Women’s World Day of Prayer
The Women’s world day of prayer (WWDP) is unique. It is the largest ecumenical movement in the world, being the only one where Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic and Evangelical Christians come together to worship and pray for mission. The movement’s particular focus is upon the experience of women and children throughout the world. That they might experience the love of God, through a relationship with Christ and that awareness might be raised in terms of women’s experience of conflict and discrimination.
The origins of WWDP date back to the 19th century, when Christian women in the USA and Canada initiated a variety of cooperative activities in support of women’s involvement in mission at home and abroad. The vision was one of building unity across denominations, with a focus upon the social issues of the day. In 1928, a woman from Scotland called Grace Forgan learned of WWDP and the first services were held in the UK from 1930 onwards. The Second World War was a time of great growth, drawing women together in prayer and fellowship. The reforms of the second Vatican Council enabled Catholic women to take part for the first time in the late 1960s. Today there are over 3000 branches of WWDP across the UK holding over 5000 services.
Each Country has its own national committee and is part of a regional grouping. Every 4 years representatives of these national committees gather in a different area of the world to share experiences of the WWDP; to select themes and writers for the worship services; to make grants to committees and projects that are in real financial need; and finally to consider ways the movement might grow. The last meeting was held in June 2012 in America, where Corinna Harbig of Slovenia was elected as the next president of the movement, along with the countries that over the next 5 years would draw together the material for each year’s service.
So on Friday 3rd March at 9.30am the Leigh section will be joining with our ecumenical partners within the town, to enjoy a time of worship and fellowship at St Clements, with a service drawn together for us by Christian women from the Philippines. The theme of the service is “Am I being Unfair to You?” It will have been translated into 1000 different languages and dialects, to be used through out the world. The first service will begin at sunrise in the island of Samoa and continue until sunset off the coast of American Samoa.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, struck the Philippine Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. This will be talked about in the service, but you will also hear of a girl, a mother and an older woman, recounting their situations and their hopes and fears. The service focuses on the bible story of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) and there will be reflections on the artwork of Rowena Laxamana-Sta. Rosa, who designed the poster at the top of this article.
WWDP always prides itself in saying that it’s not just for women and that all are welcome. So come along. Meet new friends, catch up with some old ones, have your consciousness raised and hear about God at work within the Philippians, knowing that your contribution of prayer, makes a difference in bringing about transformational change within God’s world.
Lord, forgive us, for we are fragmented persons.
We go many directions at once.
We seek opposite goals; we serve contradictory causes.
We mouth liberation, we live oppression.
We shout peace, we practice violence and anarchy.
We shout justice, we walk in injustice.
We preach love, we practice hate.
Through your compassion have mercy upon us and make us whole.
Enable us to discern your voice among the dissonant voices.
What does the Lord require of us?
National Council of the Churches of the Philippines
God of power. God of People.
We are the life of all that lives, energy that fills the earth,
vitality that brings to birth,
the impetus towards making whole whatever is bruised or broken.
In you we grow to know the truth that sets all creation free.
You are the song the whole earth sings,
the promise liberation brings,
now and forever.
Miriam Therese Winter: “Women Prayer, Women Song”
Medical Mission Sisters