In 2012, the women of WDP Malaysia wrote the World Day of Prayer worship service under the theme “Let Justice Prevail” based on Luke 18:1-8. The WDP offering is a sign of our worldwide prayers, as we can learn with our sisters in Malaysia, who dedicated the offerings to support the following projects that involve women and children - Elshaddi Learning Center, Project Hope, Malaysian Care, Single’s Mothers Home, Sengoi Educational Development Program, and Indigenous women’s training.
There are more than 19,000 refugee children in Malaysia and the numbers are increasing. These children are denied entry into government schools and private schools are very expensive. Education is the basic right of children and without an education these children face a bleak future. The Elshaddai Learning Center caters to refugee children and offers both primary and secondary education. Currently the school has 550 students from Myanmar (Rohingya and Chin tribe), Indonesia, Pakistan and Cambodia. This education gives the students a basic foundation while their families await relocation to other countries. Similarly, Project Hope aims to provide indigenous children with housing closer to schools so they may have easier access to their education and prevent drop outs. Donations are used to buy books and provide tutors to help the children meet the proficiencies required by the Ministry of Education.
Malaysian Care is a Christian organization that provides diversified services for rural and urban communities. The WDP offering was used towards a project dedicated to helping women and children affected by substance abuse and living with HIV/AIDS. These people are often abandoned and need urgent assistance for basic necessities like medication.
The Single Mother’s Home is a local community based project which was started in 2011. It currently houses eight single mothers, who are either widows or victims of domestic abuse, and their children. The home is rented and relies on donations to continue operating. Without this home the women and children could potentially face a hard life on the streets and be exposed to dangerous situations.
The Sengoi Educational Development Program was initiated by a Methodist Church as part of their mission work among the indigenous Sengoi tribe. The program aims to educate the Sengoi and empower the new generation to raise their standard of living and economic welfare. Their action plan is to train secondary school students to become pre-school teachers and earn a degree in Early Childhood Education. Other programs in development with the Council of Churches of Malaysia and Indigenous churches involve leadership training for rural women. Regular seminars and workshops are held where indigenous women are encouraged to become more active in their church and community life. They are taught how to identify the issues faced in their community and consider solutions.
The Women’s Work Committee of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, who organizes the WDP services, is grateful to all of the countries who donated their offerings to support these projects. The opportunity to put into practice the WDP motto of ‘Informed Prayer. Prayerful Action’ and make a difference in someone’s life is something the committee is incredibly thankful for.
- Based on reports by Mary Thomas Mathew
Moderator, Council of Churches of Malaysia, Women’s Work Committee
“Come, everything is ready” – with the invitation from Luke 14, 15-24, the Word Day of Prayer (WDP) services were celebrated all over the world united by the prayers written by women of Slovenia. On Friday March 1st 2019, the Slovenian women celebrated the 2019 service and the 20th anniversary of the very first WDP service held in Slovenia simultaneously.
In 1999, Ljudmila Smid, a Slovenian migrant worker in Switzerland, first encountered the WDP movement while working there. When visiting with a group of Slovenian migrant workers back home, around the first Friday in March, she took the initiative to organize a local WDP celebration. She encouraged Greta Rothmeier Klancnik to invite some friends in Rogaska Slatina to the first worship. They were inspired by the movement and continued to organize services every year.
In 2001, the first WDP service organized by a German speaking parish was held in the capital, Ljubljana. The two groups connected and expanded their community by inviting women from different parts of Slovenia to a preparatory workshop. By 2002, the service was celebrated in four places and the movement started to grow.
The impact of this new movement was marvelous. For most of the women, it was the first time they could meet other women on an ecumenical level. Together they read the bible and shared their experiences of wisdom, joy and sorrow which lead them to prayer. To have women preparing a worship service, and more than that - an ecumenical service, was innovative in Slovenia. For many women WDP has had an immense impact on their growth in faith and self-confidence.
Learning annually about a different country from another region of the world has helped to open up their hearts and minds, to widen their horizons and to share their own lives with others. “Informed prayer – prayerful action” moved the groups to identify people in their surrounding areas living in difficult situations and organize help for them.
Being the writer country for 2019 was at the same time a challenge and a gift for the young WDP movement in Slovenia. After three years of hard work, the invitation has spread all over Slovenia - “Come, everything is ready.” The committee raised support for people and groups in need. The movement was officially acknowledged by church authorities. It is growing and celebrations were held in 8 places. They are on the way to being registered as a non-profit organization.
I have been a part of the process since 2001, and at this moment, I am overwhelmed and grateful for the gift of WDP and its impact on the Slovenian women. The little seed planted twenty years ago has grown into a wonderful tree with branches of ecumenical sisterhood, encouragement, and awareness of the responsibility for God’s creation.
- Corinna Harbig, former WDPIC chairperson and member of WDP Slovenia
The 2019 WDP theme “Come, everything is ready!” reminds me that we have to answer the invitation each day. The invited had said "Yes" and then, when the time came and their host had gone to great trouble and expense, they turned their backs on him.
Our decision to be faithful to Christian values, build ecumenical relationships, and promote World Day of Prayer is not to be taken for granted. Sometimes it is easy, but sometimes it is hard to keep promises. The theme motivates me, as Chairperson of the committee, to use my talents, time and energy for what God has planned.
People all around the world were praying with and for Slovenia. Armenian women in Aleppo, Syria and 3,000 women in South Africa – just overwhelming! I get goose bumps when I imagine that. God was already working and many miracles have happened since the start of the preparations in 2016 in Slovenia.
Being the focus of the WDP program, challenged us to expand our circle, which meant involving people who could help with the writing of the worship service materials and songs, to take pictures that represented Slovenian life, to organize activities, and to promote the celebrations.
As a result, two new WDP local groups were formed and two new children services were celebrated. We hope that more blessings are still to come. Also, we feel ready now to take a new organizational step. We want to grow from an informal WDP committee to a registered legal organization in Slovenia. We feel we can reach out to regions that we are not yet present in and increase participation of young women and new moms.
Our prayers are turning into action through partnerships with different organizations and groups that impact the lives of women and children. A nice relationship grew especially with Home for Mothers and ASPI centre for people with Asperger syndrome. We also are involved with the Trauma Healing project in partnership with Bible Society of Slovenia.
One can see the impact of being a writer country just by realizing how WDP Slovenia is evolving, growing, consolidating, and building communities… like a red carnation flower blossoming from a small bud.
- Tanja Povšnar Vrečar, WDP Slovenia Chairperson
The Writer Country Workshop for Vanuatu 2021 was held in Port-Vila, Vanuatu, from April 9th to the 13th. The workshop officially started the writing process and the world will discover the global result on March 5, 2021.
Between 2018 and 2021, a continuous process made up of meetings, writer groups, reviews, translations, adaptations, celebrations and finally, reports, will take place.
For the women of Vanuatu, the time has come to gather together, to work ecumenically and to develop what was started in April 2018. A decision was made among the committee that every Sunday morning they would come together in personal prayer and make this WDP writing process a priority.
It was such a privilege to be part of this workshop! As the theme “Build on a strong foundation” and the focus “Live Wisely” were explored by the women of Vanuatu, who had come from across the nation to participate, it was not hard to be excited for what God has planned for these women and the nation of Vanuatu in 2021.
For many participants, this had been their first opportunity to represent and lead their denomination. As friendships where established, it was wonderful to see the denominational barriers broken down. To hear the voice of Vanuatu women, their joys, their hopes and their struggles. God has chosen this group of women to be heard across the world in 2021.
Women attending the workshop shared their stories of having to leave their homes under threat from volcanic activity. Some had travel plans disrupted by a cyclone looming off the coast. We learned so much about our sisters and are eager to continue this journey with them and share their stories.
Let us join these women in prayer, as they continue to work on the materials for 2021 and remember that….
Coming together for World Day of Prayer we are all just sisters in Christ and Gods children.
- Laurence Gangloff (WDPIC Chairperson) & Vicki Marney (WDPIC Pacific Regional Rep.)
Women from different islands and different denominations have gathered together this week to begin developing the WDP Vanuatu 2021 service and bring the voices of the Vanuatu women to the rest of the world. WDPIC Chairperson, Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Executive Director, Rosângela Oliveira, and WDPIC Pacific Regional Representative, Vicki Marney, led and facilitated the meeting.
The writing of the worship service and resource material is an ecumenical and collective process. Each participant of the workshop is a potential member of the writing working groups. And each member of the extended community in the country is a supporter of the process through their prayers and wisdom.
This workshop is the beginning of an exciting journey to study and understand the Bible text, develop the theme, and create a stimulating service for World Day of Prayer!
On March 2nd 2018, women around the world launched the program written by World Day of Prayer Committee in Suriname with worship services and educational activities. The theme is “All God’s Creation is Very Good!” It invites us to reflect on how we treat the Earth, the animals, and how we relate to each other as human beings. It highlights the importance of each and every aspect of God’s creation and our responsibility to be the caretakers of creation as God intended us to be.
Below are just a few of the stories, more will happen over the year. The worldwide experience of the program will be published in the 2018 Journal.
In Suriname, many gathered for the service to pray, sing, and share in unity with the world.
The World Day of Prayer 2018 is soon to be celebrated around the world on Friday the 2nd of March.
Suriname as the theme country is very excited and also humbled to be the center of all your prayers.
We enjoy and thank you all for your interest in our country, culture, music, artwork and the service. It was very beautiful to see and hear about all of your preparations for the different services. The Suriname committee is very proud and enthusiastic as well, and we have also brought this celebration to the attention of our government.
However, along with the enthusiasm to celebrate we must also reflect on the fact that we have to take better care of our environment and of God’s creation. God prepared and created a world for us that was very good. Unfortunately we did not appreciate what we got as a gift, and treated it very poorly. Today we, and also the whole creation, suffer from the damages that we have brought to it mostly because of our greed and strive for comfort and/or convenience.
The earth where we have to live in is suffering. Our rivers, oceans and air are polluted, the ozone layer is damaged, and many countries suffer from terrible disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis and so on. Even the animals in the rivers and seas get wrapped up in our plastic waste. Beautiful creatures go extinct because we do not care enough to stop hunting them. Many children are born with disabilities because of the pollution in the rivers and the air. In the various visits we brought to the government we also expressed our concern for our environment.
Today and every other day, we the women of the Suriname World Day of Prayer committee want and will take a stand to plead for God’s creation.
We will confess our shortcomings before God and ask Him to forgive us and to help us be better care takers of His very good creation.
“All God’s creation is very good”
WDP Suriname Chairperson
Although the first Friday of March is just one day of the year, behind that are months of ecumenical conversations, thinking, planning, learning, sharing, friendship, prayer and then action!
The preparations for the World Day of Prayer are happening in your community right now! Here are just a few stories:
“We are busy organizing activities with local communities around the country. We are planning WDP activities in Metro Manila, Rombon, Baguio, Iloilo, Mindoro, Mindanao - Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Davao and Kidapawah.
The various activities encompass a dance showcase by Indigenous peoples, a gathering of evangelicals and Roman Catholic women, welcoming women from WDP Germany, and finalizing a poster with the Bible Society.
I wish I could gather all of the groups we are working with together for mutual encouragement and inspiration.”
- Prima Formilezza, WDP-P Chairperson
"En Costa Rica, sigue la preparación para el programa dedicado a las Filipinas. La próxima etapa, será el taller en Guatemala. Y así se va profundizando la experiencia colectiva y ecuménica de animar las comunidades a la oración y acción.
"In Costa Rica, the preparation for the program dedicated to the Philippines is underway. The next stage will be a workshop in Guatemala. This is going to deepen the collective and ecumenical experience of encouraging communities to prayer and action."
- Rebeca Cascante, regional representative of WDPIC for Latin America
In Planina, Slovenia, the preparatory workshop for the Philippines celebration was held in early January. All together there were women from Austria, Germany, Bolivia, France, Croatia, and Slovenia. Later in January, the WDPIC chairperson will be in Albania for another workshop.
Here is a link to a video interview of the workshop leaders and participants. Skip ahead to minute 26:20 to begin the interview portion: http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/obzorja-duha/174449034
ENGLAND, WALES AND NORTHERN IRELAND
Since September, leaders of WWDP in the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland have been busy with the Preparation Days. There are workshops and services all over the country. Our WDPIC Executive Director has been able to attend some of the workshops in London, UK.
Click here for information: http://www.wwdp.org.uk/preparation-days/
This video was made by the WDP Cuba Committee to showcase the celebration as it was held in La Habana, Cuba on March 4, 2016.
The video contains clips of the service, which was held at the First Reformed Presbyterian Church of La Habana, where WDP was celebrated in Cuba for the first time in 1930. Many people participated and were proud to be part of such a inspiring service, especially the women of WDP Cuba. They felt incredibly blessed to be given the opportunity to organize this service and share a little bit of Cuba with others around the world.
The video also contains interviews from:
Ormara Nolla Cao, WDP Cuba Committee Chairperson
Rosangela Oliveira, WDPIC Executive Director
Joel Ortega Dopico, Council of Churches of Cuba Chairperson
*This video is in Spanish*
After 60 years of being present in the country, women from Zimbabwe are getting ready to be the writer country for the celebrations in the year of 2020. From September 8-9, a Strengthening National Committee Meeting was held with almost 30 people in Harare. They came from different parts of the country and from different denominations. WDPIC executive director Rosângela Oliveira and WDPIC Africa Regional representative Joyce Steiner with the support of WDP Zimbabwe led the meeting.
The writing of the worship service and resource material is an ecumenical and collective process. Each participant of the workshop was a potential member of the writing working groups. And each member of the extended community in the country is a supporter of the process through their prayers and wisdom.
The workshop goal was to build an understanding of what will entail to develop and write WDP worship service and resource material for the annual celebration under the theme “Rise! Take your Mat and Walk”. Together we revised the Guidelines for a Writer Country to provide an overview of the complete writing process, components of the worship service and resource material package, timeline and the skills needed to work on this intense and voluntary process. WDPIC will be back in Zimbabwe in 2017 to launch the writing process with the Writer Country Workshop.
Before leaving the country, there was an opportunity to attend the WDP Zimbabwe General Meeting, Sunday service at the Salvation Army, and listen to the Tuesday rehearsal of the Great Harare Women’s Choir at a United Methodist Church. There are several choirs in the country involved in WDP celebrations. It is one of the highlights of WDP in Zimbabwe.