Churches around the world observed a week of prayer from Jan. 18-25, holding special worship services and gatherings that emphasized what Christians hold in common.

This year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity centered on the scriptural theme, “We will all be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ,” from the book of Corinthians (15:51-58). Celebrated in some areas at Pentecost, the week is sponsored by the Catholic church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC).

Materials for celebration and reflection this year were prepared by churches in Poland, sharing their history of partition and victory over oppression, the WCC said in a news release.

In the Philippines, where people have been faced with governance crisis, churches took the lead towards national unity in setting aside their doctrinal differences. Together they marked the week by praying for change and peace.

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