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Church backs siren call to prayer

City plans daily reminders to prompt people to pray

A street of Baguio City A street of Baguio City
  • Maurice Malanes, Baguio City
  • Philippines
  • February 11, 2011
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Church leaders in the northern Philippine city of Baguio say they support a proposal by a local legislator to re-introduce a practice of sounding a siren each day to prompt residents to pray.

The Baguio-Benguet Ecumenical Group, which groups Catholic, Protestants, Evangelical and Pentecostal churches and fellowships, said the so-called “six o’clock habit” move will “strengthen Christian unity.”

Baguio City councillor Philian Louise Weygan-Allan said her proposal was already approved by the city council. She explained that once implemented sirens will sound at 6 p.m. around the city to remind residents, including those in the streets, to pause “even for just a minute” and pray in silence.

Until the 1980s, residents of Baguio City – known as the Philippine summer capital – prayed the Angelus at exactly 6 p.m. when the city’s siren sounded. The practice, however, stopped with the onslaught of modernity.

“The new measure will definitely help strengthen and reinforce our unity, which we have been building up since our participation in the global week of prayer for Christian unity in 1998,” said Reylita Calimlim, local leader of the Focolare Movement.

The global week of prayer for Christian unity was celebrated in the city last during the third week of January.

Rev. Felipe Ehican Jr. of the St Stephen Lutheran Church also welcomed the new measure. “This will certainly help develop our prayer habit, which should be part of our Christian practice,” he said.

Related reports
Prayer week unites Philippine Christian Churches
Christianity may become ‘irrelevant’

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