The 21th century has brought a new way of communication: the connected world through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and any other social media network. How can our movement find its place in this world and especially how can the “old” generation evolve with the “young” generation and its new way of communication?
Most of the committees in Europe still use the post, or human resources to distribute the materials for the celebration or workshops but some committees have started to use social media networks to communicate, inform and stay in touch. It’s not always easy to take this step, especially, when you have two different generations in a committee, the one that is used to paper & mailing and the other using social media. It’s not always easy to explain how or why social media networks can be a good opportunity to connect more people with WDP but it important to incorporate these tools into our methodology.
Yes, the world is running faster and faster and sometimes we feel as though we are out of the loop, but only using old means of communication is not always a good solution.
Thinking of our last International Meeting in Brazil, WDPIC did a great job with the Facebook page of the International Executive Committee. Updated information is a great way to connect the whole world with WDP.
The best for WDP is to have a mixture of different means of communication: the old ones and the new ones. It is not always easy but it may be the key to engaging young women. I really encourage the different committees in Europe to find which method of communication works best and to incorporate old and new methods when sharing WDP news!
- Emmanuelle Bauer, WDPIC Regional Rep. of Europe
Greetings from Canada!
This year, we at the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada celebrated 100 years of growing God’s kingdom in prayer, unity, and social justice!
In 1918, Bessie McMurphy invited representatives from the Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Boards to come together at the first meeting of what is presently known as the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada (WICC).
In 1920, the first national interdenominational Women's Day of Prayer in Canada was held in Lindsay, Ontario. Later, in 1926, women in Canada and the United States joined together to distribute prayer services for an international day of prayer. One hundred years later, the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada is still home to a beautiful assortment of unique passionate women of all ages, backgrounds, and denominations, all united in our quest to restore hope to women touched by injustice.
Our celebration took place at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 23rd, 2018. Over ninety people including former members, past presidents, friends, family, and other members of the WDP community came to celebrate with us. We were honoured to have Rosângela Oliveira, World Day of Prayer International Committee Executive Director, come and speak to us and extend her congratulations.
Also speaking at our celebration were three grant recipients: Beloved Women, an outreach project focused on women refugees from Syria in the Greater Toronto Area; the Student Christian Movement, supporting Cahoots, an innovative annual festival of faith, social justice, and do-it-yourself (DIY) activities; and the Cadence Leadership Resource, a leadership development program for Indigenous women. These were only 3 of the 21 grants that WICC was able to support through WDP funds!
For more information on grant recipients, their stories, or to apply for a WICC WDP grant from anywhere (ANYWHERE!) around the world, head to https://wicc.org/grant-programs/. We were able to fund $80,000 worth of grants this year! What a way to celebrate 100 years!
Check us out on Facebook to learn more at: https://www.facebook.com/WICCanada/
- Lauren Wilks, Regional Rep. Caribbean & North America
The World Day of Prayer (WDP) movement is not a new concept in the Caribbean, especially not to the beautiful island of Barbados. From my time spent within WDP I believe we are ready for a new injection of blood, sweat and prayers into the movement in Barbados and the Caribbean.
With the opportunity to learn from the rest of the World Day of Prayer communities who gathered in Brazil in 2017, and being selected and elected to the Executive Committee, I am beginning to understand the reasons for the blood (of Jesus), the sweat (of the women and families who need assistance), and the prayers (of every living believer in Christ).
1 Kings 8:44-45 states:
If your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to the Lord toward the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear in heaven their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause. (NRSV)
This is my prayer for the future for WDP in the Caribbean:
Gracious and Compassionate God, every Christ lover shall hear the cries of the World Day of Prayer, and make the hearts of the countries being prayed for their own; WDP would be expanded to include all of the nations of the Caribbean; the WDP movement will cause movement in governments of countries who do not recognise women’s rights; WDP will be celebrated in every Christian denomination; WDP would be celebrated every month of the year in some recognisable way so that the first Friday in March would naturally mobilize a national celebration.
Dear God of Justice, we your people are out in a constant battle against the enemy, and we are thankful that you promised never to leave us or forsake us. The enemy shows up in poverty, in pain, in sickness, in brokenness and even in prosperity and gain. As we live and move and have our being in you, we pray these seven promises over our lives:
You will be with us,
you will protect us,
you will be our strength,
you will answer our prayers,
you will provide for us,
you will give us peace
and you will always love us.
Father, we worship you and praise you and thank you for being our God, our Savior and our Friend. We pray these things in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen!
- Rev. Ruth V.E. Phillips, Regional Rep. of Caribbean & North America
Ripples of WDP 2018
From June 13th - 17th women church leaders participated in the Certificate Course of Ecumenical Formation for Gender Justice. The course was organized by Women’s Concerns Ministry of National Council of Churches in India in partnership with Women’s Fellowship of Church of South India and Australian Church Women Inc. Together we sang the song above as we blessed a tree in our vicinity and mother Earth. We danced and celebrated life by affirming ‘All God’s Creation is Very Good.’
World Day Prayer (WDP) 2018 had rippling effects throughout India. Not only did women church leaders commemorate WDP, and come to learn about Suriname, they also renewed their commitment to reflect their faith in action. An eco-pilgrimage was organized in a Visthar campus, a secular civil society organization committed to social justice and peace.
During the eco-pilgrimage we visited different eco-sanctuaries including an abandoned well, which we blessed together. The well is a symbol of life in Indian traditions as water sustains life. Indian women play a crucial role in daily water management. They suffer the most when wells dry up and rivers get polluted. They are forced to walk longer distances to find water and face gender based violence on unsafe roads. Visiting the well in Visthar helped us renew our spirituality to share the unheard stories of the indigenous, rural and urban women who make an effort to heal the wounds of mother Earth, like the rural women of the Himalayan region who spearheaded the Chipko Andolan, a nonviolent social and ecological movement aimed at protecting trees slated for government-backed logging. The Hindi word chipko means “to hug” or “to cling to” and reflects the demonstrators’ primary tactic of embracing the trees to impede the loggers.
Participants of the Certificate Course for Gender Justice included 33 women leaders, man pastors, and missionaries. Men were also involved because, as pastors and missionaries, they need to be empowered to build inclusive communities that can end gender based violence. We also wanted to create awareness among them about how prayer movements like WDP can be used to promote gender justice.
This course provided a scope not only to explore strategies and discover methods to deal with the pandemic of gender based violence in India, but also explore the nexus between ecological devastation and violence against women and children. While environmental degradation affects women most, rural and indigenous women who are aware about conserving nature and environmental issues, have been able to make a significant difference to the environment in tangible ways. They are inspiring examples in water conservation, waste management, energy efficiency at home and family planning. Women environmental activists have also proven to change the status of women, particularly in rural communities, creating empowerment opportunities beyond the environmental benefits.
This movement of ‘Informed Prayer & Prayerful Action’ provides Indian churches and women’s fellowships in churches the opportunity to promote the ‘Thursdays in Black Campaign’ to create a ‘World Free of Rape and Sexual Abuse’. Women and girls are at high risk of getting raped in India and many children face sexual abuse including boys. World Day of Prayer is helping equip church leaders and communities with the awareness to promote gender justice in India.
- Moumita Biswas, WDPIC Asia Regional Rep.
From its founding in 1918, the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada (WICC) has been responding to injustice. Next weekend, on June 23rd, the WICC will be celebrating its 100th anniversary under the theme The Joy of Justice!
In 1918, most, but not all, Canadian women gained the right to vote, but women were excluded from holding public office until 1929 when they were finally considered persons under Canadian law. Women of the Church were often similarly restricted in leadership except in their missionary societies.
Inter-Board Committee of the Women’s Missionary Societies
Bessie McMurchy invited representatives of five women’s missionary boards—Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian—to meet together to “promote the spread Christ’s kingdom by united prayer, united action, and a stronger voice in national questions.”
This committee was the first national ecumenical organization in our country. Its first national interdenominational women’s day of prayer was held in Lindsay, Ontario on January 9, 1920. A suggested worship outline was prepared by a small committee and printed. By 1922, the committee and its American counterpart were preparing national prayer services under a common theme, sowing the seeds of an international day of prayer.
The committee changed its name a few times as more denominations joined their movement but settled on the “Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada” in 1946. The name reflects an expansion beyond missionary societies. Today, our council includes representatives from ten denominations.
Vision and Mission
From our roots in mission, WICC formed a vision: restoring hope to women touched by injustice. We fulfil that vison by empowering Christians to pursue justice, peace and reconciliation by standing together in prayer and action. Our vision and mission are rooted in the value we find in faith, justice, prayer, solidarity, and respect.
Our World Day of Prayer grant program is our response to injustices in Canada, Central and South America, Africa and Asia.
Just like the people of Suriname, Sri Lanka has been blessed with natural beauty and resources. Unfortunately, there are people who do not care for the environment and are irresponsible in the way they relate to God’s blessings upon this land. Although the Sri Lankan Government has tried to create policies and make our people aware of the crisis we are facing, implementations of these policies have been quite a challenge. There is a need for infra-structure change and educational campaigns. By raising awareness of how important it is to protect God’s creation, the World Day or Prayer Suriname service challenged our people, especially Christians, to not only pray but act as well.
To give an example, Sri Lankans usually use plastic lunch papers to packet our rice meals. These plastic papers take around 100 years to disintegrate. At a National Asian Women’s Conference service the speaker, Bishop Dhilloraj Canagasabey, challenged us to take care of our environment beginning in our homes. He pointed out how we were destroying our environment by the use of this plastic paper. When I analysed this, I realised that in my household alone, I was using at least 10 lunch sheets a day, which worked out to 40 in just a week. Multiply this by thirty – 1,200 in a month, which ultimately ends up in at least 14,400/- a year!
Having realized how irresponsible my family and I have been, we switched to using reusable lunch boxes for carrying our food, saving so much paper from ruining our immediate environment. I shared my experience with the ladies present at the service, and they felt challenged like I was. We, as individuals can make a difference to our environment. The change begins with us! The super powers, spending millions of dollars to sit and discuss how our planet can be saved, need to be called upon to take this matter seriously. Discussion alone is not the solution, action is required.
At the WDP service, we distributed little cards with a picture of the sea turtle. We asked each one present to make a commitment on how they could positively contribute to preserving the environment. Instead of having them drop these commitment cards in the offering bag, we requested them to keep it (maybe in their Bibles) to be reminded of the commitment they made. Each one of us has a responsible contribution to make this a better place not only for us but for the future generations as well. It has to begin with us, and World Day of Prayer Sri Lanka has taken the initiative to make a difference.
Whilst we are not alone, garbage disposal is a big problem in Sri Lanka. An educational door-to-door campaign by the name ‘No Kunu’ (No Garbage), organized by Sumi Moonesinghe, has been launched in the country and has already reached a few cities. A video clip for the campaign is also available on Youtube. Click here to watch the video:
The World Day of Prayer motto ‘Informed prayer - Prayerful action’ keeps us on the vision of our prayer responsibility and positive action towards our world. Let’s continue educating ourselves, and people from all parts of the world, to make every effort to protect our environment, as every little rain drop helps make the mighty ocean!
Thank you WDP Suriname for bringing this matter to the forefront!
- Vino Schubert, WDPIC Asia Regional Rep.
La célébration de la liturgie de Suriname a été très interpellatif par ce thème sur la protection de la création de Dieu qui est d’actualité : « Toute la Création de Dieu est très bonne ! »
Au Cameroun le constat est fait sur la destruction des espèces, de la forêt et de la verdure sans réflexion pour un système de régénération. Les femmes ont repris conscience sur leur rôle de mère, protectrice de la vie et qui prends soin de son environnement. Engagement a été pris d’intensifier la lutte contre la destruction de la nature, de redoubler d’effort pour la protection de l’environnement en commençant dans nos familles.
Les actions que nous voulons mener sont :
A présent, nous préparons la liturgie de la Slovénie. Nous découvrons l’histoire, la culture, la religion afin de bien comprendre le sens du thème choisi pour la célébration à savoir “Venez – car tout est prêt”.
Du retour du la réunion du Comité international de la Journée Mondiale de Prière (JMP), Brésil, nous avons organisé au Cameroun une rencontre d’information avec les membres du JMP comité national. Nous avons abordé les grandes articulations vécues et les décisions prises lors de la conférence internationale et de la réuni des déléguées de l’Afrique.
Parmi les priorités de la Région Afrique:
- Henriette Mbatchou, Représentant Afrique Région, JMP Cameroun
The Writer Country Workshop for Vanuatu 2021 was held in Port-Vila, Vanuatu, from April 9th to the 13th. The workshop officially started the writing process and the world will discover the global result on March 5, 2021.
Between 2018 and 2021, a continuous process made up of meetings, writer groups, reviews, translations, adaptations, celebrations and finally, reports, will take place.
For the women of Vanuatu, the time has come to gather together, to work ecumenically and to develop what was started in April 2018. A decision was made among the committee that every Sunday morning they would come together in personal prayer and make this WDP writing process a priority.
It was such a privilege to be part of this workshop! As the theme “Build on a strong foundation” and the focus “Live Wisely” were explored by the women of Vanuatu, who had come from across the nation to participate, it was not hard to be excited for what God has planned for these women and the nation of Vanuatu in 2021.
For many participants, this had been their first opportunity to represent and lead their denomination. As friendships where established, it was wonderful to see the denominational barriers broken down. To hear the voice of Vanuatu women, their joys, their hopes and their struggles. God has chosen this group of women to be heard across the world in 2021.
Women attending the workshop shared their stories of having to leave their homes under threat from volcanic activity. Some had travel plans disrupted by a cyclone looming off the coast. We learned so much about our sisters and are eager to continue this journey with them and share their stories.
Let us join these women in prayer, as they continue to work on the materials for 2021 and remember that….
Coming together for World Day of Prayer we are all just sisters in Christ and Gods children.
- Laurence Gangloff (WDPIC Chairperson) & Vicki Marney (WDPIC Pacific Regional Rep.)
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