During this week dedicated to Christian Unity, we hosted an ecumenical prayer service on Wednesday, January 18, with our Christian brothers and sisters in the Palatine area. Residents, Sisters, volunteers and staff joined Pastor Karl Fay from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Reverend David Mercer, Pastor of St Paul United Church of Christ, Fr. Morcos Daoud of St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church and Deacon Mark Dunne of St. Thomas of Villanova, along with some of their parishioners to unite in prayer.
Deacon Dunne introduced each of the ministers and invited them to say a few words about their Faith and their Churches. It was interesting to hear our commonalities and how we are united in our deep love for Jesus.
The program began by illustrating how we are divided by sin. A wall was constructed in front of the altar with bricks that had names of sins imprinted on them. As each stone was laid, Pastor Fay, with Volunteer Readers, Carol Broderick and Doug Olson, led us in prayer for forgiveness for that sin.
Reverend Mercer read the First Reading from Ezekiel and as we prayed to be reconciled through God’s word. The Second Reading from Corinthians was read by Resident Jeanne Rauhaus, followed by St. Luke’s Gospel read by Reverend Mercer.
Pastor Fay spoke to us about how Peace was a sign of God’s love for us and it is the hope that we need to embrace in today’s world. It will unite us in our differences and strengthen us in our likenesses. Pastor Fay is also an artist and he shared his drawing entitled “Peace in the languages of the World” with us.
As a sign of our reconciliation, we responded in faith and unity as we extended a sign of peace. Reverend Mercer explained, “that a lighted candle is a deeply human symbol: it enlightens the darkness, creates warmth, security and community. It symbolizes Christ, the light of the world. As ambassadors for Christ we will carry this light into the world, into the dark places where discord and division impede our united witness..” We lit our candles as he continued, “Receive the Light of Christ and carry it into the dark places of our world! Be ministers of reconciliation! Be ambassadors for Christ!” Ending the Prayer Service, together the ministers gave us a blessing and sent us forth in God’s Peace.
After prayer, food is always great way to unite people. Know that, we invited our guests to dine with our Residents to celebrate our unity in Christ,…and enjoy a delicious meal together.