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2 FALL 2020
er. Many also shared photos, reflec- tions, encouragement and prayers every day in our Facebook group. We prayed together and we walked to- gether, having each made some kind of commitment to walking and pray- ing throughout the summer.
I can’t report that we made any new theological agreements or that our church will hold together in unity because a number of us decided to walk and pray together this summer. But I can say that as I prayed with other Presbyterians for each of our ministries, I got to know the church a little better, I had the opportunity to connect and share with many faith- ful ministers, members and people of prayer, and my heart was stretched a little wider to love the whole church a little more.
John Calvin offered a prayer, say- ing, “Save us, Lord, from being self- centred in our prayers; teach us to remember to pray for others. May we be so caught up in love for those for whom we pray, that we may feel their needs as keenly as our own, and pray for them with imagination, sensitivity, and knowledge.”5
Thank you to everyone who walked and prayed with me this summer. May we continue to pray for each other and with each other across The Presbyterian Church in Canada and with our ecumenical partners too, and may God make us one.
   Walking, Talking and Praying
Throughout the summer months, the Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator of the General Assembly, launched an initiative to pray for the various congregations and ministries of the PCC, as well as our ecumenical partners through the Canadian Council of Churches. The moderator walked one kilometre for each— which added up to about 10–11 kms a day—following a prayer schedule that included specific and personalized prayer requests. She also invited participation from others across the church as a joint denomination-wide walking effort, holding up the church through prayer.
As well, the moderator also engaged a variety of ministries in conversation by video conference. The interviews featured the Rev. Jennifer Cameron of St. Columba Presbyterian Church in Belleville, Ont., and the Rev. Paulette Brown of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Humber Heights, Toronto, Ont.
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Unity.2 Whatever prayer forms are used, spiritual ecumenism always involves praying for the reconcilia- tion and unity of the church.
As the report of the Special Com- mission on Or thodox Par ticipation in the World Council of Churches observed:
“Common prayer in ecumenical settings makes it possible for Chris- tians from divided ecclesial tradi- tions to praise God together and of- fer prayer for Christian unity. Prayer lies at the centre of our identity as Christians... The very fact that we are able to pray a sign of the progress that has been made. Yet our common prayer is also a sign
of those things that are still to be achieved. Many of our divisions be- come apparent precisely in our com- mon prayer.”3
The report concluded:
“Our divisions will not be resolved solely with theological dialogue and common service to the world. We must also pray together if we are to stay together, for common prayer is at the very heart of our Christian life, both in our own communities and as we work together for Christian unity.”4
So, we prayed together this sum- mer. I invited prayer requests from our ecumenical partners in the Ca- nadian Council of Churches, so Pres- byterians across Canada prayed for the other churches and for the grow- ing unity of the whole church. But mostly we prayed for each other as Presbyterians across Canada. With all the differences, diversities and even disagreements within our de- nomination, we prayed for the well- being, faithfulness and fruitfulness of all our congregations, ministries and missions. We prayed for friends and for strangers. We prayed for congre- gations just like ours, and for others that are quite different. We prayed for like-minded people and for those with whom we cannot see eye to eye.
A diverse group of Presbyterians gathered four times by video con- ference to share experiences and to pray for the church and for each oth-
1 The Nature and Purpose of Ecumenical
Dialogue. (2005) Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches, Eighth Repor t. WCC Publications, Geneva, p. 80, Par. 42.
2 The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2021 was prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp. The theme “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” is based on John 15:1–17 and expresses Grandchamp Commu- nity’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family. Resources are available at: oik-
4 5 commissions/faith-and-order/xi-week- of-prayer-for-christian-unity/worship- and-background-material-for-the-week- of-prayer-for-christian-unity-2021
Final repor t of the Special Commission on Or thodox Par ticipation in the WCC. (14 February 2006) Appendix A, “A framework for Common Prayer at WCC Gatherings,” par. 1. Accessed online: pdf/pb-03-specialcommission.pdf
Ibid., Conclusion, Par. 43.
Dorothy Stewar t, compiler. (2002) The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers. WJK, Louisville, KY, p. 314.
Walk and Pray
Footsteps on a beach Footsteps on a road Footsteps on the sidewalk Footsteps on the trail Echoes in our heart
Prayers on a beach
Prayers on a road
Prayers on the sidewalk Prayers on the trail
Prayers in song and silence Prayers from West to East From coast to coast to coast
Feet and hearts
Joined in prayer
Songs carried on the wind
Soles stepping lightly— Souls open to new ways Of walking in the light And in the dark
Sunset, sunrise,
Ocean, lake, river
Mountain, valley, forest, or field, City or country,
We walk together.
Walking and Praying... Alone and Together
    Participants in the Walk and Pray with the Moderator initiative.
By Fiona van Wissen, participant in
the Walk and Pray with the Moderator initiative and former volunteer with the Iona Community in Scotland
Walking and praying go so well to- gether, especially during a time of such uncertainty in a global pan- demic. Writing and photography have been my other lifelines during this time of isolation and new con- nections.
In late May, the Rev. Amanda Cur- rie shared her invitation to walk and pray across the country. Together, we formed a community, sharing our thoughts at monthly online meetings and our photos and stories through Facebook.
It has been quite a journey from the West only seems like yesterday when we were praying for churches in Vancouver on June 1 and I played a video I found from Galilee Korean Presbyterian Church of their 2019 mission trip to Nicaragua.
I had to very quickly get out my atlas to locate some of the towns on the prayer list. As I write this at the start of another heat wave in July, I
can’t believe we have already made it to Ontario! Orillia is one of the com- munities on our prayer list today.
I have been swimming in a lake af- ter many of my sunrise walks. This morning at sunrise on the shore of Lake Ontario, about halfway between Hamilton and Toronto, I walked off the usual path. My heel was sore so I headed off on the grass along a small creek. I looked over and there on the other side of the creek was a great blue heron. I was quite surprised to see it there. I have watched a heron on the shore a few times, but never in the middle of a park!
The heron seemed to be going in the same direction. I slowed my pace, trying not to scare it off. Then I matched my steps to the heron’s. Left foot, right foot, I synchronized my legs as best I could. We walked along on opposite sides of the creek for a couple of minutes, fully in the moment. That moment where prayer has no words, but presence.
Eventually someone else came along, the heron took flight, and I continued my walk. Alone, but not alone.
 A great blue heron taking flight. PHOTO CREDIT: FIONA VAN WISEN.

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