For years, World Day of Prayer has gathered women, young people, children and communities around the world under its unique appeal of being united in prayer and actions of solidarity for peace and justice. It may be a local group worshipping together or a national wide educational campaign on a particular issue. With the strength rooted in a spirituality of listening, the first Friday of March brings to light this circle of prayer to visibility!
I have had the blessing of serving this international circle of prayer since 2012, when I was welcomed as executive director. I am deeply grateful for the blessings, learning, and growth that this community has given me. Now it is time to continue widening the circle and welcome the new executive director of World Day of Prayer International Committee. I am delighted to have the chance of sharing leadership with Katie Reimer until my term concludes on August 1st.
What has brought Katie Reimer to WDP is her own spiritual practice of “cultivating embodied practices and rituals in community.” For her, “worship and prayer connect us to God most profoundly when we connect deeply to ourselves, our neighbors, and all of creation.” Katie is “deeply moved by WDP’s central commitment to the power of women’s voices and incarnate experiences of God” and recognizes that WDP “has faithfully connected women committed to the way of Jesus across boundaries, creating an expansive ecology that nourishes abundant life. The vision of Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action speaks to the way of Jesus, who prayed from an intimate awareness of the struggles of the world, while also acting from a place of profound connection to the Divine.” (Extracted from Katie’s cover letter)
Katie recently completed her Master of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary in New York with a concentration in Inter-religious Engagement; after a Bachelor and Master education in piano performance. She is the founder, artistic & executive director of Mimesis Ensemble where she performs and records music from the 20th and 21st centuries. She has acted as artist in residence, song composer, life stream meditation guide, devotional video designer, song leader and choir conductor, worship writer and leader, and preacher in churches in New York City and across the United States, also at women and church national and international conferences.
Katie is prepared to listen, lead, and join this community of Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action. Let’s take our tambourines and with dancing and singing praise God like the prophet Myriam and the women, as God is journeying ahead of us (Exodus 15:20). Amen!
Rosangela S. Oliveira,
Outgoing WDPIC Executive Director
During Lent, I often reflect on the words that Jesus said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children (Luke 23: 28).”
I imagine Jesus, catching his breath after being relieved from the weight of the cross by Simon of Cyrene. Jesus was wounded and certainly weakened after all the tortures inflicted on him. Jesus, who in a single breath, said to the ones following him, including a couple of women: “For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (verses 29-31)
Women, do not weep for me, but rather for yourselves!
These words echo the news of the moment: wars covered in the media, injustices ignored by the international press, ecological disasters, terrible cries of distress, or even more deafening the silence from those who no longer have the strength to call out for help or cry… Yes, I like to imagine that when Jesus said those words, he wanted to offer comfort… just as he did in the garden of the tomb, on Sunday morning, when Mary of Magdala went to the tomb to discover that his body was no longer there (John 20:11-18).
Why are you crying?
Mary thought a gardener was speaking to her, but a simple call of her first name "Mary!" was enough to make her open the eyes and discover that the Risen Jesus was standing before her. I like to reread this passage from John, in chapter 20. A great tenderness emanates from the text. Mary is the first woman to discover Jesus is alive. For her, who has known tears, there is a future to hope for -- “I know the plans I have for you”. And for those among us who are sad or overwhelmed, a cry invites us to get back on the road.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Mary's cry of joy replaced her cries of pain and lamentation. I even imagine tears of joy flowing down her face, where a few hours before there were tears of pain. Suffering is not that hard to imagine, it is so prevalent right now. But on this Easter morning, sisters and brothers, believe that Jesus is here, very present and that He will be able to say to us "I have heard about your faith" and while waiting for this beautiful moment, let us shout joyfully with our Christian sisters from Jerusalem "He is risen, He is risen indeed!”
Receive my warmest regards and all my gratitude,