About a dozen religious leaders gathered with Cardinal Francis George on the steps of St. Hedwig Catholic Church on Sunday evening to pose for a picture that could symbolize the goal they had come to promote: Christian unity.

The clergy and about 150 congregants came to the Polish parish for Chicago’s 12th annual ecumenical prayer service for Christian unity. It was organized by Ecumenism Metro Chicago, a coalition of Christian communities, in an effort to deepen relationships among members of varying Christian traditions.

“Jesus said if we are not one, the world will not believe,” said George, who has previously talked about the need for the Roman Catholic Church to work with other denominations. “We have an obligation to be a united witness.”

The challenges to unity among Christian faith traditions are their differing perspectives on religious doctrine and discipleship, George said. Questions of sexual morality and social justice also continue to divide Christians, he said.

Sunday’s service was a continuation of the worldwide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity that usually takes place in January.

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