How many of you remember the Women’s World Day of Prayer events held on the first Friday in March? Women’s World Day of Prayer is a global, ecumenical movement of informed prayer and prayerful action, organised and led by Christian women who call the faithful together on the first Friday in March each year to observe a common day of prayer and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service. This year’s service was held locally at the Salvation Army and was on the theme of ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me,’ written by women in France.

Obviously, a great deal of organisation and planning has to go into a service which is written by Christians from one country and then taken and adapted by Christians in the rest of the world. Each country has a national committee made up of women from every denomination and they meet regularly to pray and to plan. Next year’s service is on the theme ‘Streams in the Desert’, prepared by Christian women in Egypt and will be on 7th March 2014. But further ahead, services are being planned for 2015 and beyond.

Recently, Garry and I had the opportunity to take a break in Derbyshire, staying at the lovely Christian Guild hotel Willersley Castle. To my immense surprise, this was also the venue for one of the planning meetings of the National Committee of the Women’s World Day of Prayer! The committee were on their annual retreat, planning the service for 2015, written by ladies from the Bahamas! They were working on looking at every aspect of the service, including the songs, prayers, children’s activities (featuring sand beads, apparently!) and sermon outlines. It was a privilege to be able to eat with these ladies and discuss the finer details of their work and also to get a glimpse into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work which goes into that annual service.

With their permission, here are some photos of the National Committee, ladies from all denominations who work tirelessly to foster good relationships between churches and who are real prayer warriors. Please pray for them and for all involved with this day of prayer.

Val Mylechreest (Salvation Army), Christine Miles (English speaking churches in Wales), Angela Almond (Baptist)

Eileen Rhodes (United Reform Church), Nola McCormick (Congregational Federation), Joan Cheetham (Roman Catholic)