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Diocese of Scranton Observing Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Diocese of Scranton will host an Ecumenical Celebration of God’s Word on Friday, January 24, 2014, at 12:10 p.m. in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton.
The Diocese of Scranton is participating in the worldwide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is celebrated each year from January 18 to 25.
This observance, first organized by Father Paul Watson, S.A., in 1908 at Graymoor in Garrison, New York, seeks to gather together diverse communities of the Christian faith to express the degree of communion which the churches have already received, and to pray together for the full visible unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ.
The Diocese of Scranton will host an Ecumenical Celebration of God’s Word on Friday, January 24, 2014, at 12:10 p.m. in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton. There will be no 12:10 p.m. Mass that day in the Cathedral.  All are welcome to attend.  In addition, CTV: Catholic Television will broadcast the service live.
The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, will preside, and the Reverend Canon Maria Tjeltveit, Rector of the Church of the Mediator, Allentown, and Canon for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, will deliver the homily.
Clergy and representatives from various Christian traditions and ecumenical agencies will be present. Liturgical music will be provided by students from All Saints Academy, Scranton.
Canon Tjeltveit grew up as a missionary child in northern Japan. She graduated from Swarthmore College, with a BA in philosophy, in 1981. She served as a Volunteer for Missions in the coal fields of West Virginia before attending Berkeley Divinity School/Yale Divinity School, receiving her MDiv in 1986.
Maria Tjeltveit was ordained a deacon that year and a priest in 1987, serving as an Assistant Rector at Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Charleston, West Virginia, from 1986-1988. She was the assistant to the Rector for Christian Social Ministries at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, in Alexandria, Virginia, from 1988-1994. During this time she was very involved in ministry with the homeless, including chairing the board of Carpenter’s Shelter; an interfaith ministry and the largest homeless shelter in Northern Virginia.
Canon Tjeltveit served as the Rector of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Harrington Park, New Jersey, from 1994-1998. During this time she served on the Board of Trustees of Berkeley Divinity School, and worked with the Interfaith Coalition for the Homeless. She moved to the Lehigh Valley in 1998 and became Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in 1999.
She is active in a number of ecumenical and interfaith groups locally, including Christian Communities Gathering of Northeastern PA, the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding, the Interfaith in Action Committee of the Lehigh County Conference of Churches, and the Full Communion Partners (Moravian, Evangelical Lutheran, and Episcopal Churches). On the national level, she served on the Moravian-Episcopal Theological Dialogue, which led to Full Communion between the Moravian and Episcopal Church in 2011, and is currently secretary for the Moravian-Episcopal Coordinating Committee.
She is married to Dr. Alan Tjeltveit, a professor of psychology at Muhlenberg College. They live in Allentown with their children, William (15) and Anna (13), and a puppy. Her interests include running, cooking, Hebrew and Hebrew Scripture.
During the week leading up to the ecumenical service, Bishop Bambera is hosting dinner meetings for members of the local Polish National Catholic, Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Latin Rite clergy.
The theme for the 2014 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Has Christ Been Divided?” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:13). It reflects the fact that we live in a world marked by diversity in language, culture, and even climate. We express our Christian faith in diverse ways. Celebrating this diversity, we are nonetheless faithful to Christ’s call for the unity of his Church.
This year the scriptural theme commends us to study the question posed by Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:13: “Has Christ been divided?” In faith we respond, “No!” Yet our church communities continue to harbor divisions. Saint Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians also guides us in ways by which we can value and receive the gifts of others even in the midst of division.
For more information and resources for the 2014 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, visit the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute at: www.geii.org.
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