Dear friends of World Day of Prayer,
With our sisters from Slovenia, we sang joyfully "Come along, the feast is ready". The song introduced us to the theme based on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 14 - "Come - Everything is ready". The celebration was great. The first feedback about the program I heard was about it being positive and heart-warming. All participants are grateful.
But after the feast, we return to the liturgical time of Lent. In France, the churches invite believers to refocus their lives on God, to become aware of God's place in their lives, family, society, and in the world. There are a lot of conferences and concerts. All of them urge us to move towards the Holy Week - the passing from pain of death to the joy of Resurrection.
Suffering is present in all its forms in our world. Violence is omnipresent. But our conviction as Christians today is to strongly affirm that death, violence and suffering will not have the last word. We proclaim it every time we prayerfully repeat the Confession of our faith that “Jesus died, went down into hell and rose again on the third day”.
We firmly know that death will never have the last word again. That is why we can tirelessly say NO to violence and NO to rape. The Thursdays in Black campaign spearheaded by the World Council of Churches and supported by World Day of Prayer may be a sign of our hope.
Sisters and brothers, I sincerely encourage you to join the movement of spreading hope and say NO to all forms of violence. Together we can bring the changes that our world so desperately needs.
On Easter morning, I wish your heart to be filled with joy as the tomb is found empty in Jerusalem: "Jesus the crucified, is risen, He is risen indeed".
Receive the peace that only God gives!
- Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Chairperson
The WDP women of Slovenia invite us to pray with them. Many communities got together to learn and listen with women from Slovenia. Now, the table is set and the invitations were sent. Who would come?
We pray that we will have the wisdom to live in the moment of the feast and rejoice in it. We pray that our hearts will be ready to receive the invitation of Jesus, an invitation to love each other, and to be welcoming. Here is the challenge that Jesus presents us this year: open the heart to those whom you know nothing about. Will we dare to open the door and welcome whoever in our context is like "the lame, the blind, the crippled and the poor"? (Luke 14:15-24)
The WDP Slovenia committee has been engaged in preparations for the celebration since April 2016. Members of the committee, including current president Tanja Povšnar Vrečar, share with us in excitement:
“We want to show Slovenia in all its beauty and needs. We will be present around the world in the prayers, minds and hearts of so many. United in the same prayer, though different languages, we will worship the same God and build this international sisterhood. What a joy to do this all together!
Slovenia is a small country in Europe with a relatively well established economy, with unemployment rates down since the beginning of our WDP worship service material preparation. We have access to education and health services. But still in need to be with God, with our families and with ourselves. We get busy with our lives, forgetting to accept Jesus’ invitation to the feast. Thank you for the reminders. Please, keep us on your list of invitees and let us be the hosts for those who are vulnerable. We wish you a great celebration on the 1st of March!”
Jesus’s message of love is radical and it is expected that we – Jesus’ disciples - will put the teaching into practice. We join you in prayers that the Holy Spirit will be at work at the heart of our services and that we will be able to leave our places of celebration feeling blessed for having taken up such a challenge!
We wish you a blessed and happy feast!
- Laurence Gangloff (Chairperson) & Rosângela Oliveira (Executive Director)
“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
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!
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
Dear WDP sisters and friends,
“Am I Being Unfair to You?”
Prepared by the WDP of the Philippines for the celebration in 2017
Mabuhay! Come to the circle and tell your story!
Jesus told stories to teach about the Kingdom of God. We tell stories to make ourselves aware of God’s presence today in the world. The worship service tells the stories of Filipino women seeking for justice. This week, on our common day of prayer, from our own context we will tell the same story, reflect on the same question, and be assured of God’s generosity for all.
World Day of Prayer motto - ‘Informed prayer and prayerful action’ – is at its climax. You have dedicated time to learn about the Philippines, to connect with Filipino people in your own country, to listen to their claims and to ecumenically lift up their concerns and joys to God.
Since we started preparations for this celebration, important changes have happened to the country’s political and social context. To mention just two for its overall impact, let’s highlight the termination of the Peace Talks between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the war on drugs. The Peace Talks had the promise to reach agreements about human rights and humanitarian law, ceasefire, social and economic reforms that would alter the context of poverty, violence, and unemployment. The War on Drugs has claimed more than 7,000 lives since last July, and also the arrest of opposition voices to the government’s policy.
As our WDP sisters in the Philippines are telling us -- ‘we need the world’s prayer now’. Once again, the WDP program is timely and we trust that the Holy Spirit will carry on our prayers to fill the hearts of the afflicted. With them, we will be sent off affirming that the God of Justice calls us to plant the seeds of hope, to become fruits of liberation and love. As one voice we will offer our hands to plant, nurture, and harvest those seeds.
We want to thank all who are celebrating the World Day of Prayer. May we be sent forth with the fruits of our communal harvest by God’s sole generosity!
- Rosângela Oliveira, Executive Director & Corinna Harbig, Chairperson
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