Christian peace organisations from across the world have been joining together to pray for peace every week since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine.
People from Europe, Latin America, the USA and Palestine are among those who have been joining the weekly prayer for peace via Zoom - and since February 2022 they've shared over 3000 minutes of prayer. Friday 26 January, marked the 100th gathering.
The gathering, open to everyone, is organised by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Cymdeithus 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 is director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a Christian organisation which first came together in 1914. He’s been speaking to Premier:
“We keep alive a Christian understanding of peace, justice and non-violence. The week that conflict broke out, as with many networks, we realised we needed to pray.
"This was such a shock to our system and understanding, we gathered in prayer and we had over 100 people and a real urgency to pray. But there was an energy in that gathering that said, this shouldn't just be a one off. It's not like 'print-a-prayer' and that’s it, done.
Every week since then, Cooper says the group has met to pray for peace, at 7.30pm on a Friday, via Zoom.
"It's been important for us as a fellowship to connect with others, and provide support for each other. But it's also vital, particularly in big questions of war and peace, to connect with God - that greater presence around us who provides challenge and energy for all that we do.
"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."
You can register for the prayer meeting and download the booklet from www.for.org.uk/ukraine