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Campus celebrates Christian Unity Week

Adam Llorens | Sunday, January 30, 2011

Christian Unity Week, a series of events hosted by Campus Ministry and the Department of Theology, works to help students and staff embark on a communal journey to come together in the Body of Christ through conversation and prayer.

“About 2.1 billion people claim the name Christian, but these followers of Christ are divided into a wide variety of denominations,” Karen Kirner, associate director of the Folk and Celebration Choirs, said. “Different ways we can work towards unity include prayer, common work, witness and open dialogue.”

Events for the week begin tonight with an Ecumenical Lecture concerning Eastern Catholics and their relationship with the Orthodox Church at 7 p.m. in the Coleman-Morse Lounge.

A talk sponsored by Four:7 Catholic Fellowship about unification of all Christians through the Body of Christ will take place Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in the Cavanaugh Hall Chapel.

History professors Mark Noll and Brad Gregory will lecture on the relationship between Evangelicals and Catholics Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Oak Room of South Dining Hall.

Though there will be a prayer service at 8 p.m. Friday in the Keenan-Stanford Chapel, the pinnacle of the week will be the Christian Unity Prayer Service Thursday night at 10 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Kirner said.

Kirner has helped organize several choirs for the Prayer Service. Five choirs from across campus will be leading the music, including the Celebration Choir, Voices of Faith Gospel Choir, Totus Tuus Band of Four: 7 Catholic Fellowship, musicians from Iron Sharpens Iron Interdenominational Fellowship and Coro Primavera.

“Each group will be highlighted individually, and we’ll also sing several joint pieces together,” she said.

It’s important that members of the Notre Dame community share in all the similarities of Christian faith, have a chance to dialogue about differences with others and appreciate the nuances that each has to offer, Kirner said.

An easy way to participate is to attend the Thursday night prayer service in the Basilica, she said. The organizers of Christian Unity Week hope, that with the time spent examining beliefs, all Christians can unite as one people.

“We want students to realize that Christian Unity is something worth celebrating and working toward, even though we probably won’t see it brought completely to fruition in our lifetimes,” Kirner said. “We want students to appreciate the validity of a wide variety of Christian expression, to be inspired by fellow students of different Christian expressions, to learn from each other, and primarily to realize that we are all one in Christ.”