Jim Gill

I am currently serving as the President of the Bay Area Ministerial Association. (B.A.M.A.)  

In that capacity I want to inform you of events taking place in the next few weeks that are designed to further the Unity of the Christian churches in the Houston Area.

If you know of other events taking place at your churches, please contact me through the church I serve, Faith Presbyterian in Baytown by calling 281-422-2938.

The National Week of Prayer For Christian Unity began yesterday. At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). 

Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. 

The week began with a service last night, at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. Bishop Steven J. Lopes from the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was the keynote speaker who presented on the topic “Realized Ecumenism.”

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Christians from the Houston Area will gather for our fifth annual Ecumenical Prayer Service. This year’s host location is St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 5501 Main St., in Houston. We will begin at 7 p.m.

This year’s theme was created by our ecumenical partners in the Caribbean. Today Caribbean Christians of many different traditions see the hand of God active in the ending of enslavement. It is a uniting experience of the saving action of God which brings freedom.

For this reason the choice of the song of Moses and Miriam (Ex 15:1-21) as the motif of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018 was considered a most appropriate one. It is a song of triumph over oppression. 

This theme has been taken up in a hymn, “The Right Hand of God,” written in a workshop of the Caribbean Conference of Churches in August 1981, which has become an “anthem” of the ecumenical movement in the region, translated into a number of different languages.

Singers are invited to help us demonstrate Christian unity by ministering with us as an interdenominational choir for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’s Prayer Worship Service. Prayer Service Choir Rehearsals will be on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Please do not hesitate to join!

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a time to come together to pray in common and encounter one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. It is an opportunity to recognize the richness and value that are present in each other as we join Christ’s prayer, “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). All are welcome!

Finally, as a follow up to this Week of Prayer For Christian Unity, I want to invite the pastors in the Baytown Area to a meeting at the Community Room of San Jacinto Methodist Hospital in Baytown at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1.  

B.A.M.A. normally meets on the first Thursday of the month for lunch in that community room from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., and all pastors and ministries in the Baytown area are invited to attend that lunch. 

I have also called an additional meeting that night at 7 p.m. I want to meet with as many pastors as possible to pray together and to discuss ways we as pastors can work together to better demonstrate the unity we have in Jesus Christ to our community. Particularly I’d like to discuss plans for the National Day of Prayer on May 3. The Rev. Peter Miller of St. Mark’s United Methodist and I are serving on the United Way of Baytown and West Chambers County Long Term Recovery Team. 

We would like for clergy in Baytown to join with us in providing spiritual support our community needs as we continue to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Please contact your members about the service at St. Paul United Methodist on Jan. 25, and contact your pastors and let them know about the meetings on Feb. 1 in case they do not see this article. 

Let us do all we can to demonstrate our unity in Christ during and beyond this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

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