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Preparing for the World Day of Prayer in East Anglia

The World Day of Prayer takes place at the start of March. Eilish Storey, from Ramsay, reports from a preparation day held recently in Cambridge.

The origins of World Day of Prayer (WDP) date back to the 19th century when Christian women in the USA and Canada initiated a variety of co-operative activities in support of women’s involvement in mission, at home and abroad. It is from such roots as these that WDP has taken its present shape – a worldwide ecumenical movement of Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action.

The annual service is prepared by Christian women from a different country each year and through it we learn of their particular concerns, joys, sorrows and hopes for the future.

World Day of Prayer is special on many counts, not just because the voice of women is central to the service, but also because it is a universal act of worship, uniting women, and men, of diverse Christian denominations across the globe.

I attended a 2020 preparation day in Cambridge on November 8. It was a chance to go through the service and look at interesting ways of presenting the resources. Here are a few points which came out of the meeting which may be of interest to parishes across the diocese:

  • Does your church have representative on the local WDP committee?
  • Are the 2020 service details correct on the WDP website?
  • What time is the service held at? Is this the best time? Would another time of day reach more people? A church in Milton has started holding the service at 6 p.m. so that people can go on their way home from work.
  • Could 2020 be an opportunity to reach out to members of all the Christian groups in our area, not just the churches where the services are usually held? In my area there are many Christians who go to other towns to worship. They may not hear about the local service unless it is advertised in public places e.g. library or local shops.
  • WDP can supply a shortened version of the service to be used when the longer version is not appropriate e.g. in a care home
  • WDP is a prayer movement that goes on 365 days of the year and supports local, women-led initiatives in many countries

World Day of Prayer is always on the first Friday in March, so why not put that date in your 2020 calendar now and take part in the service prepared by the Christian women of Zimbabwe on the theme: “Rise! Take Your Mat and Walk”. Details can be found at

Pictured above is a woman in Zimbabwe building her own home (Picture by WDP).