Next week will see churches across Shepparton and the rest of the world join for World Day of Prayer. Across 170 countries, the movement is celebrated by millions of Christian women each year, in the bid to join together in fellowship and pray for another country outside their own.
This year, the United Kingdom countries of England, Northern Ireland and Wales (excluding Scotland) will be hosting the service, with the rest of the world praying for each of the countries and the issues they face.
Lois Hardy is a member of the Shepparton Uniting Church and has been organising World Day of Prayer for the past 10 years.
Being a part of the movement for a long time, Mrs Hardy said she looked forward to the day every year, with it being such a strong time of fellowship for the women.
“It‘s rather beautiful when you think about it. The fact that all around the world, on one particular day of the year, people are gathering to pray for people of that particular country,” she said.
“We concentrate on stories of hope and people overcoming their disadvantages in general. Each year around the world, they take up an offering which goes towards the people in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.”
Nine churches around Shepparton are involved on the day, with each church taking turns to host the prayer service on alternating years.
Shepparton churches have been involved in the movement for at least 60 years.
“We gather together for the service and try to include a representative from each church to participate in the service, and each year we try to dress in the colours of the country’s flag. This year it’s red, white and blue,” Mrs Hardy said.
The day lives up to its name, with the morning beginning with prayers and hymns during the church service.
During the service, a guest speaker from the host country is invited to speak to the congregation about life in that country and growing up there.
This year the guest speaker is former News feature writer John Lewis, who was born in Wales.
World Day of Prayer is on Friday, March 4, from 10am until 11am at St Brendan’s Catholic Church, 121 Knight St, Shepparton.
For more information, visit the World Day of Prayer Australia website