On June 5th, 2017 millions of people around the world will answer the universal call to ‘connect with nature.’ There will be thousands of events dedicated to positive environmental actions and now more than ever we must take action to protect our earth. A commitment to keep the earth clean depends on public policies implemented by governments, but also on our personal lifestyle. This year’s theme, provided by the United Nations for the World Environmental Day, “Connecting People to Nature,” encourages people to get outdoors and enjoy what our beautiful world has to offer.
It is a perfect time to be reminded of the theme of the 2018 World Day of Prayer service - “All God’s Creation is Very Good!” The earth is God’s greatest creation, our home, and it is in danger. Pollution, climate-change, and exploitation of our lands are all detrimental. The women of Suriname lift up their voices to remind us that we are caretakers of God’s creation. We must realize that we depend on this earth and we must revitalize our relationship.
The women of Suriname believe that the Christian faith community can make a great contribution to the preservation of a livable, healthy, and safe environment. The future of the earth to next generations matters. They see this as one of the key elements of the Christian faith. They are reminded of the relationship between God and creation, God and humanity. It is about having respect for every living thing.
We encourage you to join in this important and incredible celebration!
Dear WDP sisters,
Every year we look forward to hearing the good news from Easter morning:
Christ has risen, he has really risen, Hallelujah!
After the weeks of Lent and following the passion of Jesus, from his acclaimed marching in Jerusalem to the last supper with his friends, the betrayal and handing-over to his crucifixion, we are longing to hear the good news.
In this Easter season I’d like to send you my heartfelt greetings. Watching and listening to the news all around the world, there are so many concerns that require our prayer. In so many places, people are living in fear and under injustice. Terror, war, and hunger are forcing people to leave their homes and go on a dangerous journey. With Christian love I pray for the people in Syria, in Egypt, in Iraq and Iran, in Palestine and Israel, in Yemen and Lebanon, in the Ukraine and in Russia, in Nigeria and in India, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Bangladesh, Venezuela and Brazil, Chile and Mexico, in South and North Korea, in Lybia and Sudan, in the Philippines and Suriname... I pray for all who are suffering.
Jesus knows the suffering of the people in need and in fear. He went through the darkest valley of life to sympathize with those who are at the margins.
“Am I being unfair to you?” He set us an example to follow his footsteps, to live with and for our sisters and brothers in our time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Christ has risen, he has really risen, Hallelujah!
May this wonderful news, first spread by women, fill the hearts of the suffering and fill our hearts with hope, comfort, and joy!
I wish you and your families a happy Easter season, may the Easter blessing encourage you and strengthen your faith.
Dear WDP sisters and friends,
“Am I Being Unfair to You?”
Prepared by the WDP of the Philippines for the celebration in 2017
Mabuhay! Come to the circle and tell your story!
Jesus told stories to teach about the Kingdom of God. We tell stories to make ourselves aware of God’s presence today in the world. The worship service tells the stories of Filipino women seeking for justice. This week, on our common day of prayer, from our own context we will tell the same story, reflect on the same question, and be assured of God’s generosity for all.
World Day of Prayer motto - ‘Informed prayer and prayerful action’ – is at its climax. You have dedicated time to learn about the Philippines, to connect with Filipino people in your own country, to listen to their claims and to ecumenically lift up their concerns and joys to God.
Since we started preparations for this celebration, important changes have happened to the country’s political and social context. To mention just two for its overall impact, let’s highlight the termination of the Peace Talks between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the war on drugs. The Peace Talks had the promise to reach agreements about human rights and humanitarian law, ceasefire, social and economic reforms that would alter the context of poverty, violence, and unemployment. The War on Drugs has claimed more than 7,000 lives since last July, and also the arrest of opposition voices to the government’s policy.
As our WDP sisters in the Philippines are telling us -- ‘we need the world’s prayer now’. Once again, the WDP program is timely and we trust that the Holy Spirit will carry on our prayers to fill the hearts of the afflicted. With them, we will be sent off affirming that the God of Justice calls us to plant the seeds of hope, to become fruits of liberation and love. As one voice we will offer our hands to plant, nurture, and harvest those seeds.
We want to thank all who are celebrating the World Day of Prayer. May we be sent forth with the fruits of our communal harvest by God’s sole generosity!
- Rosângela Oliveira, Executive Director & Corinna Harbig, Chairperson
Click 'Read More' for the spanish version:
In Ireland, the convocation for the World Day of Prayer starts with a worship service broadcast at the national TV.
You are welcome to attend the service! Tune the TV, radio or click on the RTE website link below on Sunday February 5th, at 11am (GMT) in Ireland or 6 am in New York (UTC/GMT -5h). The service will be available at the RTE website archive for two more weeks.
Special to the service, was the participation of Voucher Christiana, a choir composed by Filipino residents in Ireland! Join us!
On Sunday February 5th, at 11am (GMT) in Ireland or 6 am in New York (UTC/GMT -5h), click here RTE.ie/player
Although the first Friday of March is just one day of the year, behind that are months of ecumenical conversations, thinking, planning, learning, sharing, friendship, prayer and then action!
The preparations for the World Day of Prayer are happening in your community right now! Here are just a few stories:
“We are busy organizing activities with local communities around the country. We are planning WDP activities in Metro Manila, Rombon, Baguio, Iloilo, Mindoro, Mindanao - Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Davao and Kidapawah.
The various activities encompass a dance showcase by Indigenous peoples, a gathering of evangelicals and Roman Catholic women, welcoming women from WDP Germany, and finalizing a poster with the Bible Society.
I wish I could gather all of the groups we are working with together for mutual encouragement and inspiration.”
- Prima Formilezza, WDP-P Chairperson
"En Costa Rica, sigue la preparación para el programa dedicado a las Filipinas. La próxima etapa, será el taller en Guatemala. Y así se va profundizando la experiencia colectiva y ecuménica de animar las comunidades a la oración y acción.
"In Costa Rica, the preparation for the program dedicated to the Philippines is underway. The next stage will be a workshop in Guatemala. This is going to deepen the collective and ecumenical experience of encouraging communities to prayer and action."
- Rebeca Cascante, regional representative of WDPIC for Latin America
In Planina, Slovenia, the preparatory workshop for the Philippines celebration was held in early January. All together there were women from Austria, Germany, Bolivia, France, Croatia, and Slovenia. Later in January, the WDPIC chairperson will be in Albania for another workshop.
Here is a link to a video interview of the workshop leaders and participants. Skip ahead to minute 26:20 to begin the interview portion: http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/obzorja-duha/174449034
ENGLAND, WALES AND NORTHERN IRELAND
Since September, leaders of WWDP in the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland have been busy with the Preparation Days. There are workshops and services all over the country. Our WDPIC Executive Director has been able to attend some of the workshops in London, UK.
Click here for information: http://www.wwdp.org.uk/preparation-days/
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See your king comes to you, righteous and victorious.” (Zechariah 9:9)
Dear World Day of Prayer sisters and friends,
The prophecy of Zechariah has been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. During the advent season we are reminded of Zechariah’s words, and we prepare our hearts for the return of the king as a little baby in a crib. We believe and hope that this prophecy will take place in our life for a better, just, and peaceful world.
On March 4th 2016, our WDP Cuba sisters invited us to celebrate Jesus’ words as “Receive children – Receive me.” The deepest sense of Christianity - to follow on the footsteps of Jesus - means to live in solidarity with those who are the most vulnerable in our societies.
Right from the beginning of his life -- born in a stable, homeless, forced to flee with his parents to Egypt, Jesus was with the vulnerable as he himself became vulnerable. Through his own vulnerability, Jesus was able to have compassion for all the lost and marginalized. Thereby teaching us about the humanity God has created us for.
As we look forward to our 2017 program, prepared by WDP Philippines, we are invited to celebrate and meditate on Jesus’ words through the theme - “Am I being unfair to you?” We will learn about justice and love in the image of God.
I am very grateful for this WDP movement that gives us, especially women and girls, an ecumenical space to listen to each other, to learn from and to pray with one another so that we can move together to informed prayer and prayerful action.
At the end of this year I’d like to express our heartfelt thanks to our staff, WDP Committees, ecumenical partners and church women’s organizations who have shared the year with us.
We also extend our special thanks to all of you who work as volunteers at the grassroots level promoting WDP in your countries. We treasure your commitment, your faithfulness, and your hope for the future growth of WDP. As we say in our network ‘our movement is global because it is local everywhere.’
May God fill our hearts with love and compassion! I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas!
This video was made by the WDP Cuba Committee to showcase the celebration as it was held in La Habana, Cuba on March 4, 2016.
The video contains clips of the service, which was held at the First Reformed Presbyterian Church of La Habana, where WDP was celebrated in Cuba for the first time in 1930. Many people participated and were proud to be part of such a inspiring service, especially the women of WDP Cuba. They felt incredibly blessed to be given the opportunity to organize this service and share a little bit of Cuba with others around the world.
The video also contains interviews from:
Ormara Nolla Cao, WDP Cuba Committee Chairperson
Rosangela Oliveira, WDPIC Executive Director
Joel Ortega Dopico, Council of Churches of Cuba Chairperson
*This video is in Spanish*
After 60 years of being present in the country, women from Zimbabwe are getting ready to be the writer country for the celebrations in the year of 2020. From September 8-9, a Strengthening National Committee Meeting was held with almost 30 people in Harare. They came from different parts of the country and from different denominations. WDPIC executive director Rosângela Oliveira and WDPIC Africa Regional representative Joyce Steiner with the support of WDP Zimbabwe led the meeting.
The writing of the worship service and resource material is an ecumenical and collective process. Each participant of the workshop was a potential member of the writing working groups. And each member of the extended community in the country is a supporter of the process through their prayers and wisdom.
The workshop goal was to build an understanding of what will entail to develop and write WDP worship service and resource material for the annual celebration under the theme “Rise! Take your Mat and Walk”. Together we revised the Guidelines for a Writer Country to provide an overview of the complete writing process, components of the worship service and resource material package, timeline and the skills needed to work on this intense and voluntary process. WDPIC will be back in Zimbabwe in 2017 to launch the writing process with the Writer Country Workshop.
Before leaving the country, there was an opportunity to attend the WDP Zimbabwe General Meeting, Sunday service at the Salvation Army, and listen to the Tuesday rehearsal of the Great Harare Women’s Choir at a United Methodist Church. There are several choirs in the country involved in WDP celebrations. It is one of the highlights of WDP in Zimbabwe.
The World Day of Prayer International Committee Chairperson, Corinna Harbig, attended the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee Meeting in Trondheim, Norway from June 22-28, 2016. The Central Committee serves as the chief governing body of the WCC until the next assembly, and is responsible for carrying out the policies adopted by the Assembly.
Besides the WCC’s usual focus on topics such as finances, nominations, public statements, and reports, much attention was given to the theme “Pilgrimage: Discerning Landscapes Together.” The Plenary discussed the “Pilgrimage for justice and peace” in four topics: Unity, the Middle East, Religion and violence, and Child Rights.
According to Corinna Harbig, “the central committee heard moving testimonies and alerting numbers from all regions of the world concerning unjust life conditions. Women and children, people with disabilities, indigenous and ageing people are the most vulnerable to climate change, war, violence and abuse, persecution, human trafficking, and poverty. But, encouraging was also the testimonies of churches and faith based organizations who are engaged in actions for justice and peace.”
The women’s meeting was a special moment for the WDPIC chairperson. Some of the issues discussed have been on WDP's agenda as they are lifted up each year by a different focus country in the worship service. Still, they continue to appeal to us for prayer and actions:
Corinna interviewed a few leaders at the WCC Central Committee Meeting with a simple and meaningful question: “What has inspired you the most in this experience?” Please, listen to their inspirational responses below:
Dr. Fulata Lusungu Moyo
Programme Executive for Women in Church and Society at the World Council of Churches
Prof. Dimitra Koukoura
Member of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ms. Necta Rocas Montes
General Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)
Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecka
Member of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church
Ms. Ingrid Mortensen Bjornstad
Steward at the WCC
Member of the Church of Norway
Along with visiting Slovenia this month, we have also traveled to Brazil for the WDP Assembly Meeting!
This month the WDP Brazil Assembly elected new members for leadership. These women will carry out, with the support of previous leaders, the hospitality of the World Day of Prayer International Committee Meeting in 2017.
Also present were leaders from WDP Paraguay, and a song leader from Argentina. Blessings for the new leaders! Looking forward to 2017 in Brazil!
Photos by WDPIC