Sudburians invited to choir festival, worship services
But at the same time, it's important for all Christians to see their similarities, and to celebrate the message of Christ together, she said.
“It's not about me and my feelings or my convictions,” said Luana Baumann, the pastor at St. Matthew and St. Timothy churches. “It's really about what Jesus Christ calls us to do.”
Learning about other Christian faiths is precisely what Luana Baumann will be doing Jan. 19-26, which is A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
A number of events at local churches (see list below) — everything from a festival of choirs to a panel discussion to worship services — have been planned for the occasion.
One of the groups that's helped to plan the events is Active Christians Engaging Society (ACES), which works to connect local Christian churches.
ACES member Dan Thomson said the events allow those who belong to different churches to get to know each other. They also show the larger community that Christian churches are safe and supportive places.
“If we're going to put it out to the community that we're a safe place and that we're a place that has something to offer to people, then we need to know what it is that each of us believes,” he said.
“We need to appreciate and understand and respect the faith traditions that exist in the community.”
Michel Denis, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie's co-ordinator of social affairs, said Pope Francis himself has made strides towards an open dialogue between Christian faiths since his election last year.
“In that spirit, that's what I'm here for,” said Denis, also a member of ACES.
As someone who is new to Sudbury, Glad Tidings Tabernacle Pastor Todd Manuel said he's looking forward to meeting other members of the city's Christian community and build new relationships.
“As a Christian leader, I'm very interested in what we have in common, not necessarily what we are different about,” he said.
“I do enjoy dialogue and discussion about the differences of theology and practices within the Christian church.”
A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity events:
Jan. 19 – Festival of Choirs, 2 p.m., Glad Tidings Church, features choirs from Roman Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical faiths, music from the ancient to the modern, goodwill offering to the Elgin Street Mission.
Jan. 19 - Ecumenical service, 7 p.m., Trinity United Church, Garson (hosted by Anglican, United, Catholic and Baptist churches).
Jan. 22 – Christian Unity Service, 7 p.m., St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Copper Cliff (hosted by Lively and Copper Cliff churches).
Jan. 23 – Presentation and panel about discussions between Evangelical and Catholic churches, 7 p.m., Marguerite Lougheed Community Centre, hosted by Active Christians Engaging Society (ACES).
Jan. 26 – TAIZE Prayer (meditative prayer which is sung), 7 p.m., University of Sudbury St. Ignatius Loyola Chapel, hosted by Father Ronald Perron.