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January 2020 – Christian Unity 2021

Reflection for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021 by Revd Dr Donald MacEwan

I work as a University Chaplain.  The Chaplaincy offers support to students and members of staff of any faith, culture, tradition or philosophy of life.  We offer ecumenical worship in two beautiful medieval chapels.  We sponsor the work of many faith societies, and interfaith events.

I offer my time, my prayer and such gifts as I have as a Christian.  In services of Compline, in book groups, at Graduation celebrations, and in the sadness of a memorial service following a student’s death, I offer Christian reflections and prayer.  Occasionally someone asks me what denomination the chapel is.  None at all, I say – it belongs to the University.  And you?  I’m a Church of Scotland minister, but that only really matters in weddings.

There are students who identify strongly with a particular denomination. But for many these particular distinctions, which may matter greatly to authorities, sit more loosely.  Instead, they delight in finding common ground and shared convictions with people from quite different traditions.  University life is a time of learning across disciplines; faith in University is often discovered across cultures.  And in so doing we learn that we need the other, to add to the faith of our own tradition.

The theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been chosen by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland: “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (drawn from John 15:1-17).  And so a prayer:

Eternal God,

who calls us by your Son to abide in the true vine,

help us to dwell in your love,

and so to bear much fruit,

loving one another as you have loved us,

discovering our faith

in the company of all who share in the vine,

by your Spirit.

Amen.

Revd Dr Donald MacEwan

Chaplain, University of St Andrews