I will extol the Lord at all times;
The Psalmist sums up my praise and thanksgiving to the Lord at what has happened in my life.
On June 16, 2022, history was made as I became the first African Woman to be elected as the Chairperson for the World Day of Prayer International Committee after about 100 years of the existence of the movement. The WDP Africa Region went agog in their respective countries to celebrate this feat and it continues to this day.
I want to reflect a bit on the journey to this position which has not always been smooth, but has always been fulfilling. In 1994, I joined the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) as the Youth Programme Coordinator and I had the opportunity to work with the Youth Desks of both the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and World Council of Churches (WCC), thus introducing me into the ecumenical movement. I was so sure that I wanted to do this work, so I put in all my effort, even though there were so many hurdles. God held my hand at each stage to jump over the hurdles, leading to growth.
The World Day of Prayer Ghana Committee is hosted by the Women and Gender Programme of the CCG, so in 2001 when I became the Programme Coordinator of the unit, I was highly involved in the movement and became the Liaison Officer. I attended my first International Meeting in Swanick 2003, and I marveled at the commitment of women to prayer and prayerful actions all over the World. At the 2007 Toronto meeting, I was more convinced that I had a role to play in this movement but I still felt the time was not ripe yet. At the 2012 New York meeting, I was nominated to be a Regional Representative for Africa. I won the election, together with Henriette from Cameroon. At our first Executive Committee meeting in New York, I said that the time had come for Africa to tell the world that we are capable. And indeed, in the Brazil 2017 meeting, we showcased the achievements of Africa and our mandate was renewed to serve a second term through 2022.
I remember when I answered the call to present myself to serve the Movement as the Chairperson from 2022 – 2027. It was at an Executive Committee meeting in Ossining, New York, in 2018, and I felt a burden lifted off me. And today, the call is answered.
“What can I offer the movement?” is one question that I have asked myself in the last few days. I have prayed about it. I have so many things on my heart and mind but I will focus on 2 major priorities.
My first priority is to build a strong movement, with a focus on sustaining the World Day of Prayer into another hundred years. I will be very intentional with young women’s involvement at all levels, from the National to the Regional to the International. This can be done when young women identify with the WDP Guiding Principles, buy into them, and commit to them. We could have virtual sessions with young women, and provide the space and enabling environment for them to operate. Young women have so much to offer, and I will support them.
My second priority is to explore innovative ways of getting all national committees to contribute their widow’s mite to the movement. This will allow us to build a strong financial foundation for the movement as we strive to build on the work and ministry of our predecessors.
At this moment, I humbly request all members of this movement to support me, as together we can make a difference. I hear the assurance of God to me in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
Surely, if God chooses you, He will prepare the way for you. Just seek His face and listen to His direction.
- Joyce Larko Steiner, WDPIC Chairperson