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Unusual Kindness: A Week of Prayer Reflection from the General Secretary


This year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites us to read and remember the story of Paul’s shipwreck on the Mediterranean island of Malta, and how he and his shipmates were greeted with unusual kindness.

At the beginning of this new year, 2020, we are seeing ample opportunities to show unusual kindness:

  • To the families around the world – especially in Iran, the Ukraine and Canada – of those who perished on flight PS 752,
  • To the people of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries who are suffering from armed and violent conflict,
  • In the many communities and states – including Canada – who have asked their soldiers to serve in the Middle East and so are parties to the armed conflict,
  • To the families saving themselves from extraordinary climate change and the wildfires in Australia,
  • To the migrants forced to leave their homes and crossing many kinds of borders to find safety,
  • And many other instances of people who are shipwrecked in one way or another in their families and communities.

"Forgive us, Lord, for past mistakes, mistrust and misdeeds between Christians from different Churches and traditions."

Like the people of Malta who received the Apostle Paul and his shipwrecked co-travellers, may we too respond with unusual kindness.

May acts of kindness interrupt retaliation and violence and instead restore humanity and community.

May we remember that war causes massive human suffering and does not bring peace.

May we remind ourselves that acts of revenge spark an endless cycle that will leave the whole world blind.

May the Christmas message from the angels ‘Be not afraid’ not be dimmed. Peace is not the absence of war—peace is the absence of fear.”

Peter Noteboom




Peter Noteboom

General Secretary,

The Canadian Council of Churches

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