At 7.30 pm on Friday, 26th January 2024, the 100th global peace prayer meeting will start on Zoom. The gathering, run by a group of Christian Peace organisations, started the first week of the war in Ukraine and has met every week since. Over 250 people receive updates, and 50 people attend each week, joining from around Europe, Latin America, the USA and Palestine. Close to 3000 minutes of prayer will have been shared. Guest speakers have covered many topics, and more people register to join each week. Recent surveys of those attending have shown that the impact of the gathering is found in the support participants find in their peacemaking and the power of the spiritual community to give them hope for peace.
The gathering is co-organised between the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Cymdeithas Y Cymod, the Methodist Peace Fellowship and the pan-European Church and Peace network. Guest speakers have spoken about Orthodox perspectives on peace, the environmental impact of conflict, stories from Palestine and the place of reconciliation in rebuilding broken states. At various moments, prayers of support and letters of solidarity have been offered for conscientious objectors.
John Cooper, Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, has found it a surprisingly important part of the network’s peace work.
“The regular gathering to pray for peace has formed a powerful heartbeat for our work. When war breaks out, we often lament the return of conflict; this space has kept our attention on places and spaces well after the news has moved on. The global growth of our gathering has shown a real passion for prayer as a tool for spiritual growth, personal lament and inter-continental fellowship.”
The core of the gathering has been the use of a liturgy written as part of a prayer booklet released to mark the start of the war in Ukraine. The material was drawn together from various people and places, and the booklet has been available online and distributed at the Greenbelt Festival and the Forum of Churches Together in England. People can register for the prayer meeting and download the booklet from www.for.org.uk/ukraine