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