Perkins Dean to Deliver Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Sermon on Jan. 21, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – Perkins School of Theology Dean William B. Lawrence will be the guest preacher during a special worship service scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, at University Park United Methodist Church (4024 Caruth Blvd., Dallas, TX 75225) commemorating the 2016 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The “Ecumenical Celebration of the Word of God” is part of the annual eight-day observance (Jan. 18-25), sponsored by the World Council of Churches, that encompasses Christian congregations and parishes across the globe. The North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church is hosting the local service, which also will include liturgical leadership representing several Christian faith communions and music from the University Park UMC Chancel Choir. The service is open to all and will be followed by a time of fellowship and refreshment.

“Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord” is the theme for 2016, drawing on the biblical text from 1 Peter 2:9-10:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people. In order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity dates to 1908, which marked the first observance of the “Church Unity Octave” initiated by Rev. Paul Wattson. In 1968, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity jointly prepared the first official Week of Prayer materials used around the world.


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music (June 2016) as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.