The traditional date for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is January 18-25. The week has been celebrated continuously since 1894, but was a dream of many Christian leaders since the early years of the 19th century.
This year the Churches of the Caribbean were chosen to draft the material for this year's study and worship resources. The contemporary Caribbean is deeply marked by the dehumanizing project of colonial exploitation. Very regrettably, during five hundred years of colonialism and enslavement, Christian missionary activity in the region, with the exception of a few outstanding examples, was closely tied to this dehumanizing system and in many ways rationalized it and reinforced it. Whereas those who brought the Bible to this region used the scriptures to justify their subjugation of a people in bondage, in the hands of the enslaved, it became an inspiration, an assurance that God was on their side, and that God would lead them into freedom. (source: World Council of Churches)
We at Aylmer United Church have ties with the people of the Caribbean nation of Haiti. For several years, since the massive earthquake in 2010, through our partners we have sent bed mats and children's clothing as assistance to some of the poorest people in Haiti.
Haiti and Haitian people have been in the news again recently. During this past year asylum seekers from the US streamed across the Quebec border, fearing the rhetoric there. Just this week Haitians have been added to the list of "unacceptable immigrants" to the US.
During Epiphany we talk about the light of Christ shining in the darkest corners of the world. This news is a "dark corner" that the light of Christ exposes and brings to our attention. Our task as Christians - as ones who profess to follow that light - is to take the next steps to work for justice and unity. May it be so.