As we look forward to the World Day of Prayer service on Friday 4th March 2022, we feel excited and blessed at the prospect of sharing our service with the world. The WDP 2022 service has been written by the women of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and many denominations were represented in the writing groups.
The theme of the service is “I know the Plans I have for You” and two significant parts of this service involve the lighting of seven candles, to celebrate hope, and the distribution of seeds, as a sign of hope. With all that the world has been through recently it is an appropriate theme, with promise, and is an invitation to place our trust in God at all times.
The past two years have been challenging and rewarding affecting the way the National Committee and local branches in England, Wales and Northern Ireland usually work. We prayed for perseverance and strength to survive the difficulties, learning all sorts of new skills quickly that enabled us to keep connected. Our world is experiencing a traumatic pandemic. However, the majority of people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have now had two vaccinations and a booster.
Although we are separated physically, we are united spiritually. Our candles and seeds in our service represent hope and this is the best message we can give to our sisters throughout the world. Our God is real and intercedes in the world and in all situations. Come and celebrate with us, your sisters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Friday 4th March 2022.
Chair WDP England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Denied the opportunities of highly paid employment, women have historically involved themselves in pastoral work with women, children and others: their cares and concerns have always embraced other women struggling with injustice and poverty in different parts of the world. Denied a place in formal church ministry, women have proved they are able to deal with the challenges of ecumenism: they have reached out to each other beyond denominations without putting their own churches or positions first. In 1932, the first Women’s World Day of Prayer Services were held in England. Scotland started services four years earlier.
Our World Day of Prayer National Committee in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has, over the years, devised ways of preparing and presenting the service material for our own nations, distributing this, and ensuring the representation of as many denominations as possible, from Catholics, who joined us in 1969, to free and Pentecostal churches. Quakers, the Salvation Army, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Moravians, Lutherans and Congregationalists have long been represented. Interestingly, the number of different denominations rarely produces major differences in views.
More often than not, National Committee members are first and foremost, simply Christian women on the National Committee! Beyond the National Committee is a huge network of branches throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We encourage these local organisations to meet at intervals during the year to follow up the themes of our services and to maintain the links between the different churches. We also meet area representatives in July as we run through the service, which they in turn will roll out in a series of Preparation Days in the autumn.
To learn more about WDP England Wales and Northern Ireland in preparations for this year celebration visit their website.
Vice-chairperson WDP England, Wales and Northern Ireland
On November 19th 2021, WDPIC, in collaboration with the World Day of Prayer England, Wales and Northern Ireland Committee, hosted a Global Conversation based on the WDP 2022 program and theme, "I Know the Plans I Have For You" (Jeremiah 29:1-14). It was a great opportunity for the writing committee to introduce themselves and their experience developing the program for 2022.
The preparation of the service and related materials began in November 2018. The writing process was long, slow, and quite structured. The program has been thought, talked, and prayed over by about 50 women over a period of more than two years.
The overarching theme of the service is HOPE - very appropriate for this time when the world is coming to terms with the ongoing risks of a pandemic and the looming climate crisis. HOPE is depicted through the lighting of candles, the distribution of seeds and the exchange of message worldwide via social media using #WDPhope. The service also offers us all an opportunity to appreciate more clearly the enormity of God.
All this work will come to fruition on Friday, March 4th 2022 when we gather for prayers and actions around the world.
Watch this conversation below!