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)
Does Christmas have a special color in your country? In the region where I live, the colors used are mostly red and green, while elsewhere I have seen white or purple. What memories do they bring to you?
We reach the end of the year making plans for the celebration on March 1st 2019 written by women of Slovenia. We set the table, and go out to the streets to invite “Come, everything is ready.” Some will come with their hearts heavy of suffering, others, anxious for a break from their daily struggles. Together, we will realize that change begins with the recognition of God’s love.
Christmas is the time in which we make room to welcome Jesus, Emmanuel, the Prince of Peace. As Jesus’ witnesses in this frightening world, I hope that we hold the Prince of Peace in our hearts a little longer than the Christmas celebration. I wish the Holy Spirit gives us courage to confess without fear the love of Jesus for all.
Friends of the World Day of Prayer, thank you for your commitment, support and dedication to “Informed Prayer. Prayerful Action”. We had an enthusiastic response to this year’s theme, developed by women of Suriname, who left us, more than before, conscious of our responsibility as caretakers of God’s creation.
"May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in faith" (Romans 15:13)
Merry Christmas and happy, blessed New Year!
- Laurence Gangloff
Today on the last day of the 16 Days of Activism we recognize Human Rights Day!
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the day the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to ensure every human being - regardless of race, color, religion, or sex - is protected through inalienable rights.
We celebrate the anniversary by highlighting a story shared by our Caribbean & North America regional representative, Ruth V. E. Phillips:
“I am a 51 year old pastor who grew up in a Caribbean family which was punctuated with fights and beatings between my grandparents, my aunts and their husbands or boyfriends, my mother and my father, and my mother and my sister’s father. All on my mother’s side of the family. I made up my mind that that would not be me!
"I worked my prayers, and my faith in believing that I must have a life different to the life my grandmother, mother and aunties had, have brought me to where I am today. Praise the Lord. No longer does the abuse happen in my family because I teach my son that love does not strike to cause pain. I teach him by example of the way I live about abuse. I talk it out. I pack the hurt with love. I forgive."
Read the full story on the WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace blog, click here.
The Pacific Region is just as diverse in its culture as well as its geographical terrain. The beautiful islands of the pacific are a vast contrast to the inland deserts and plains of Central Australia.
WDP Committees across the Pacific are preparing to celebrate World Day of Prayer, Slovenia 2019 - “Come -Everything is Ready!”
The preparations in my region of Australia are well under way. The last Monday of October each year, brings dedicated women, mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters together to pack and distribute the materials for over 200 planned World Day of Prayer services. Programs are printed with the order of service, youth and children’s programs, advertising posters and music sheets and CD’s are packed for distribution.
Many of these services are held in communities in remote areas, where WDP is welcomed on the first Friday of March as a chance for the community to come together for fellowship. Many services are followed by a feast. This gives the community an opportunity to share and feast on God’s word in an ecumenical setting.
The invitation has been sent, for WDP 2019, just like in Jesus’s parable, Luke 14:15-24. In Jesus’ story many people turned down the invitation to the banquet, because the timing was inconvenient. We too can resist or delay responding to God’s invitation, and our excuses may sound reasonable – work duties, family responsibilities, financial needs, the list could go on. Nevertheless, God’s invitation is the most important event in our lives.
Let’s join in prayer that the invitation for World Day of Prayer, Slovenia 2019, is accepted across our nations, that the banquet table is full, so all can feast on God’s word.
- Vicki Marney, WDPIC Pacific Regional Rep
"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
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