayer held for our emergency services led by Father Harry Zantingh of the Sonrise CR St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church and on Friday, Jan. 23 there will be a prayer for Ponoka’s hospital and medical services led by Pastor Brian Melbourne of St. Mary’s Anglican Ponoka United Church.

People from all denominations are welcome and encouraged to attend any of the remaining days.

For more information phone Paul Spate at 403-783-5533.