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Sharing the Christian faith across all denominations

To the editor:

Back in 1908. Fr. Paul Wattson – a Greymoor Friar in New York – started an ecumenical prayer movement that would eventually catch on, and not just with the hierarchy of the Catholic Christian Church.

The week of prayer for Christian unity, January 18 – 25, would eventually catch on with many other traditions within Christianity: especially during the 60s, when most mainline denominations were recognizing other denominations' baptisms.

Believe it or not, these mainline churches actually considered each other to be – hold onto your seat – "Christians". One doctrinal difference had often been all it took for denominations to fracture into smaller and smaller slivers of Christianity.

Whereas it used to be the tendency of nearly all Christians to pray that all may be one …within one’s particular denomination.

And whereas pastors tended to be more concerned about growing their congregations to pay the bills, and less about ecumenical collaboration and mutual respect.

Within the past 50 years, the vast majority of Christian denominations have been praying for the unity of all Christians, according to God’s will and according to the means that God wills.

Once dormant, te ecumenical spirit is again blossoming here in Dakota County.

Over the past few years, congregations’ pastors and still more congregations’ members have gathered at our local Thanksgiving Eve Service, with donations of food and money for our local food shelf. Two years ago, Rosemount United Methodist hosted the Service, and St. Joseph’s Church played host this past year.

For three years in a row, St. Joseph’s Church has hosted an ecumenical Blessing of the Animals on the first Saturday of October. Lutheran ministers and Catholic deacons and priests blessed quite a few "Cath-eran" pets and farm animals, as well as their owners.

Joining other civic organizations and businesses, Rosemount denominations of all stripes came together in “OneRosemount Feeding Families,” absolutely and positively impacting a great many lives locally and globally.

And Leprechaun Days wouldn’t be the celebration of community that it is if were not for all the local congregations getting involved.

This past weekend, the unity prayer penned by Methodist Pastor Rev. Karen Bruins (see below) was read by pastors at Rosemount United Methodist and at St. Joe’s / Rosemount & Apple Valley. And hopefully at other congregations as well. The unity prayer seeks to expand on the united efforts of the body of Christ already flourishing in our community.

Who knows! Perhaps in several years’ time we’ll not only have a bigger Thanksgiving Eve Service, we’ll have a powerful combined multi-congregation choir singing at several community functions. We’ll have even more combined prayer services and events. We’ll unite in Bible study and devotions and ministries. And we’ll not only call each other brothers and sisters in Christ…

… we’ll actually mean it.

Please join faith-filled folks in Rosemount, Lakeville, Eagan, Farmington, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Inver Grove Heights, Coates and other towns in praying daily this prayer for unity…as God wills and guides.

Fr. Paul Jarvis, St. Joseph Church