Women from different islands and different denominations have gathered together this week to begin developing the WDP Vanuatu 2021 service and bring the voices of the Vanuatu women to the rest of the world. WDPIC Chairperson, Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Executive Director, Rosângela Oliveira, and WDPIC Pacific Regional Representative, Vicki Marney, led and facilitated the meeting.
The writing of the worship service and resource material is an ecumenical and collective process. Each participant of the workshop is 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.
This workshop is the beginning of an exciting journey to study and understand the Bible text, develop the theme, and create a stimulating service for World Day of Prayer!
“Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever, and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.” Revelation 1,17-18 (NRSV)
Today, a friend of mine offered me a decorative egg. She knows it. I love eggs! Not only the chocolate ones or the real ones, but I also love the ceramic, stone, or wooden eggs.
Eggs have been a symbol of new life in many cultures, and in the Christian tradition the Easter egg represents the resurrection of Christ. This symbol speaks about death and life together.
The egg I received today has three fishes painted on it. Those fishes symbolize the Holy Trinity. But the three fishes are also a reminder of the triple Christian Palestinian proclamation "Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!"
In proclaiming “He is risen” and “He is risen indeed,” we affirm that we are not afraid of Death and Hades, the world of the dead. Jesus preceded us in this way.
In proclaiming, for the second time, “He is risen” and “He is risen indeed,” we affirm that we want to testify through our life, that the God of Creation calls us to imagine new relations, new eyes, and a new way of life.
In proclaiming, for the third time, like the Christians in Palestine -- “He is risen” and “He is risen indeed,” we trust that with the help of the Holy Spirit we, as Christian women, can transform this world. We can engage in educating and advocating for the elimination of rape and violence against women and girls. We can enable a world where everyone lives in dignity, where poverty is eradicated, and that the actions for peace and reconciliation supplant intolerance and close-mindedness. We trust that the Holy Spirit can push us on the road for world justice.
So, sisters and brothers, do not be afraid, just believe and proclaim joyfully “Christ is risen, He is risen indeed.”
Happy and blessed Easter to all of you,
Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Chairperson
On March 2nd 2018, women around the world launched the program written by World Day of Prayer Committee in Suriname with worship services and educational activities. The theme is “All God’s Creation is Very Good!” It invites us to reflect on how we treat the Earth, the animals, and how we relate to each other as human beings. It highlights the importance of each and every aspect of God’s creation and our responsibility to be the caretakers of creation as God intended us to be.
Below are just a few of the stories, more will happen over the year. The worldwide experience of the program will be published in the 2018 Journal.
In Suriname, many gathered for the service to pray, sing, and share in unity with the world.
Dear sisters and WDP friends,
Soon, we will sing joyfully with all the community “The day thou gavest, Lord is ended…” Finally the day has come after this long preparation! For most of the National Committees and local groups, the preparatory work started one year ago, but for our Suriname sisters, the writing process began in 2014.
Together, WDP Suriname and the WDP International Committee developed the collaborative conversation to have the worship service resources prepared. Now, you are also part of this collaborative conversation as your community engages with the theme “All God’s Creation is very good.”
During one of the preparatory days attended by Laurence, a lady told her “this is the happiest service! Thank you to God, to the Suriname sisters, and to the ones who started the process.” So for sure, the 3rd stanza will reflect what we are doing around the globe!
“As o'er each continent and island
the dawn leads on another day,
the voice of prayer is never silent,
nor dies the strain of praise away.”
In the letter from WDP Suriname you will learn of their committees latest actions. They informed their government about the World Day of Prayer but also the major climate issues raised by the celebration. Prayer into action! Thank you, sisters, for showing us the way.
We hope you will also take time to play the environmental game with children and learn, through simple practical examples, how to care for God’s creation.
Now, let us celebrate, share our joy and get involved. We are part of God’s creation, and remember that “All God’s Creation is very good!”
God Bless you, God bless your service!
Laurence Gangloff, Chairperson
Rosângela Oliveira, Executive Director
Click here to download the Spanish & French versions of the letter:
The World Day of Prayer 2018 is soon to be celebrated around the world on Friday the 2nd of March.
Suriname as the theme country is very excited and also humbled to be the center of all your prayers.
We enjoy and thank you all for your interest in our country, culture, music, artwork and the service. It was very beautiful to see and hear about all of your preparations for the different services. The Suriname committee is very proud and enthusiastic as well, and we have also brought this celebration to the attention of our government.
However, along with the enthusiasm to celebrate we must also reflect on the fact that we have to take better care of our environment and of God’s creation. God prepared and created a world for us that was very good. Unfortunately we did not appreciate what we got as a gift, and treated it very poorly. Today we, and also the whole creation, suffer from the damages that we have brought to it mostly because of our greed and strive for comfort and/or convenience.
The earth where we have to live in is suffering. Our rivers, oceans and air are polluted, the ozone layer is damaged, and many countries suffer from terrible disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis and so on. Even the animals in the rivers and seas get wrapped up in our plastic waste. Beautiful creatures go extinct because we do not care enough to stop hunting them. Many children are born with disabilities because of the pollution in the rivers and the air. In the various visits we brought to the government we also expressed our concern for our environment.
Today and every other day, we the women of the Suriname World Day of Prayer committee want and will take a stand to plead for God’s creation.
We will confess our shortcomings before God and ask Him to forgive us and to help us be better care takers of His very good creation.
“All God’s creation is very good”
WDP Suriname Chairperson
As we immerse ourselves in the program developed by WDP Suriname for the 2018 celebration, we are reminded why the theme “All God’s Creation is Very Good” is so important and relevant to our daily lives.
The Earth, God’s beautiful creation, is our home. However, we have heard and experienced situations that show that our home is in desperate need of love and care. It is not only because of human made environmental disasters, irresponsible developments, uncontrollable wildfires, river contaminations, deforestation or the endangerment of species but also, for the lifestyle, xenophobia, environmental racism or gender based violence, that we join our Surinamese sisters and “confess that we have not done enough to advocate for God’s creation and be caretakers of our neighbours.”
“Environmental Justice is as much about people as it is about issues like pollution and climate change,” affirmed Catherine Akale* at the WDP International Meeting.
We need to be aware and take action!
The story of creation (Genesis 1-2:4) is the main Bible text for this program. During the WDP International Meeting, theologian Silvia Silva* offered us resources to listen to the wisdom of the story. The text “dates back to the exile in Babylon. [In which] behind such beautiful poetry, there are the exiled people, people who have been deported, uprooted far away from their land, their people, their culture and their religion. In a context where the god of the Empire justifies slavery, it was important to recover and state that: “our God is the creator of everything,” and that same God transforms chaos of oppression in a beautiful household that human beings may inhabit.
The wisdom that runs through the text is hope. Hope proclaimed, affirmed, and experienced amid pain, the denial of life, and chaos. The beginning of creation is not evil or sin; creation is good. All beings created by God are good. Let us think and feel for a brief moment the prophetic and transforming strength in this statement: “And God saw that it was good.”
Like our brothers and sisters in exile in Babylon, we also affirm the goodness of creation amid evil, environmental destruction, and social injustice. We affirm its goodness as a word of hope; “goodness that we need to recover through our prophetic and transforming action.”
We invite you to reflect on the environmental justice issues that affect your community. What can you do to keep God’s creation good?
*Click here for the full text.
“Hope is not the expectation that things will be better tomorrow; hope is the capacity to do the right thing today.” – Mitri Raheb, Lutheran pastor in Bethlehem
The World Day of Prayer movement brings people together in closer fellowship, understanding and action throughout the year.
As we ecumenically prepare the March celebration, we hear about the situations of women and girls around the world, and we realize how close to home those stories are.
We pray with them for the ending of their suffering, we commit to promote awareness, we advocate for women’s human rights, we support the survivors of violence who are among us, and we raise funds to empower them to live in a world without rape and gender based violence.
At our International Meeting, in August 2017, in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, we wore black to educate ourselves about the Thursdays in Black campaign and to show our support! The campaign has traveled to the local communities, where we join others involved in the campaign started by the World Council of Churches (WCC).
Thursdays in Black grew out of the WCC Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988-1998), in which the stories of rape as a weapon of war, abuse, violence, and many tragedies that grow outward from such violence became all the more visible. However, also visible was women’s resilience, agency and personal efforts to resist such violations.*
As Fulata Moyo explained to the WDP community, “in this campaign, black is used as color of resistance. Let us journey together for a world of gender justice and peace.” (WDPIC 2015 Journal, page 51)
The campaign is simple but profound. Wear black on Thursdays. Wear a pin to declare you are part of the global movement resisting attitudes and practices that permit rape and violence. Show your respect for women who are resilient in the face of violence.*
We encourage you to join the Thursdays in Black campaign and to share its message.
Here are some steps that you may want to take:
(*Extracted from Churches’ Advocacy against Sexual, Gender-Based Violence, WCC Thursdays in Black pamphlet.)
To National/Regional Committee Liaisons:
The Annual Report Form for 2018 has been sent out to all National/Regional Committee Liaisons!
The Annual Report intends to capture the lively presence of this worldwide ecumenical movement of Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action.
Each country's response helps us to weave the wisdom and enthusiasm that the annual celebration has generated in each part of the world. Your response is also the source of reflection for the Journal. Just as important, it will help keep our database updated to best facilitate communication with the Committee.
When writing the Report, try to include information based on the multiple worship celebrations and activities in your country. Highlight diversity, dedication, and creativity. Please, be thoughtful and faithful to how WDP inspires and transforms lives in your country.
If you have pictures of the celebration, email them to us in a jpeg file or similar. Please, do not send us pictures on word documents as the photo quality is drastically diminished. Choose about 5 pictures with a high resolution in different situations, such as the participation of youth or children, the altar table, symbols, drama/dancing/group exercises, portraits, readers group, etc. We hope to include one photo in the Journal! Others can be posted on the WDPIC Facebook page or our website.
Please submit the report by May 1st. Reports received after June 30th 2018 may not be included in the Journal, but they will be a relevant source of information for us.
If you have not received the report email us.
As we say goodbye to 2017, we welcome all the exciting opportunities and blessings 2018 will bring.
This past year was filled with hard times, from natural disasters to political and social upheavals. However, light overcomes darkness, and we saw the light in those who came together to help and be present to the ones in need.
Let’s bring this light into 2018! Let’s care for God’s Creation, as the Suriname women call us to. Let’s bring an end to violence against women and girls, as we join the Thursdays in Black campaign!
Together we may shine the light of peace, love and justice for all to see!
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Luke 1: 46-47
Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus! In these tumultuous times, when our world is divided and struggling, we affirm our hope for peace and joy. Jesus, born to be the Prince of Peace, gives us the strength to care, to love, and to act for justice and peace.
Take this moment to remember the women of the Philippines and keep in mind the women of Suriname. Pray for all the women and girls around the world, that they may have a joyous Christmas. Together we will shine the light of peace and hope.
We wish all of our WDP sisters, friends, and ecumenical partners a very Merry Christmas!