Women’s World Day of Prayer 2017 will take place on Friday 3rd March.
The service has been prepared by the Christian women of The Philippines and is entitled Am I being unfair to you? It challenges us to think about justice and injustice, very topical for Methodists this year.
Orders of Service have been sent out, together with all the usual information leaflets. Once again, can I recommend the materials we have prepared for children and their leaders? As usual, they are excellent and deserve to be more widely used. Some people ask why we produce them, pointing out that most services are held during the day whilst children are at school. But Women’s World Day of Prayer is not simply about going to church on one special day of the year, and all the material we produce can be used at other times as well.
Orders of Service (which are also available in large print, in Braille and in Welsh) and the accompanying leaflets are available free of charge but I do hope that you will also consider buying a copy of Together in Prayer, the magazine we produce each year. For only £2.50, you get 56 pages of full colour with information about the Philippines, a prayer resource, news from grant recipients, photographs of services from all round the world, as well as two super posters. I know that, as Editor, I may be slightly prejudiced, but I can’t think of any other publication that offers such good value for money!
At the back of Together in Prayer, you will find a list of the Preparation Days. These are held throughout the country between the end of September and the beginning of February, and a member of the National Committee is present at each one. They are designed to introduce the materials to the people who will be arranging the 5,000 services that will be held throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 3rd March. Anyone is welcome to attend a Preparation Day – they aren’t just for Branch Secretaries – but there is normally a small charge and organisers do like to know in advance how many people will be coming. WWDP services are always very special and I promise you that, the better prepared you are, then the more you and everyone else present will get out of the service.
Have you considered the future? As I travel the country, I note that the average age of attendees at Preparation Days is high, even for those events held at weekends. If we wish WWDP to continue in this country, we need to start considering how we can attract younger women not only to attend the services but also to take part in the planning.
Earlier this year, the WWDP National Committee held a conference for younger women. It was clear that those who attended were keen to be involved in the movement but many found that this was not easy: the majority of services are held in the afternoon, which is the least convenient time of day for younger women, and even where there is an evening service, rehearsals are held during the day. Please consider how you might involve younger women in your area, not only as attendees but also as participants in the service.
As some of you know, I am now the Chairperson of the National Committee. So a new Methodist representative on the Committee is required. I can highly recommend this post – yes, it is hard work but I have found it both enjoyable and fulfilling. I look forward to welcoming my successor onto the Committee very soon.