Jamaica, like much of the rest of the world, has been severely affected by the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which is wreaking havoc across the globe, with no obvious cure anytime soon. This virus has infected millions of persons worldwide. Hundreds of thousands have already died and the infection continues. For the most part, we in Jamaica had been successful in containing the spread of the virus. However, the decision to open the borders and allow some freedom to travel and for recreation, combined with people disobeying the proper protocol, have resulted in the increase of the number of infections. Our prayer is that our leaders will take the advice of scientists and persons in the know and make informed decisions on the welfare of its citizens until there is a cure or a solution for the virus.
We as women of the Jamaica WDP Committee, pray for God’s divine intervention as we struggle with the effects of the virus. We had Parliamentary Elections recently, which came off successfully, and we give thanks to God. We pray for our leaders to continue to guide us wisely and not to let arrogance and pride stop them from listening to the concerns of its citizens. In our society, there is still violence against women and children, gender violence, domestic violence, human trafficking, robberies, and extortion.
We pray that us, as a people, will stop and listen to God. God wants us to stop our busyness, and be with each other in conscious awareness. Under this pandemic, we are forced to be at home with each other; the children are out of school; churches are out and the theory of ‘church without walls’ becomes clearer with worship services being held through Zoom or YouTube; shopping for things we don’t really need has stopped. We now only shop for the necessities. Some of us have lost jobs and are barely surviving. The virus has made us realize that there are things that we do that are not important in the grand scheme of things. God wants us to think about each other in love so that we do nothing to harm our brothers and sisters. Love will allow us to obey the laws and guidelines set for us. We will therefore wear our masks, wash our hands frequently, practice social distancing and listen to all the protocols so we do not harm ourselves and make others around us unsafe. In spite of the chaos around us, we have a lot for which we are thankful. In this ‘new normal’, we thank God for his goodness and blessings towards us.
- Patricia Newell, WDP Committee of Jamaica
A oração é o melhor presente que podemos oferecer às pessoas em qualquer tempo e ainda mais durante uma pandemia. É isso que queremos proporcionar a todas e todos por intermédio do Dia Mundial de Oração.
A oração une os corações em comunhão com Deus e nos aproxima mesmo estando distantes, porque olhamos todas para nosso Senhor que nos dá o socorro. Não importa a hora, o lugar, ou o número, pois o Senhor não dorme e nos guarda hoje e sempre.
Com os nossos próprios olhos não conseguimos ver aquilo que Deus tem para nós, mas através da oração o nosso coração vê com os olhos da esperança e da alegria que vem Deus. Vemos então que Deus nos fortalece para prosseguirmos com responsabilidade no cuidado da saúde e na prevenção da transmissão do Coronavirus em nossas famílias e communidades.
Deus nos ama infinitamente, e este amor nos acolhe quando em oração estamos diante Dele. Deus nos ensina que precisamos orar umas pelas outras com fé e esperança e buscar socorro onde se pode achar. Por isso elevamos nossos olhos com humildade e pedimos:
Guarda nossa vida,
guarda nossa alma,
não nos deixe falhar,
mas enche-nos com a alegria que vem de ti
para que também possamos levar essa esperança para todas e todos que precisam.
Concordamos em unidade, que Deus nos ouve e nos oferece o socorro que precisamos para vencer a pandemia do COVID-19. Em meio a profunda dor pelas vidas perdidas no Brasil e na América Latina, encontramos consolo no nosso Deus eterno. No sofrimento, apelamos a Deus, fonte de sabedoria e cura que o mundo precisa.
O Senhor está conosco em todo o tempo e nos guardará de todo o mal, agora e para sempre! Amém
- Esther Susana M. Renner, Representante Regional de Latinoamérica en el CIDMO
The Bahamas joined the World Day of Prayer movement in 1950 when the wife of a Presbyterian Minister in Nassau, invited the wives of ministers throughout New Providence to celebrate the day. The early services were held at the Presbyterian Church and later moved to other denominations and other islands.
World Day of Prayer was celebrated on every island of the Bahamas in 2015, when our committee was tasked as the writer country and the world prayed for us and with us. Since 2015, five islands have continually observed WDP in schools and in ecumenical services.
Our 2020 celebration was scheduled to take place on Cat Island, where we have the highest hill in the Bahamas, ‘Mount Alvernia’! This service was scheduled for the month following the annual service, and was to include women from every island! However, on March 15th, our country was shut down and international travel was prohibited, except for cases of emergency, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was providential that the WDP Committee of New Providence (Nassau) observed seventy years during the annual service in Nassau. At the conclusion of the prayer service for Zimbabwe seventy candles were presented, each candle standing in a large delicious homemade cupcake, and placed on a cake rack resembling a sea-grape tree. The beautiful six-tiered cake-stand was created by Tyrone Ferguson, whose artwork was used on one of our postage stamps in 2015. The cupcakes were made by Julia Burnside, a member of our committee and the daughter of Gertrude Burnside (also featured as our historian in 2015).
On the table decorated for Zimbabwe stood nine large candles commemorating the lives of members ‘In Memoriam’ and these were lit by members of their families. Two of these candles represented the souls that perished in Abaco and Grand Bahama during Hurricane Dorian. The chairperson of the Abaco Committee traveled to Nassau for the service, and the former High Commissioner to the U.K lit the candle for Grand Bahama. A moment of silence was observed. On the top tier of the stand was one very large ‘sparkler’ candle, the last to be lit by all the children present.
The first candle was an international candle, lit by Annette Poitier, WDP Bahamas President. Then followed three candles for Zimbabwe, lit by three ladies from Zimbabwe, followed by candles representing the region. We are fortunate to have committee members from Canada and the United States as well as from seven other Caribbean countries. The islands of the Bahamas and the denominations represented in our committees were all included and well represented.
A great applause went up after the children lit the last candle, sending sparkles high into the air, and the band played, in calypso style, an old Bahamian New Year’s Eve chorus: ‘Thanks for another year O Lord!’ We danced, ate meals prepared by the Zimbabweans and of course we ate the cupcakes!
After another half hour of greetings, dancing, and building fellowship, we left thanking our hosts and thanking God for the growth of our work in the Bahamas.
- Annette Poitier, President of WDP Bahamas National Committee