By Ann Marie Foley - 04 March, 2015
Church communities throughout Ireland prepare to pray in solidarity with the Christian women of the Bahamas.
This Friday (6 March) an estimated 3 million people in over 170 countries will gather to mark World Day of Prayer using an order of service written by Christian women from the Bahamas which has been translated into over 1,000 different languages and dialects.
Women’s World Day of Prayer, or World Day of Prayer as it is now called, is an international, interchurch, organisation which highlights the voices of women, from a different part of the world each year, expressing their hopes and concerns and bringing them before the rest of the world in prayer.
This year’s theme is: “Do you know what I have done to you?”(John 13:1-17) and it challenges people to demonstrate the same radical, unconditional love for others that Jesus showed when he washed the feet of his disciples.
Church communities throughout Ireland and further afield are holding services on Friday.
In Mountrath, Co Laois, it is the turn of St Peter’s Church of Ireland to host the event and members from the nearby St Fintan’s Catholic Church (who held it last year) are expected to attend as well as people from the surrounding area.
“We use the two churches Catholic and Church of Ireland. We get the literature in October and then before March we get together and see what has to be done, how many readings and that kind of thing. We also look at the service on TV which is a few weeks before it to get some ideas. So this year it is in Church of Ireland,” Mabel Peavoy told CatholicIreland.net.
A reader and organist at St Peter’s, she has covered many countries in the world via the prayer services during the 30 or so years that she has been involved.
She helped the local primary school to prepare for their own service on Friday morning.
They have drawn maps and pictures of the flag of the Bahamas as well as beach scenes and drawings exotic flowers. They have also been preparing songs such as “Kumbaya My Lord” and “He’s got the whole world in his hands” which are among suggested songs this year.
“We sent out invitations to all the parishes and the clergy in the area, and they can come and invite their congregations. You have to spread the word as much as you can. At the service you pray for the people in the Bahamas and all over the world. They have the same problems (in the Bahamas) as we do here in Ireland,” said Mabel Peavoy.
There are usually around 30 or 40 people at the Mountrath service.
“We used to get more but we are trying to get the young people involved now. We have them helping with the service this year. The leaders of the GFS (Girls Friendly Society) are doing the readings,” she said.
The 2015 worship celebration reflects the Bahamas’ beautiful nature and colours.
The women of the Bahamas invite the world to “come and be washed in God’s ever-flowing ocean of grace: to bask in the iridescent light of Christ’s love, and to be embraced by [God’s] Holy Spirit with the cooling trade-winds of transformation.”
The Bahamians also offer the example of a teen mother who does not feel alone as she finds support to continue her education and to raise her child, and the story of a breast cancer survivor and people living with HIV and AIDS who find strength to live out their journey.
The service also reflects the need for responsible stewardship of God’s creation which is shared by all; whether it is those who step in the pink sand or swim in turquoise water of the archipelago, or those who enjoy whatever natural beauty has been gifted by God to other corners of the world.
The World Day of Prayer International Committee has its headquarters in New York. Its website is www.worlddayofprayer.net.