Noonday Prayer (NDP) during a pandemic


By Ethel Wright, Companion, Atlanta Chapter


“To bind together by thanksgiving, common intercession, and a simple rule those who desire to follow more closely in the steps of our Lord’s most holy life.” - SCHC Manual

In early April 2020, my sister Companion from Sewanee Chapter Carol Putnam and I spoke sadly of the pandemic. We were worried. We needed the Companions’ prayer life together more than ever. Our chapters needed to meet as usual, but we knew we could not do that anytime soon.


A Women’s Prayer Group Must Pray

Carol and I reminisced about Noonday Prayer, held every day at Adelynrood, the Companions retreat and conference center near Newburyport, Massachusetts.  It’s a place Companions have gathered for more than 100 years to be refreshed and supportive of each other’s individual spiritual growth. This year we would not be able to pray there.

Carol and Sewanee Companion Jennifer Paden first thought of trying to bring Noonday Prayer to Companions by way of the internet. Zoom meetings were popping up everywhere. Why not?


Companions Embraced Virtual Noonday Prayer

We contacted other Southeastern chapters. Within weeks chapters all over the country took a day of the week to lead prayers. Folks in other time zones came at 11 a.m., 10 a.m. or 9 a.m. We often met with Companions and Discerners (women considering joining) whom we might not have known otherwise. We reconnected with Companions we had met at previous conferences.

Ten months later a community has formed that meets five days a week for 30 minutes to pray prayers from varying sources. Each service is unique, created by Companions, remembering the saint of the day, poets such as Mary Oliver and Companions who have died. We hear the Companion Prayer sung, as it was recorded in our beautiful Chapel one summer day when we were together.


A Close Community

Most importantly, Companions from all over the United States have connected with Companions and Discerners who previously were only names in prayer requests. We celebrate life events. We are present to those living alone. We join the Companions for our individual reasons knowing it is a place of love, kindness and total acceptance.

We pray the intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings from the prayer chain. We check in on others who have been sick or are celebrating a life event. We invite friends who are not Companions to join our worship.

Intense relationships have developed through Zoom between participants who knew each other only a little from other Companion gatherings.


Companions Began Around a Homebound Young Woman

During these pandemic times, some of us living alone see others only at NDP. It reminds me of Adelyn Howard when our founder, Emily Morgan, visited her bedside, bringing hilarity and concern for the world.  Emily founded the Companions in 1884 to support Adelyn. Then and now we have journeyed together through good and challenging times, creating new and deeper spiritual connections.


Thankful for Zoom and Companions’ Support

We are thankful for the gift of Zoom and the team effort supporting NDP. Special thanks to all the chapters and individual Companions such as Carol, Betty, Rita and Alex for sharing their time, talents and treasures to create this time together filled with grace, love and prayer.

For now our women’s faith group cannot meet in our beloved chapel or at in-person chapter meetings, but we have gained new skills on Zoom and can visit in each other’s “homes.”


If This Sounds Like Something You Would Enjoy

If you want to learn more, please click on “contact” in the top menu of our website. Mention your interest in joining online Noonday Prayer. A Companion will get in touch with information about how to attend. Tell us where you live and a Companion from a chapter near you will contact you. You can talk with her about Companions and what the local chapter is doing.