01 March 2002

President and Vice President join in prayer with Christian women across the world

The Methodist Church's President and Vice President will today attend special services to mark the Women's World Day of Prayer. They are using the occasion to make a particular appeal to all Christian women to take a lead in reconciling social and political divisions across the world.

This year is the first time that the two most senior positions in the Methodist Church in Britain have been held at the same time by women. The Rev Dr Christina Le Moignan, only the second women to have been President of the Methodist Conference, is attending a service in Birmingham where she is Methodist District Chair. Mrs Ann Leck, who as Vice President of the Methodist Conference is the most senior lay person in Methodism, will be at a service near her home in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

Christian women in more than 170 countries now take part in the annual Women's World Day of Prayer. Each year, an order of service is produced by representatives of churches from one particular country. The day of prayer is particularly well supported in Britain, where almost two-thirds of churchgoers are female.

The President and Vice President have made the following comments on the occasion of the Women's World Day of Prayer:

"The Christian women of Romania, who have prepared this year's service, could not have taken a more timely theme: 'Challenged to Reconcile'. In many countries those who pray today will know from bitter experience the misery that unreconciled divisions can cause. Since 11 September the whole world has seen the potential for destruction of such divisions.

"Women have traditionally been reconcilers, and Christianity has at its heart the gospel of reconciliation. We hope that this service will inspire Christian women to meet today's challenge of working for reconciliation in a hurt and divided world.

"Women across the world, as they join in the Women's World Day of Prayer, will be celebrating the diversity of the world's people, not seeing difference as fearful and threatening. We pray for that reconciliation which will make celebrating our many-coloured world a reality for everyone."

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