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Report for PACT web site: Women’s World Day of Prayer 2010

Women's World Day of Prayer: 5 March 2010The women of Cameroon provided us with an exceptionally inspiring service this year, which was well supported by the churches of PACT.

About 80 women, and a few brave men, gathered at the United Reformed Church in College Street for a very special time of worship and praise, shared with people in 170 different countries world-wide.

The church was decorated with the green, red and yellow of the Cameroon flag, and a variety of African craft items, including a curious giraffe watching from the vestibule! [Not a real one, of course] Many thanks to those who let us borrow their treasures for the occasion.

The service called for twenty-two (!) readers so there was plenty of opportunity for different churches to be involved. At the beginning of the service the readers, most of them wearing something akin to African costume (some in the genuine article) processed into the church, shaking or tapping simple musical instruments to echo the beat of “We are marching in the light of God “. This colourful and joyous procession set the tone for the worship that followed.

The speaker was the Rev. Ann Hughes, who picked up the theme of the service : “Let everything that has breath praise God”. She reminded us that this should be at all times and in all places, good or bad, whatever our feelings. The women of Cameroon, despite having many more problems than we have, nevertheless find plenty for which they can give thanks. To quote from the service: “We praise the Almighty, if for nothing else, for the gift of life.” Their faith and their joyful exuberance ran right through the worship they had prepared for us. The congregation’s singing, ably led by our pianist, Julie Balchin, echoed that spirit.

The offering taken during the service raised over £300, much of it gift-aided. Nationally, after meeting the costs of organising the Day of Prayer itself, this is used to support a wide range of UK and international charities, including work in the country providing the service.

After the service most people gathered in the Church Family Centre for refreshments and the opportunity to see photographs of Cameroon, displayed on the screen there, or to spend some time (and money?) at the Fairtrade and Unity Bookshop stalls.

It was, altogether, a memorable occasion.

Photographs taken before, during and after the service

Thanks to all who helped with the preparations and those who took part in the service
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