Happy New Year!
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!
Our Christmas Gift to You!
We have compiled all of our decisions and reflections at the International Meeting of the World Day of Prayer held on August 20-27, in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil into one document.
You will find in the Report a brief summary of the workshops focus on the theme and WDP movement, and the Talking Wisdom and Care @ 10 conversations. It includes reports in Portuguese and Spanish and also the complete presentations at the plenary sessions, like the Bible studies and Worship meditations.
You can find it on our International Meeting page or click here.
A shorter version of this compilation will be offered in Spanish and French at a later date.
So, how can you use this resource?
First of all, please, share it with the WDP Committee and members widely. It may be also shared with church leaders and ecumenical partners at your local and national context. It is a resource for all.
Secondly, you can use it to inspire a follow up locally. You may organize workshops or small group conversations based on the topics or the methodology presented here. They can be used towards the preparation for the 2018 WDP Suriname program or throughout the year to follow up on the concerns raised.
Look especially for the Meditation of the Opening Celebration and the Bible Study on Genesis 1 for the 2018 WDP Suriname preparations. And read the Bible Study on Luke 14 and the Situation of Roma People for 2019 WDP Slovenia program.
Thirdly, join us in appreciation of WDP Brazil for their dedication in hosting the Meeting, and all delegates, facilitators, translators, and executive committee members who ecumenically shared leadership to make it happen.
Lastly, use it to prepare your country to participate in the next International Meeting in 2022.
See you there!
Our Prince of Peace
Dear WDP sisters, friends & ecumenical partners,
We are fast approaching the end of 2017, and we do have many joys and blessings to count!
Now, encouraged by the Suriname theme, we affirm “All God’s Creation is Very Good!”, and we repeat it in Sranan Tongue - “A heri grontapu di Gado meki bun doro, dóro!” Let’s take this message to our hearts, and move the world with our prayers.
During the Christmas season, my family and I have a special tradition. Do you know about the tradition of passing the light of Bethlehem from one Parish to another? The flame is taken from the candle at the grotto of Bethlehem and is shared all around the world as a sign that the Prince of Peace is shining everywhere. Usually the flame arrives in France during the second week of Advent with the help of the young Scouts. Then we receive the flame, and we keep it until Christmas arrives.
When passing the flame, we remember that Jesus was not born in a comfortable house or hospital, that the political situation was not stable or peaceful, that Bethlehem is still a little town with inhabitants who need our prayers. You too may light a candle and remember in your prayers all the suffering of this world, and welcome the Prince of Peace singing with the angels.
“Praise God in heaven! Peace on Earth to everyone who pleases God.”
(Gospel of Luke 2.14)
Sisters and friends, may we celebrate the baby Jesus born to be the Prince of Peace! May we grow in our faith and became the witnesses of peace and love, in our families, neighborhoods, cities or villages, country, churches, or workplace and “by this shall all men, all women know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13.35)
Thank you for your commitment, your engagement, your help, and your support to World Day of Prayer.
Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you,
Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Chairperson
Human Rights Day
Today, Human Rights Day, marks the final day of the 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence campaign but it does not mean our fight is over! We must continuously work beyond the days of these dedicated campaigns and work towards a world free of violence against women and girls. Our WDP sisters from around the world are taking lessons learned from the worship services and applying them to real life situations in order to promote awareness for the betterment of women and children. These following stories were taken from the 2016 & 2017 Journals.
In 2016, WDP Malaysia reflected on the theme “Receive children, Receive me” and thought about the refugee children in their country being denied their rights to an education. They affirmed in their service “that all children should be received equally, regardless of their sex or status, and education is very important for the future of refugee children.”
Similarly, Bulgaria highlighted the difficulties Roma children experience in their country as opposed to other children. Their main concern is to “make education accessible to them so they may have a better future.”
In Latin America this year, Argentina “vowed to work towards defending the rights of women and, above all, to combat gender [based] violence,” and Cuba renewed leadership with young woman engaging in the coordination of WDP and with this they will be able to more actively “promote campaigns for NO violence against children, and will use art to reach out to families in vulnerable situations.”
Panama used the 2017 theme of “Am I Being Unfair to You?” as an opportunity to bring awareness to the injustices faced by many woman. They created a game to show the inequality of wealth distributed and how the minority usually suffers the most. They used chairs to represent possessions and gave “the man” most of the chairs while those without chairs had to stand. It really impacted their service and it shows us how we must work together to fight establishments like this that oppress women and young girls.
As we celebrate this Advent season, we must remember all of the things Jesus has taught us through these WDP worship services. We must listen to Jesus’ words and help each other, not just one day, but every single day until the end of gender based violence.