UCC congregations recognize 2014 World Day of Prayer with special services, activities
Written by Emily Schappacher
March 4, 2014

Sandy Fritts (right) and Malinda Roof, co-presidents of the Mount Tabor United Church of Christ's Women's Guild, are organizing their community's 2014 World Day of Prayer service to be held Friday, March 7. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch

Since the 1950s, Mount Tabor United Church of Christ in Lexington, N.C., has recognized the World Day of Prayer, held each year on the first Friday in March. The celebration has always been an ecumenical community event, with two other Lexington churches, Holly Grove Evangelical Lutheran Church and New Friendship UCC, alternating the hosting responsibilities. This year, it's Mount Tabor's turn to host, and the members of the church are looking forward to another year of prayer, fellowship, and support of those in need during the World Day of Prayer service Friday, March 7.

"It's a time that the three churches in the community all get together and enjoy one another," said Sandy Fritts, co-president of Mount Tabor UCC's Women's Guild, which organizes the event. "It is also a time to realize that there are other countries that have major problems and that there are children and women who need our help."

The World Day of Prayer is a movement carried out by women in more than 170 countries around the world who come together each year to observe a common day of prayer. The event brings women of various races, cultures and traditions closer together in fellowship, understanding and action, and affirms that prayer and action are one in the same and have immeasurable influences in the world. A different country hosts the World Day of Prayer each year, with Egypt hosting this year. Women from the host country write the program and provide a theme. This year's theme, "Streams in the Desert," reflects the importance of water in the lives of people in this part of the world.

The service at Mount Tabor UCC will include a skit about the biblical story of a Samaritan woman encountering Jesus at a well, a tie-in to this year's water theme. The church's associate pastor will deliver a sermon followed by a reception, and a special offering will collect donations to support programs for Egypt's underprivileged women and children. Fritts expects about 60 people from the three participating congregations to attend the service.

"While the World Day of Prayer service is open to everyone, it was started by women," Fritts said. "It's women helping women in other countries."

Other UCC congregations will also recognize this year's World Day of Prayer. Zion UCC in Union, Mo., will host an ecumenical service featuring special guest speakers who will discuss the issue of malnourished children in Africa. Presbyterian UCC in Le Mars, Iowa, will host a service Friday afternoon that will focus on a variety of justice issues in Egypt, while also looking at local concerns. A featured speaker from a Le Mars youth center will discuss how to help today's teens facing difficult issues such as pregnancy, suicide and other harmful behaviors.

For more information about the 2014 World Day or Prayer or to download materials to help plan a service, visit the World Day of Prayer USA website.

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Ms. Emily Schappacher
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