‘Poignant and timely’: reflections on the World Day of Prayer 2024

On Friday 1 March, ecumenical services were held across the country for the World Day of Prayer 2024. The worship resources were prepared by women in Palestine.

The World Day of Prayer team for England, Wales and Northern Ireland has collected together some of its favourite reflections of the day…

On Friday 1 March 2024, women, and some men, from different denominations, gathered in their local churches for WDP services, joining the amazing global wave of prayer. Using the materials prepared by the Christian women of Palestine, from different traditions, we prayed, worshipped and shared inspiring stories. The theme this year was ‘I beg you, bear with one another in love.’ The key passage was Ephesians 4: 1-7.

The congregations included a rich mix of Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Salvationists and Moravians. Just a few days after the services we have a few initial stories to share, to inspire you and encourage you to continue to pray for Palestine.

In Kings Langley, near Watford, 18 ladies met at All Saints Parish Church (pictured above). Representatives from the village’s Anglican, Baptist and Methodist Churches gathered in person, with one 93-year-old lady following the service at home using the service booklets and even singing the hymns! At the front of the church, the display included olive bread, narcissi, tulips, grapes, almonds and citrus fruit, all found in Palestine.

Amanda Allchorn (Christ Church Baptist, Kings Langley) said: “This year the service was especially poignant, as we remembered the women of Palestine. Especially, not knowing if those who wrote the service are safe.

“As we prayed, shared the stories of Eleanor, Lina and Sara and worshipped, we had a profound sense of God’s presence. Especially after a morning of downpours, the spring sunshine shone through the windows into the ancient church, offering a real sense of fresh hope.”

World Day of Prayer 2024 service at St Ann's Roman Catholic Church, Cheadle Hulme
World Day of Prayer 2024 service at St Ann’s Roman Catholic Church, Cheadle Hulme

In the north west of England, 40 joined together for the Churches Together in Cheadle Hulme WDP Service, at St Ann’s Roman Catholic Church. They included members from the local Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, URC churches. This annual service has been held for more than 40 years, rotating around the churches.

Beth Whitehead (St Ann’s WDP Coordinator) said: “The service was deeply important. If only everybody did their bit for peace and to bear with one another in love.”

In Brighouse, Calderdale and Horton, women were hosted by the Salvation Army and Moravian fellowship.

Maureen Colbert WDP Northern Region Fieldworker said: “A meal of Palestinian treats was shared at the Moravian service. This included olives, hummus, pitta bread, dates and almonds. The Minister’s 3-year-old son happily munched his way through and then fell asleep!”

World Day of Prayer 2024, Yarm
World Day of Prayer 2024, Shefford

Dawn Abbat from Shefford (Bedfordshire) reported that the ecumenical service took place at St Francis Church, with a congregation made up of Catholics, Baptists and Methodists.

Dawn said: “The local Middle School Choir led us in singing in both Arabic and English, using songs from the order of service. During the Peace, we exchanged tokens with a symbol of olive leaves with our names on. The service was reflective, poignant and timely, with those attending valuing the opportunity to come together and pray with and for the women of Palestine.”

In Yarm (North Yorkshire), Margaret Clark shares: ‘’Here at St Mary Magdalen C of E we met with Catholics and Methodists. We re-lit the Ecumenical flame, praying for Palestinians. This was followed by sharing olives, Palestinian Fairtrade oil, bread, figs, citrus fruits and burbura! Cacti and jasmine adorned the table. 50 to 60 of us met together, including Lady Barbara Hungin (JP), who made Palestinian porridge especially. Over the next few months, we will continue to remember Palestine and the women who created the WDP Service in our prayers”.

World Day of Prayer team for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is a Charity and Network in Association with CTE.