Each day during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we provide a starting point, reflection, questions and a prayer based on the theme. Here you can turn your reflections into action with our Go and Do points.
Get informed about and take action on global refugee and asylum issues and campaigns.
Global refugee and asylum issues are bound up with many other issues, such as the multiple reasons that have forced someone to leave their home. Conflict, climate change, Coronavirus, the reasons are many and complex.
Six year old Asha, pictured, is one of the refugees stuck on the border of Bangladesh, in one of the world’s largest refugee camps.
Escalating violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in late August 2017 forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, including many Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh, fearing for their lives. Asha was one of them. She has lost her family.
Conditions in the camps are incredibly difficult and children like Asha are particularly vulnerable. They have lost the families who loved them.
Find out how organisations like Christian Aid are responding to these challenges to help children like Asha and address the added challenge of coronavirus.
Participate in any hospitality being offered locally to those who have had no choice but to go on a long journey to find safety in an unfamiliar place across the world.
Find out more about the work happening within the CTBI Churches Refugee Network. A network encouraging Churches in Britain and Ireland to proactively engage in issues linked to asylum, refugees and migration per se. The network consists of a growing number of Church-related organisations who share a commitment to support and advocate for refugees, both those overseas and those who have come to the UK. Visit the CTBI Churches Refugee Network to find out what is happening across the British Isles in response to migration and asylum
Spend time exploring what is unfamiliar to you in another Christian tradition and which might help lead you to greater understanding and unity.
You might find reading this essay by Savi Hensman an interesting place to start as you consider learning from other Christian traditions.
As people of faith think about how you can work together for the day when all can know a full and abundant human life.
Organise a conversation with people from the churches in your area and the wider community, in-person if possible or online if not, to have a conversation about your positive contribution to the local and global world around you. You might find the following suggestions and questions helpful prompts for your conversation:
Make a list (or a poster) of all the projects and/or charities that the churches in your area support, partner and/or deliver.
Identify which of these charities or projects are focused on local issues, which are focused on global issues and which focus on both.
Can you group them into categories, e.g. helping people living with dementia, providing services for young people, addressing global injustice and poverty etc…
Discuss what your decision-making process was to contribute to these particular causes?
Discuss what ways you can work closer together, as churches, to make your contribution even more effective? Who else might you partner with to make your contribution as effective as it can be?
Are there any obvious gaps in the issues being supported that you can join together to address, if you have the resources?
Consider how the churches in your area can be more child friendly spaces.
How welcome are children in your church? Is there one church in your area that has more children attending it than others? Is this something churches in your area could learn from each other about, perhaps over a conversation on Zoom (or other online platform)?
Find out about the child friendly church award. The simple self-assessment tool in this resource might help guide your conversation and actions. You can find out more about the award from Liverpool Anglican Diocese.
Give thanks and pray for the children you know.
If you have children or children who you are known and trusted by (including their guardian and parent) then you could plan an activity together or send them a letter in the post if you don’t live nearby or coronavirus restrictions prevent you from seeing them.
You can find lots of activity ideas online including the list made available here.
Pray for the day when children across the world will be given equal opportunities to thrive and live an abundant life. For children like Mathi in India, pictured, who was born into the exclusion of the caste system in India. Give thanks for his loving mother and the organic veg-box project that she has started with other women and Christian Aid’s help. Pray that it will give him opportunities to thrive.
What action can we take in response to the compassion needed in the world?
Take a newspaper or visit a website that includes global news. Allow your compassion to surface for the stories and incidents that catch your eye and move you. Research what organisations are already doing something in response to this issue and investigate what you can do to support them or to join in.
Look at the list of UN International Days and choose one day from each month that evokes a compassionate response from you. Put it in your diary or calendar for the year to make sure to take action in response to the issues being highlighted that day.
Find out about the work of compassionate communities in wellbeing and healthcare in the UK.
Consider making a banner or quilt together as churches and the wider community to demonstrate the things that thread and weave you together.
Identify the local craft or textile champions in each of your church communities and connect them together to help lead a craft activity that everyone can participate in.
It may be that in circumstances of COVID-19 that individual items will have to be crafted separately and then pieced or displayed together. Or perhaps an outdoor craft event that people take part in individually but create a collective piece, for example a yarn bomb of a tree or gate or seat in a neighbouring church.
Also visit the Craftivist Collective to find out how doing craft can change us and help change the world.
Consider the clothing in your wardrobe and the lives and hands who have touched them. Have these clothes been made with fair pay and good working conditions?
Make a list of countries where your clothes were made. Consider the hands that touched your garments and the lives affected.
Continue to raise your voice for the cause of Fairtrade and chose Fairtrade whenever you can:
Commit to praying through the WCC Ecumenical Prayer Cycle this year.
The Ecumenical Prayer Cycle enables us to journey in prayer through every region of the world and through every week of the year affirming our solidarity with Christians all over the world, brothers and sisters living in diverse situations, experiencing diverse problems and sharing diverse gifts.
Unite with others in your community to pray together this week, in person, online via Zoom or similar platform, or at a set time when you know others will be joining in prayer.
You may find the points for prayer in the Christian Aid monthly prayer sheet, including points based on the UN days for the month helpful to guide your prayers.
Ask different people to lead a different part of the time of prayer, perhaps someone from each church represented.
If you are struggling to get a group together, you could join the Christian Aid monthly prayer breakfast instead.
Consider how your prayer practices inform and influence your action in the world.
‘Prayer does not blind us to the world, but it transforms our vision of the world, and makes us see it, all men [sic], and all the history of mankind[sic], in the light of God’ – Thomas Merton.
How does seeing the world in the light of God help inform and influence our action in the world?
Spend time in contemplative prayer today, holding the concerns of the world and the hand of God.
Learn more about contemplative prayer practices.
Just Scripture connects communities, in real time across the world, to dialogue about a passage of Scripture and how it can equip or inspire them to take action on injustice.
The methodology is derived from Contextual Bible Study, inspired by communities in South Africa, and Intercultural Biblical Dialogue developed in Bolivia. It has truly been forged in global partnership.
What one act of kindness could the churches in your area take together to be a unified blessing in your wider community?
Read faith, hope and mischief by Andrew Graystone and reflect on what acts of kindness you might be able take together in your community. You can also hear Andrew read some of the stories and explain the title of the book.
Read the Beatitudes through slowly (Matthew 5: 3-11). Which of the actions described in the passage are you encouraged to take today?
Take time to reflect on the beatitudes. Is there one that draws your eye or attention more than the rest? Spend time working out what that particular beatitude looks like in practice in your life and community.
Take time to engage with global news stories today. Take action in response to the story that most moves you with compassion.
Reflect on how you have received compassion in your life.
You might choose a different news or media outlet than you usually use to help engage with familiar stories from a different angle or to appreciate the diversity of reporting that exists.
Ensure that your compassion empowers rather than overwhelms by spending time in prayer, entrusting your concern to God and gaining perspective and strength to respond.
You might choose to donate to a relevant cause that is seeking a solution to the problem that concerns you. And or you might be able to discuss with others in your local churches what you can do in response.
Bibi, pictured above, is a 25 year old widow living with two children in an internally displaced people camp in Afghanistan.
Her family were displaced by drought and conflict.
They are living in extreme poverty and danger. They were forced to leave their home and lost everything. Despite the severe hardship, Bibi is determined that her children will prosper.
Contribute in any way that you can to a foodbank, food growing scheme or community meal initiative in your area.
These are difficult days for many of us and accessing the food and supplies we need has never been harder for many of us. Do make sure you access foodbank / supply services if you are struggling to get the provisions you need.
And if you are in a position to make a contribution of time or supplies to the local food provision initiative in your area, find out what they most need before making your purchase or contributing your time and talents.
Reflect on and identify who ‘the other’ is for you. How might you connect with and offer a welcome to them in your next encounter?
Read the story of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10: 25-37, and in the light of the story answer the question of the young lawyer ‘who is my neighbour?’ in your own life.
The Other is a popular theme in poetry. You might wish to read and reflect on R.S. Thomas’s poem of that name as you reflect on the other in your life and to help us all come to the appreciation and understanding that all are made in the divine image of God.
ACT Alliance is the largest coalition of Protestant and Orthodox churches and church-related organisations engaged in humanitarian, development and advocacy work in the world, consisting of more than 130 members working together in over 120 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalised people regardless of their religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality in keeping with the highest international codes and standards.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of over 160 members who are working at the grassroots in almost every country of the world. When a crisis hits, Caritas is already on the ground. The diverse members give us our strength – from small groups of volunteers to some of the biggest global charities. Inspired by Catholic faith, Caritas is the helping hand of the Church – reaching out to the poor, vulnerable and excluded, regardless of race or religion, to build a world based on justice and fraternal love.
Organise an online or in person conversation, with the assistance of a facilitator, on the theme of unity for the churches in your area.
You could choose to do this around a discussion on the passage set for today’s reading in the days material or by using the prompt questions in the days material.
Organise a united service together to mark Racial Justice Sunday in February.
Consider and commit to one act of unity.
Take time to honesty consider the places of disunity in your life and what actions you might take to be reconciled. Visit the reconcilers together website and any of the organisations represented to equip you with resources and understanding of reconciling relationships.
Florence Muthiani says a prayer outside of her home in the village of Kyenge, Kenya. Florence is featured in the stories for Christian Aid Week 2021.
Find out about and join the prayer chain for climate justice.
The Prayer chain for climate justice was set up to help us all connect together across the world in our prayer and action for climate justice. It is an initiative of Christian Aid and is being done in partnership with CAFOD and Tearfund. It was initially set up to lead to the climate change talks originally planned for November 2020 but now postponed to November 2021 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
You can sign up on the calendar to fill a time-slot to pray by yourself or with others from your church. You can choose to pray on a regular basis as part of the prayer chain.
Campaign together for climate justice in the lead up to the United Nations climate change talks in Glasgow 2021.
Find out what activity is going on in your area as part of the campaign for climate justice.
Visit Christian Aid campaigns to find out how to add your voice to the call for climate justice.
Take action for climate justice in your own life.
Visit Green Christian to join in the conversation and get involved in making a positive difference in the world. Green Christian are a community of ordinary Christians from all backgrounds and traditions working to care for Creation through prayer, living simply, public witness, campaigning and mutual encouragement.