World Day of Prayer, first organized by Canadian and American women in 1922, is now observed in more than 170 countries.
Each year worship focuses on a specific theme and country. This year, a one-hour ecumenical service held at The Salvation Army Church in Tillsonburg, focused on Streams in the Desert, written by the women of Egypt.
"The key piece was understanding the Egyptian church and how its flourishing, although most of it is underground," said Salvation Army Pastor Starr Ferris, who helped coordinate the local World Day of Prayer service. "And that water is a key for them in their everyday lives as well as in their spiritual lives – it's the two of them together."
An estimated 138 people attended Friday's service in Tillsonburg, including members of the Tillsonburg Senior Centre Singers, with a broad base of representation.
"This is all the churches in Tillsonburg," said Ferris.
But it's more than just Tillsonburg, said Ferris, noting the international nature of the service which is observed in nearly 2,000 Canadian communities, and around the world.
"This service, today, is global. It's always the first Friday of March, and it's just so neat that there are no walls here. This is all the churches together. We worship in our own ways... but this pulls us together to pray for others. The ladies who spoke today came from all the different churches – and it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter one little bit what church they belong to.
"The Senior Singers, they add a lovely music part to it."
Ferris, who is Pastor at the Salvation Army Church with her husband Ron, was assisted Friday by Salvation Army's Donna Acre, Family Services.
"Next year, I think it's at St. John's Anglican Church," said Ferris.
The 2015 service will be written by women from The Bahamas on the theme, "Jesus Said to Them: Do You Know What I Have Done To You?"
Offerings received Friday in Canada are forwarded to the national office of the Women's Inter-Church Council of Canada, with a portion of the funds supporting international organizations and ongoing WICC work. Through its committees, the Council focuses on anti-racism, poverty and ending violence against women.