Parishioners from English Martyrs, York, and students from All Saints School were joined in English Martyrs’ hall by friends from neighbouring churches St Chad’s, St Clement’s and Southlands to celebrate World Day of Prayer.

The service was written by the women of Zimbabwe and demonstrated the strength of their faith and their hope for the future, in spite of the tremendous difficulties they have faced for many years, and continue to face, in their everyday lives.

The themes of the service, love, peace and reconciliation, were represented by the colours red, white and yellow.

Candles of those colours stood on the table at the front, along with some musical instruments and other artefacts associated with Zimbabwe and were lit at the beginning of the service by three of the students. The girls wore scarves in the same colours and carried beautifully designed placards proclaiming the messages of love, peace and reconciliation.

The bible reading (John 5:2-9) and meditation on the story of the healing of the paralysed man who was told by Jesus to “Rise! Take up your mat and walk,” together with the prayers, urged us all to commit ourselves to rise and walk the road to peace and reconciliation.

The Hymn Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace was particularly appropriate for the occasion and our voices were accompanied by music provided by some of the students and we are so grateful that they were able to join us and help with the service.

Thanks, too, to school chaplain, Elaine Wright, who helped them with preparations and head of RE Kath Humphrey, who came with them to the service.

The 50 participants donated almost £200 to the charities supported by World Day of Prayer in the UK and internationally and all took home a bookmark plaited from sisal (a product of Zimbabwe) to remind them of the service and of the commitments they made to pray and work for peace and reconciliation throughout the world.

Judith Smeaton

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