Thanks so much for reading this month‘s news from The Initiative, a community committed to “walking in deeper friendship with Jesus and his followers, so that the love of Christ might exceed all divisions.” We do this primarily through prayer, sharing of our lives, and proactive work for greater unity. 
  It’s January, so this month’s update is focused on how we can start the new year by “taking the initiative” and specifically how the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an important global event that’s been taking place annually between January 18th and 25th for over a century, gives us an opportunity to pray and make connections with Christians from traditions other than our own.

Scott offers 3 minutes of encouragement for how each of us can start 2024 by stepping out of our friendship “comfort zone.”

Start with prayer for the Week of Prayer

It’s become something of a tradition now, right before the week of prayer begins, for us to gather as a community online to pray for God to be stirring up love, friendship, action and dependence throughout the whole body of Christ in the next eight days.

We’d love for you to join us on Zoom on Wednesday evening the 17th at 8:00pm (eastern time) for 30 minutes of structured and extemporaneous prayer for the upcoming Week of Prayer.

week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Join in one of the prayer liturgies – or host an informal prayer gathering with other Christians

     Here are some of the dates, times, locations and livestream links for WPCU prayer services that members and friends of The Initiative will be a part of (in chronological order): 

  • High Point/Greensboro, NC – took place this past Thursday. Reach out here if you want to connect to folks in that area.
  • Greater New York City (Sat 1/20) – 5:00pm Eastern; St Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church 192 81st Street, Brooklyn, NY. Great Vespers, followed by potluck dinner.
  • Southside Chicago (Sat 1/20) – 7:00pm Central; St. Josephine Bakhita Parish, 2132 E 72nd St, Chicago. Fellowship following.
  • Northside Chicago (Sun 1/21) – 10:30am Central; St. Nicolai United Church of Christ, 3000 N. Kedzie, Chicago IL; service in Spanish and English, followed by a potluck luncheon
  • Greater Boston (Sun 1/21) – 2:30-4:30pm Eastern; Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Catholic Cathedral, 7 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury, MA. An afternoon of prayer & conversation.
  • Greater Los Angeles (Sun 1/21) – 2:30pm Pacific; Hollywood Church of Christ, 600 N. Rossmore Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. Livestream
  • Chicago Suburbs (Sun 1/21) – 7:00pm Central; New Jerusalem House of Prayer, 610 E. North Avenue, Carol Stream, IL. Fellowship following.
  • St. Louis (Sun 1/21) – 7:00pm Central; St. John Bosco Catholic Parish, 12934 Marine Avenue Creve Coeur MO.
  • Atlanta (Wed 1/24) – 7:00-8:30pm Eastern; Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 4465 Northside Drive, NW, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Downtown Boston (Thur 1/25) – 7:00pm Eastern; Paulist Center, 5 Park Street, Boston. Prayer liturgy.

Don’t know of a prayer gathering in your area? Host a small group of your friends for a more informal prayer time or commit to praying daily on your own for each of the eight days. To that end, we’d love to offer you a prayer guide and litany that you can use personally or with a small group. Simply reply to this email and one will be headed your way.

Thank you for your prayers, friendship and generosity!

     The beginning of the new year also offers me an opportunity to personally thank each of you who reads these updates for your connection to our community and for the specific ways that you express that. I’m grateful for how you pray for The Initiative, and for me in my role here. I’m grateful for how I’ve seen many of you grow in friendship with Jesus and his followers this year – and for extending that friendship to me. And I’m grateful for your amazing generosity in giving to our work. 

     I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthian church: “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God... And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:12, 14-15).