Buscando sabedoria para cuidar da criação de Deus
Seeking wisdom to care for God’s creation in Portuguese, written on the conference hall banner, set the context of the International Committee Meeting of World Day of Prayer, held in Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná, Brazil from August 20-27, 2017. The theme was an invitation to collectively commit our prayer and action towards environment care, which is the focus of the 2018 WDP program written by the Suriname committee.
We had an intense and participatory program. It was collaboratively led by delegates, guests, and the executive committee members. We were 188 participants representing 81 countries. We came together to continue building the WDP movement and make decisions about the international leadership and programs for the next term.
WDP Brazil as hosting country welcomed the participants and gave us a sense of the three frontier states (Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina) with a cultural presentation by a group of young dancers and musicians from Paraguay.
The opening celebration was based on the Suriname worship service with the theme “All God’s creation is very good!” Silvia Regina Lima e Silva introduced the Bible Study based on Genesis 1:2.1-4 during the meditation moment and concluded the study on the next day. The hermeneutic perspective that crossed the reflection was hope. The hope proclaimed, affirmed, and experienced in the midst of pain, the denial of life, and in the midst of chaos.
Sarah de Roure gave a presentation on the environmental context and communities in Brazil, telling the stories of the indigenous women in the Amazon and the indiscriminate exploitation of the rain forest through predatory economic practices such as mining, large-scale logging, water and soil contamination by livestock and soybean plantations.
The WDP program is grounded in the Bible, and that always makes the Bible study sessions a key moment in our formation process. Besides Silvia Silva, there were two other theologians guiding the Bible Study. Dora Arce Valentin chose the text of Proverbs 31:10-31 to challenge WDP women to see the potential that this movement can represent globally and locally when wisdom inspires transformation.
Ulrike Bechmann led the Bible study on Luke 14:15-24 introducing the theme of the 2019 program written by WDP Slovenia: “Come – Everything is Ready.” There is a moment of justice - when the poor is empowered to come to the table and the rich to be changed. The slave is an enabler of the transformation and we can ask ourselves, how can WDP be an enabler?
There were two set of workshops. One day the focus was on the theme of the meeting, and the next day was focused on ways to renew and strengthen the WDP movement. Also, twelve small thematic groups were previously formed on a variety of topics to allow for meaningful conversations that would impact WDP action and response in the communities.
A community building session invited the participants to share and pray together. A choir was formed by the participants who sang new songs with the help of the song leaders. Plus, we celebrated the meeting of women from the reformation and WDP women, telling the story of women’s leadership in the past and today. A prayer room where any participant could spend some quite time praying and meditating was set and available at all times.
On Thursday, we wore black in solidarity with the Thursday in Black campaign to say no to rape and violence. It was powerful! We will bring that awareness to our WDP committee and community.
On the last day, the outgoing and newly elected executive members met to pass along information about their region and to encourage the new leadership. The working group on themes and writer countries revised all the submissions received, and based on the areas of concern of the worldwide movement, the urges of our time, the basic structure and capacity of the national committees, the geographic balance, and with prayers, they selected the next five themes and writer countries. The delegates of the selected countries met with the new chairperson and executive director to have a brief overview of the writing process and timeline.
The closing worship service is the moment of entrusting the new leadership with their responsibility and prayers for guidance. The offering collected was dedicated to the Fund for Tomorrow, which enables young women and national committees with limited resources to be part of the international meeting. The committees in Greece, Lebanon, Palestine, Sweden, and Uruguay gave their offering in honor of a leader in their country. To read their stories visit our Honored Women's page.