As we welcome a new year, we pray that it is filled with joy and peace. We share with you a poem by Rinko Sagara, a 15 year old girl from Okinawa, Japan. The poem was read during an Okinawa Memorial Day ceremony to remember the victims of the Battle of Okinawa. We thank the NCC WDP Committee of Japan for sharing this poem with all of us.
Happy New Year!
(Translated by Rosan Yoshida revised by Erin Davis)
"The Story of the International Committee for World Day of Prayer" by Eileen King and Helga Hiller is much more than a few pages of history about what led to the creation of an International Committee 50 years ago.
This text was not written by our sisters as an introduction to a future history book on WDP. It is an invitation to participants and leaders of the WDP movement to discover, with gratitude and recognition, the paths taken by our mothers and then to open a space for personal questioning.
I quote: “From the very beginning, women understood that their faith in Jesus Christ motivated and empowered them to find ways for local communities to pray and act together.” Is it still true today in our local groups or communities?
We know how to use Internet, Facebook, and Instagram -- this modern technology that links us to one another. However, isn’t one of our challenges today to overcome indifference, hatred and fear in order to preserve a peace that is becoming increasingly fragile?
My conviction: our mothers were courageous when fighting in a racist, unequal, sexist society. Let us draw from their experience and dare to take up these new challenges that are opening to us today with joy, conviction, tenacity and creativity.
We encourage you to share the article with your local connections and have a conversation about it.
Download and share the PDF file below.
You may want to order the poster with WDP themes and countries from 1927 to 2026 to complement the article information for discussions.
Enjoy reading and then chose one action!
- Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Chairperson
The World Council of Churches invited the World Day of Prayer to participate in the Global Consultation commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Ecumenical Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women which took place in Kingston, Jamaica from October 2nd to 6th 2018. Four (4) WDP representatives were part of 73 participants and presenters from 45 denominations from all the continents.
The consultation was about gender justice. The focus was on celebrating our gifts, visiting the wounds and developing a vision to end gender injustice.*
We’d like to share with you some stories that touched our hearts:
On Thursday, we went to the Nelson Mandela Park to make public our statement for a life free of violence. We joined WCC in renewing the call for the Thursdays in Black Campaign. A campaign that raises awareness by wearing black – as the color of women’s resilience, agency and personal efforts to resist rape and gender based violence.
In conclusion, the WDP representatives participated in every session and made the WDP movement known. We showed up and showed out.
*For WCC press releases on the Consultation, visit their website here.
Article and pictures by:
Fanya Burford-Berry, WDP USA
Patricia Newell Pennant, WDP Jamaica
Ruth Phillips, WDP Barbados & WDPIC Caribbean & North America Regional Representative
Cornelia Trommer-Klimpke, WDP Germany
Tengo una frase en mi escritorio que dice: “Nunca eres tan grande, como cuando te arrodillas delante de Dios”. ¿Cómo lo hacemos en el Día Mundial de Oración?
El Día Mundial de Oración es un gran movimiento ecuménico de unidad de mujeres cristianas en el mundo, del cual participamos desde América Latina. Estrechamos los lazos entre varias culturas, y nos conocemos compartiendo nuestras vivencias, tradiciones y actividades. Esto nos motiva a que, cada año, el primer viernes del mes de marzo, a celebrar con mucho entusiasmo, el día para orar. En este día en común, buscamos la restauración de unidad entre todas las naciones y pueblos, es decir, todas somos instrumentos del grande amor de nuestro Creador, amor incondicional para con todos los seres humanos.
En 1938, recibimos el incentivo de conmemorar el Día Mundial de Oración (DMO) aquí en Brasil. Empezó con un grupo pequeño de mujeres ecuménicas y se propagó por todo el país. La primera directiva fue formada en 1973 como Consejo Nacional del Día Mundial de Oración, luego grupos regionales se formaron en varios estados. En 1980 se aprobaron los primeros estatutos del DMO Brasil y en 1988 Brasil escribió el culto del mes de marzo con el tema “Puertas Abiertas”. En el 2017, hospedamos el Encuentro Internacional del Comité Executivo del DMO. Esto fue una experiencia maravillosa para nuestro comité nacional que recibió el apoyo de muchos grupos regionales con oraciones, ofrendas y voluntariado. Este año, conmemoramos 80 años del DMO en Brasil. Nos sentimos agradecidas a Dios por hacer parte de esta historia, y por inspirarnos a practicar el respeto, tolerancia, prudencia, sinceridad, comprensión, amistad, fe y esperanza.
Siempre divulgamos el lema del DMO - informar para orar y luego colocar nuestras acciones en práctica. Por eso, cada año compartimos las ofrendas recibidas desde las celebraciones locales con tres diferentes entidades que ayudan o capacitan a las niñas y niños, mujeres y ancianos. La celebración es en varios idiomas aquí en Brasil por ser un país de muchas culturas. Son más de 1.200 cultos realizados en muchas iglesias que inclusive tienen esta celebración oficializada en su calendario litúrgico.
¿Cómo estamos divulgando en América Latina el Día Mundial de Oración? Estamos conectadas y unidas compartiendo nuestros deseos y dificultades utilizando las nuevas tecnologías para informarnos, apoyar, y superar las distancias de un país al otro.
La oración es lo más sublime que cada una de nosotras puede elevar a Dios. Todas estamos llamadas a la comunicación con Dios. La oración es la llave al corazón de Dios. La oración es el único medio para lograr una relación real y personal con Dios. Dios abrirá caminos donde no los hay. Vamos unir nuestras voces en oración por nuestra América Latina, donde hay tantas injusticias y necesidades en diferentes áreas. La oración nos da esperanza.
Hermanas, vamos a unirnos como mujeres cristianas. Jesús vino para derribar las barreras que pueden separarnos. Hay más practicas cristianas que nos unen y muy pocas que nos separan dentro del movimiento ecuménico. Vamos ser ejemplo de cómo trabajar unidas, y compartir nuestro amor para con todas. “Orad sin cesar” (1 Tesalonicenses 5:17).
La raíz de pedir por la unión proviene de Jesús, quien dijo: “Que todos sean uno, como tú, Padre, estás en mí y yo en ti. Que ellos también sean uno en nosotros, para que el mundo crea que tú me has enviado” (Juan 17:21). Como vemos, todo el movimiento ecuménico tiene un gran fundamento bíblico.
Vamos juntas, como Día Mundial de Oración, construyendo así un movimiento fuerte para vencer las barreras porque la mejor oración es amar…quien no sabe amar, no sabe orar, dice una canción.
Con saludos cordiales y cariño
- Esther Susana Menke Renner, CIDMO Representante Regional de Latinoamérica
The Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada (WICC), which includes the WDP committee in Canada, commissioned Judith Snowdon to compose a hymn to commemorate its 100th Anniversary and to reflect the anniversary theme “The Joy of Justice.”
WDPIC requested permission to share the song "In a World Full of Sorrows" as it speaks to what WDP is – “to bring comfort and nurture through action and prayer to a world full of sorrows.” Judith Snowdon, past-president of WICC, gave her blessing to WDPIC. She and WICC would be very glad to have the song used by World Day of Prayer International, and any other country with an interest, for WDP related programs. Please acknowledge the proper copyright information (see below).
Below is a sing-a-long video, originally posted on the WICC site, and the music sheet graciously shared by The Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada.
©Music and Words by Judith Snowdon
The year of 2017 mobilized churches and ecumenical movements for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. World Day of Prayer in Croatia took time to look into the past and connect the history of women in the Reformation with today’s women in WDP. We created an ecumenical project called "From the Reformation to the Reformation of the Heart." The central event was a three-day conference held in a small picturesque village of Fužine, Croatia, on May 18-20, 2018.
Women from Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia had the opportunity to meet for this conference and reflect on the Reformation and WDP through lectures and workshops. We brought together 45 participants from 12 denominations, and from 12 other civil society organizations.
From the time of pen-writing to Twitter and Instagram what can we learn from the woman of the past? The Reformation reformulated the role of women in the family, church, and society. Women gradually became involved in social life and founded societies and movements. Education gained new meaning after the first girls' schools were opened. Women were able to study the Scriptures! They soon led prayer-meetings, taught children, and even preached. They were active in the community, they helped the poor and the marginalized, and they managed large households and cultivated organic agricultural products.
At the conference, we used theatre to portray two special characters, Katharina von Bora, Luther's wife, and Argul von Grumbach, the first woman writer at the time of the Reformation. Their committed and dedicated lives were a role model for women of that time, and still are a bright example to this day. By reading the Bible they were empowered by the Word of God and changed the image of women in a world dominated by men. They were not just wives and mothers. They have changed the world by changing themselves.
It took extraordinary courage to stand for something, stand against the current status to follow the ideals, which was often overwhelmed by persecution. But what women have achieved is to know that their opinions were valued, and that as human beings they were just as valuable as men.
Likewise, the history of the World Day of Prayer begins with Protestant women around 1887, who at one point felt this reformation in the heart and stepped forward with their idea of helping by leading prayers and learning about the situation of women around the world. As stated in the WDP motto - informed prayer, prayerful action. Today, the movement mobilizes millions of participants, but it started in one heart!
And here I see a parallel between women of the reformation and WDP women. Today's women are courageous, smart and beautiful, and are willing to step up and respond to the call to fight, to strive, and to live authentic Christianity in the 21st century.
Let your heart shine! Let it spark you to do whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4,8). Above all, love and live with God everyday regardless of the circumstances.
With such a reformation of the heart, we can do great things and contribute to the expansion of World Day of Prayer in the world!
– Senka Sestak Peterlin, WDPIC Reg Rep of Europe
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.
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!
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 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.
The World Day of Prayer International Committee Chairperson, Corinna Harbig, attended the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee Meeting in Trondheim, Norway from June 22-28, 2016. The Central Committee serves as the chief governing body of the WCC until the next assembly, and is responsible for carrying out the policies adopted by the Assembly.
Besides the WCC’s usual focus on topics such as finances, nominations, public statements, and reports, much attention was given to the theme “Pilgrimage: Discerning Landscapes Together.” The Plenary discussed the “Pilgrimage for justice and peace” in four topics: Unity, the Middle East, Religion and violence, and Child Rights.
According to Corinna Harbig, “the central committee heard moving testimonies and alerting numbers from all regions of the world concerning unjust life conditions. Women and children, people with disabilities, indigenous and ageing people are the most vulnerable to climate change, war, violence and abuse, persecution, human trafficking, and poverty. But, encouraging was also the testimonies of churches and faith based organizations who are engaged in actions for justice and peace.”
The women’s meeting was a special moment for the WDPIC chairperson. Some of the issues discussed have been on WDP's agenda as they are lifted up each year by a different focus country in the worship service. Still, they continue to appeal to us for prayer and actions:
Corinna interviewed a few leaders at the WCC Central Committee Meeting with a simple and meaningful question: “What has inspired you the most in this experience?” Please, listen to their inspirational responses below:
Dr. Fulata Lusungu Moyo
Programme Executive for Women in Church and Society at the World Council of Churches
Prof. Dimitra Koukoura
Member of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ms. Necta Rocas Montes
General Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)
Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecka
Member of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church
Ms. Ingrid Mortensen Bjornstad
Steward at the WCC
Member of the Church of Norway