With materials prepared by the World Day of Prayer Committee of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the special service, which was celebrated globally, was held in person in the Ecumenical Centre. There was the lighting of seven candles to reflect all regions of the world.
Focusing on freedom, forgiveness, justice and God’s peace, those gathered explored together how God’s promise can be a sign of hope for all people.
Women’s voices, resonating with women around the world who have had to flee from war and violence, told stories of what it means to feel excluded in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Lina’s voice spoke of how the church has become a wider family for her, her son and her four grandsons. “Through the love of the church, they have found a safe space, people who love them unconditionally,” she said.
Natalie told the story of escaping an abusive man. “My life is filled with more joy and beauty than I have ever thought possible and I am free from the man who abused me so terribly,” she said. “No longer do I fear: God has good plans for me.”
In a third story, Emily shares her struggles with losing her hearing. “But I know that, whatever I go through, God whispers his peace and love into my heart,” she said. “And I do not need to be able to hear to know his whisper."
After each story, a candle was lit as a symbol of hope.
The World Day of Prayer, a global ecumenical movement, originated in 1927 among churches women’s mission organizations in North America.