GARDEN GROVE — Christians who are suffering persecution throughout the world because of their faith will be the focus of the annual Diocese of Orange Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Unity, scheduled for March 3 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Arboretum on the campus of Christ Cathedral.
The service, which is open to all, is particularly intended to show support and solidarity with persecuted Christians across denominational lines.
Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Mar Awa Royel of the Assyrian Church of the East, Diocese of California, will offer reflections during the service, and Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Diocese of Los Angeles, is scheduled to speak at the end of the evening about the recent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya by Islamic State militants.
Five choirs from various Christian churches—Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox—will perform, and the evening will include a ceremony of lighted candles as a demonstration of unity and solidarity.
Bishop Vann “has emphasized the importance of working for Christian unity and building bridges with other faiths,” said Father Quan Tran, an associate with the diocesan Ecumenical Commission Office. “One reason he wanted to have this service during Lent instead of in January during the official Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is to show our brokenness, to show that we still need healing.”
Bishop Vann said that “we believe it is important that Christians of all denominations come together to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters, as we continue to work toward building Christian unity and fulfilling the prayer of Jesus ‘that they all may be one.’” (Jn 17:21)