World Day of Prayer Lebanon committee members joined the campaign “Thursdays in Black" during our October meeting. We wore black and discussed how violence against women and children goes undetected as there are no laws to protect them in our country. Around the table, we shared some stories. One of the members, who represents the National Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), on our WDP committee shared the following stories.
A 25 year old Lebanese woman who had left her house after a lot of suffering brought about by her husband. She did not have anyone to help her as her parents were very poor and her father was very sick. She resorted to a counseling center that transferred her case to the National YWCA shelter. There, she was helped to file a case of marital separation and gain custody of her daughter. She was assisted by psychologists to reestablish her self-esteem, after which she followed the “Nurse Aid training” program which helped her find a job and become independent.
She also shared the story of a 26 year old Lebanese woman, divorced and a mother of two. She lived in a very close-minded society, where a divorced woman is not accepted. She suffered from all kinds of psychological pressures, deprivations, and repressions. At one point her own brother tried to kill her. She fled from home and resorted to a Christian organization that assists women in crisis, providing shelter for up to two years. Later, with the help of the National YWCA social worker, she was able to get custody of her daughter who was freed from the abusive father. She got training and was able to find a job and take care of her daughter.
Still today, as we all know, there are women in different parts of the world living in situations of violence but are afraid to talk about their suffering. Sometimes these women simply do not know that there could be better alternatives for their difficult conditions. The stories mentioned above have showed that women can overcome violence when they find community support. However, many stories have very tragic and sad endings. The WDP Committee of Lebanon has supported organizations that help women who suffer violence and abuse through prayer by donating the offerings from WDP services on the first Friday of March, to them.
“Thursdays in Black” can be a good reminder to all of us to take part in helping women and children. Let us pray and act for a world without violence, especially against women and children!
- Maral Barzekian Haidostian, WDPIC Regional Rep of the Middle East
The World Day of Prayer Committee of Palestine is grateful to God for so many blessings among which is the challenging responsibility of living and witnessing in and from the land of Jesus’ resurrection which announced the message of liberation, salvation and peace. No less important is the privilege of belonging to the WDP movement for over half a century, learning from and sharing with sisters around the world creative ways of becoming more involved in prayerful actions to do the Will of God. “Showing forbearance to one another in love preserves the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3), enforcing respect and equality among all of God’s creatures.
Praying from the Middle East with our sisters from Suriname in 2018 and with the Slovenians in 2019, we realize that the grievances of female human beings, though not identical, are basically similar. Though many people believe that man and woman were created to be equal (Genesis), they ignore or deny women’s rights to live in dignity despite religious teachings, all universal laws and human rights conventions. “All God’s Creation is very good” reminded us our sisters from Suriname, yet we have depleted and destroyed the earth, and we neither protect nor respect the environment.
In Palestine, we can still hear Jesus crying over Jerusalem “If you had known on this day the things which make for peace” (Luke 19:41). The injustice that is prevailing in Jesus’ Land has been so outrageous that back in 1994 the WDP of Palestine invited sisters from around the world to “Come, See and Act” hoping that together, we could reestablish unity, reconciliation and a just peace. Today, the suffering of the oppressed, mostly children and women, is even more acute but the world refuses to learn “the things that make for peace.”
Slovenia’s theme “Come to the table: everything is ready” is inviting us to accept the challenge of actively sharing and joining all those who are willing to be part of the Kingdom of God.
- Nora Carmi, WDPIC Regional Rep. of the Middle East
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
We have a new poster! It showcases 99 years of World Day of Prayer history.
From 1927 to 2026, the poster displays the themes and writer countries which have motivated our prayers and actions.
Hanging this poster on your wall to promote WDP is a great way to start traveling around the world. The poster is an educational tool to talk about the issues that we have raised awareness and advocated for over generations. It also demonstrates where in the world women are leading this ecumenical movement.
Besides that, this year we incorporated expressions of WDP within the seven regions in which we are organized: Africa, Asia, Caribbean and North America, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and Pacific. You can invite the children and youth to match the photos with the theme and the region. Have fun!
There are two ways that you can order the poster. You can order a printed copy from the WDPIC office or you can order the art design and have it printed yourself. The poster size is 20 x 30 inches.
For more information or to place an order contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The prices are:
1 to 10 posters = $ 6.50 each poster plus shipping;
11 to 99 posters = $ 5.50 each poster plus shipping;
over 100 posters = $ 4.50 each poster plus shipping;
Digital Art Design = $100
WDP Slovenia preparatory meeting in Costa Rica. PC: Rebeca Cascante-Gómez
El Día Mundial de Oración es una celebración que nos da la oportunidad de conectarnos de manera concreta con mujeres del mundo. Es una conexión espiritual, novedosa, creativa que rompe fronteras y permite conocer un país y su realidad, pero creo que principalmente cada año, él nos conecta con la esperanza.
Hoy donde el mundo aparentemente está más conectado en medio de tantas redes y tecnologías y en donde la mayoría de la población tiene acceso para conocer otras realidades, se vive la contradicción de la desconexión. Estudios han confirmado que entre “más se está conectado” menos “conectados estamos, con nosotras mismas, los demás y la naturaleza.
Desafortunadamente a esa desconexión, se agrega el hecho de que en los países de nuestra región las posturas políticas, las crisis económicas y los fundamentalismos también están separando y dividiendo a la sociedad. Estamos enfrentando la intolerancia e irrespeto a quien piensa o es diferente y como consecuencia genera una pérdida de relaciones entre los seres humanos, el individuo, la sociedad, las iglesias y la familia. El Día Mundial de Oración es como una semilla de esperanza pertinente a la conexión y acción en medio de estas realidades que están tomando fuerza.
Cuan apropiados son los temas que Surinam y Eslovenia nos plantean. “Toda la creación de Dios es muy buena” (Surinam) y “Vengan que todo está preparado” (Eslovenia). Miles de mujeres durante el 2018 y para el 2019 estamos siendo retadas a que volvamos la mirada a la creación, a la diversidad y a todo lo bueno que Dios creo. Salgamos a la realidad que nos rodea y está ahí en nuestros patios y lugar donde vivimos. Valoremos y respetemos la diferencia de la humanidad que enriquece la vida. Cuidémonos mutuamente afirmando nuestras diferencias como parte de esa creación. Animémonos a entrar en contacto directo con toda la creación que es muy buena, disfrutémosla y cuidémosla para brindarla saludable a las futuras generaciones.
Desconectémonos de lo que nos distancia y conectémonos unos con los otros y otras. Dejemos de discriminar a quien es diferente y piensa diferente, invitémosles a nuestra mesa. Abramos nuestra mente, nuestra casa, nuestra mesa a aquellos que están más vulnerabilizados como la gente migrante. Escuchemos sus historias en vivo. Abrasémonos.
Juntas como movimiento del Día Mundial de Oración y más allá de las fronteras humanas construyamos conexiones que lleven esperanza.
- Rebeca Cascante Gómez, CIDMO Representante Regional de Latinoamérica
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
The 21th century has brought a new way of communication: the connected world through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and any other social media network. How can our movement find its place in this world and especially how can the “old” generation evolve with the “young” generation and its new way of communication?
Most of the committees in Europe still use the post, or human resources to distribute the materials for the celebration or workshops but some committees have started to use social media networks to communicate, inform and stay in touch. It’s not always easy to take this step, especially, when you have two different generations in a committee, the one that is used to paper & mailing and the other using social media. It’s not always easy to explain how or why social media networks can be a good opportunity to connect more people with WDP but it important to incorporate these tools into our methodology.
Yes, the world is running faster and faster and sometimes we feel as though we are out of the loop, but only using old means of communication is not always a good solution.
Thinking of our last International Meeting in Brazil, WDPIC did a great job with the Facebook page of the International Executive Committee. Updated information is a great way to connect the whole world with WDP.
The best for WDP is to have a mixture of different means of communication: the old ones and the new ones. It is not always easy but it may be the key to engaging young women. I really encourage the different committees in Europe to find which method of communication works best and to incorporate old and new methods when sharing WDP news!
- Emmanuelle Bauer, WDPIC Regional Rep. of Europe
Greetings from Canada!
This year, we at the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada celebrated 100 years of growing God’s kingdom in prayer, unity, and social justice!
In 1918, Bessie McMurphy invited representatives from the Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Boards to come together at the first meeting of what is presently known as the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada (WICC).
In 1920, the first national interdenominational Women's Day of Prayer in Canada was held in Lindsay, Ontario. Later, in 1926, women in Canada and the United States joined together to distribute prayer services for an international day of prayer. One hundred years later, the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada is still home to a beautiful assortment of unique passionate women of all ages, backgrounds, and denominations, all united in our quest to restore hope to women touched by injustice.
Our celebration took place at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 23rd, 2018. Over ninety people including former members, past presidents, friends, family, and other members of the WDP community came to celebrate with us. We were honoured to have Rosângela Oliveira, World Day of Prayer International Committee Executive Director, come and speak to us and extend her congratulations.
Also speaking at our celebration were three grant recipients: Beloved Women, an outreach project focused on women refugees from Syria in the Greater Toronto Area; the Student Christian Movement, supporting Cahoots, an innovative annual festival of faith, social justice, and do-it-yourself (DIY) activities; and the Cadence Leadership Resource, a leadership development program for Indigenous women. These were only 3 of the 21 grants that WICC was able to support through WDP funds!
For more information on grant recipients, their stories, or to apply for a WICC WDP grant from anywhere (ANYWHERE!) around the world, head to https://wicc.org/grant-programs/. We were able to fund $80,000 worth of grants this year! What a way to celebrate 100 years!
Check us out on Facebook to learn more at: https://www.facebook.com/WICCanada/
- Lauren Wilks, Regional Rep. Caribbean & North America