Church leaders announce islandwide prayer day in Montserrat

SALEM, Montserrat - Christian leaders in Montserrat have announced an islandwide day of prayer next week, citing the Caribbean island's active volcano among a list of subjects to be addressed in prayer.

The Montserrat Christian Council said the National Day of Prayer will be held next Wednesday.

"We feel that the sort of things that are going on in Montserrat, not only the volcano, but our moral ills and financial problems, need a national prayer," the Rev. Florence Daley, a Methodist pastor and the council's president, said Wednesday.

The Soufriere Hills volcano stirred to life in the British territory in 1995, and has since buried much of the southern part of the island, including the capital of Plymouth, in ash and pyroclastic flows of superheated rocks.

On Oct. 7, the government ordered about 300 people to leave their homes on the flanks of the Belham Valley, northwest of the volcano. Those families now are settling into new homes and emergency shelters.

The National Day of Prayer was last held in the early 1990s, Daley said.

The council is encouraging all churches — both Protestant and Roman Catholic — to hold individual prayer meetings throughout the day.

"We need to come back together and seek God's faith to turn things around," she said.