Picture of World Day of Prayer participants (from left to right): Helen, Restoration House, Liz, Life Church Petersfield, Wendy, St Laurence’s, Val, URC, Janet, Petersfield Methodist Church and Ellie, All Saints, Steep.
Other helpers not pictured: Kate, St Peter’s, Amanda, All Saints and Sylvia, St Mary Magdalen.
The World Day of Prayer formerly known as Women’s World Day of Prayer was organised collectively for the first time by women of PACT (Petersfield Area Churches Together) and held at St Laurence Catholic Church in Station Road on Friday 4th March. In the past women from the Petersfield churches organised and hosted the annual service in rotation, but this is proving more difficult as time goes on and the coronavirus epidemic has made many people more cautious about being out in the community. One of the most important and distinctive characteristics of World Day of Prayer is that it is women-led. In some countries, WDP still offers the only opportunity for women to express their concerns and to ask for prayer for the issues that are most relevant to them and to their families.
This year’s service was written by women from England, Wales and Northern Ireland who took inspiration from the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope”. This ‘hope’ was depicted through the lighting of candles, the distribution of seeds and the exchange of messages worldwide via social media using hashtag #wdphope. ‘Seeds of the sunflower, which coincidentally is Ukraine’s national flower, were given to everyone who attended to represent the hope we find in God and his plans for us,’ explained Helen Mason who lead the service. The table in front of the altar (pictured) was prepared with blue, green, brown and grey cloths which represented the water that surrounds our islands, the green of the land, brown and grey for our towns and cities. Seven lit candles represented the continents of the World Day of Prayer ‘family’ which includes over 170 countries.
In the light of the situation of Russia and Ukraine, the World Day of Prayer International Committee invited organisers to say an additional prayer of intercession:
God of the past, the present and the future,
Our thoughts and prayers are with our sisters and brothers in Ukraine and the surrounding countries in their fear and distress.
We pray too for all other regions of the world where there is conflict, unrest, or oppression.
We pray that reconciliation will overcome hatred, peace will conquer war, hope will replace despair, and that your plans for the world and us its people will be fulfilled.
God in your mercy, hear our prayer.
After the service refreshments were served in St Laurence’s Church Hall.
World Day of Prayer: www.wwdp.org.uk