A REVEREND has urged everyone to attend prayers aimed at bringing women together after three leading Christian churches snubbed her faith.

The war of words broke out after the Church of England, Baptist and Methodist churches in Padiham rejected the invitation of the town's Unitarians for the Women's World Day of Prayer service.

Clergy said they had taken the decision because Unitarians did not believe in the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

But Rev Jean McNeile, Minister of Nazareth Unitarian Chapel, in Padiham, said the prayer, on March 7 in the chapel in Church Street, was open to everyone regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

In a letter she said: "I don't believe that Jesus would want us to divide and segregate, for he taught us to love God and love our neighbour and if we live our lives accepting his teachings we could never create barriers between ourselves.

"I urge you, dear reader to attend the Women's World Day of Prayer service on March 7 at 7pm here in Padiham.

"I write with sincerity when I say, all are welcome, regardless of gender, sexuality, religion and culture."

The Women's World Day of Prayer, which originated in the 19th century in the USA and Canada, will this year focuses on women in Guyana and the Unitarian chapel is hoping to follow a service in the country with circle dancing and Guyana style refreshments.

Rev McNeile said: "We as Unitarians do not necessarily agree with some of the theology in the Guyana order of service, but we feel that it is much more important to accept, to learn and to tolerate each others beliefs and to try to do some good in the world rather than condemning and judging.

"I find it very strange that no one seems to mind if we help Christian organisations, and that Christian charities willingly help non-Christians, yet when a venue is offered for all people to take part in this annual event in Padiham, apparently it is wrong."