Articles from the NJ Herald on Christian Unity

Sparta Ecumenical Council celebrates prayer for Christian unity
SPARTA — The Sparta Ecumenical Council and local clergy started off this year's Prayer for Christian Unity Week on Jan. 18 at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Church. Attendees shared Scripture readings, sang spiritual music, and heard an inspirational Homily by the Rev. Randy Parks that challenged everyone to work together to build relationships and unity. The offetory collection during the service went to aid the SEC & Friends First Presbyterian Church of Sparta Food Pantry and the Samaritan Inn in helping to meet the needs of the poor in the area. Clergy that participated in the service include Rev. Gregory Golba, associate at Our Lady of the Lake; Rev. Diane Koob, pastor of Sparta United Methodist and chairperson of the SEC; Rev. Carol Gadsden, pastor at St. Mary's Episcopal; Rev. David McDonnell, pastor of Our Lady of the Lake; Deacon David Montelione, Our Lady of the Lake; Rev. Randy Parks, chaplain, Newton Medical Center; and Rev. Patrick Rice, pastor at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.

Sparta council to hold prayer celebration
SPARTA — The Sparta Ecumenical Council and Friends will hold The Prayer for Christian Unity Celebration at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Roman Catholic Church, 427 Stanhope Road.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been celebrated every year since 1908. This year the tradition continues from Jan. 18-25. The theme is "What does God require of us?" and is taken from the prophet Micah (Mc 6:6-8). Everyone is invited to join in. There will be prayer, messages of inspiration and music.

This year's offertory collection will be shared with the Sparta Ecumenical Council and Friends Food Pantry, housed at The First Presbyterian Church and The Samaritan Inn. Funds collected will aid in continuing efforts to provide food, housing and assistance for people in need in neighboring communities.
For more information about the Week of Prayer, contact the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GE II), Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. See their website at

The Sparta Ecumenical Council and Friends' members include: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Churches, First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, The Institute For Spiritual Development in Sparta, Newton Hospital Center - Pastoral Care, Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church and the Sparta United Methodist Church.

The council is involved in providing many services to the community including The Sparta Ecumenical Council and Friends Food Pantry, housed at The First Presbyterian Church in Sparta, that serves all of Sussex County. The council also is involved in supporting CROP Walk and the thrift shop at Sparta United Methodist Church, and blood drives and a migrant ministry at Saint Kateri Church.
For more local information, consult your church bulletins or call the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Church at 973-729-1682, email or visit

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