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Women unite in prayer

By FATHER BOB BATES

Today (Friday), women across the world will lead their people in worship on Women’s World Day of Prayer, and here in the Algarve is no exception, with two services available and open to all who wish to attend, whatever age or gender.

Women’s World Day of Prayer originated in Canada and the USA about 150 years ago and was instigated by the wives of missionaries, who decided that the work of their evangelising men-folk was not work for the man only and that women could just as easily spread the Christian message.

Here in the Algarve there are two services today. We at St Vincent’s are hosting the first at St Luke’s Church at Gorjões a few kilometres north of Santa Bárbara de Nexe.

Coffee will be served from 10.30am and the service will start at 11am, with directions available on our website www.stvincentsalgarve.org.

Meanwhile, tonight at the tennis club at Carvoeiro, a similar service will be offered, hosted by a group of Christian women from various local churches, under the leadership of Vivienne Kent, starting  at 6pm, and is followed by a bring and share finger buffet. For more details, please call 914 429 123.

While I am sure that each service will be different, each will use the same basic liturgy or framework. Each year this is offered by a different country, and this year it has been prepared by the Women of Chile.

Called “How many Loaves have you”, it relates to the fact that bread is eaten at almost every meal in that country and is very much a part of everyday life.

I hope that you will want to be a part of one (or indeed both) of the local services. If you are, you will be part of a worldwide day of worship with a wave of prayer sweeping from Tonga, where the first service of the day is traditionally held to the final service some 35 hours later at neighbouring Western Samoa. 170 countries will be taking part and, in the UK alone, there will be 5,000 such services.

Although led by women, these services, including ours, essentially make up a day of prayer for everyone and together make up a vibrant demonstration of solidarity with our friends in other countries. So whether you are male or female, old or young, I commend our services to you! Please come if you can.