Work Options for Women (WOW) 2013 Grantee

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Imagine being a single mom with no skills, needing to provide for yourself and your child. Or suppose you are a victim of domestic violence, needing to break away and make your way in the world, or perhaps you find yourself among the homeless. What will happen to you? World Day of Prayer works to meet the needs of disadvantaged women and children by coming alongside organizations like Work Options for Women (WOW). This group, based in metropolitan Denver, trains women and helps them obtain entry-level employment in the food service industry. Since its inception in 1996, hundreds of women have learned marketable skills and are living  useful and fulfilling lives. Your gifts enabled World Day of Prayer to grant $4000 to the work of WOW.   -Marlene Chase, WDP USA Board Member

To learn more about WOW visit here.

Celebrate the Fourth by Welcoming the Stranger!

The 2013 WDP theme of welcoming the stranger feels poignant in these days around the July 4 national holiday.  As we remember that this place is a nation of immigrants, we also remember our country’s history of privileging one group over others, who became outsiders.  What better way to celebrate freedom than to work for the reform of immigration policy.  The Center for American Progress ran an in-depth piece this week about the history of people of faith working to welcome strangers throughout our nation’s history.  Check it out to learn more.

Happy International Day of Friendship!

Did you know that today is the International Day of Friendship?
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The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.

The resolution (A/RES/65/275) places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.

The Day is also intended to support the goals and objectives of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).

To mark the International Day of Friendship the UN encourages governments, international organizations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

How do you celebrate international friendship and young leaders in your World Day of Prayer community?

Introducing the 2013—2014 Horizons Bible study

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Each year Presbyterian Women produce an ecumenical Bible Study based on a theme of current interest and written by a woman.  The study for 2013-2014 focuses on stories that take place in Egypt, the WDP writer country for 2014, and themes of migration and immigration, the WDP theme for 2013.  Perhaps this study could serve as a bridge in your community between WDP 2013 and WDP 2014!  Read on for more information.

An Abiding Hope: The Presence of God in Exodus and Deuteronomy
By Janice Catron

The books of Exodus and Deuteronomy invite us to remember that the central actor in human experience—in our own lives and in the experiences described in Exodus and Deuteronomy—is God. Our God is one who redeems, who brings liberty and fulfillment even when we do not deserve it, when we cannot redeem ourselves. We have the assurance of God’s abiding presence as individuals and as a community of faith. This presence helps us see that God’s redemption is more than a “saving from” harsh circumstances; it also is a “saving to” the fullness of life God intends for humanity.

In this nine-lesson Bible study, Janice Catron invites us to explore Exodus and Deuteronomy with her and see together the promise of what our relationship with God can be and the realities of what that relationship often becomes. It is God our Redeemer who, by grace, gives us the power to help ourselves and others live into the fullness God intends for us, and to move forward as people who have been set free.

To learn more, visit http://horizons.pcusa.org/bible.htm. To order, call Presbyterian Distribution Service, 800/524-2612, or visit http://store.pcusa.org/.

June 20: World Refugee Day

With this year’s WDP focus in immigrant and migrant people, we felt it was especially important to lift up World Refugee Day.  Each year on June 20th the United Nations and countless civic groups around the world celebrate World Refugee Day.

World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. Millions need your help.

Most people in America don’t realize – there are over 43.7 million refugees and internally displaced people around the world and of those, UNHCR provides lifesaving assistance and protection to 34 million of them.

Imagine being the mother of a sick and hungry child and having to decide between risking your life staying in a conflict or leaving behind everything in search of safety. UNHCR provides tents, shelter, supplies and life-saving services to refugees – 80% are women and children. Millions of refugees need help all around the world – 1 family torn apart by war is too many.

You can watch refugees tell their stories on this United Nations website, which also have several good ideas for taking action.

And here is a prayer you might use today, or in your worship service on Sunday, to remember refugees, and all who are forced to leave their homes, just like Jesus and his family once were.  Find more worship resources on the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service website.

A Prayer for Refugees

Our Gracious Lord,

There are many in Your world today who have been forced from their homes by persecution and violence.

Keep them in your constant care, and bring them to a place of safety.

Be the Good Shepherd to refugees who are in flight. Guide them to the green pastures of safety.

Be the Everlasting Father to refugees who have lost home and loved ones. Lead, protect and provide for them.

Be the Great Physician to refugees who are suffering. Grant them healing and hope.

Be the Hiding Place to refugees who are languishing in camps. Shelter their souls as well as their bodies.

Be the Deliverer to refugees who have been able to return home. Restore their lives so that those who have sown in tears may reap in joy.

Be the Wonderful Counselor to refugees who have been resettled. Help them find their way in a new land.

Be the Giver of all good gifts to those who serve refugees. Empower them to do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with You.

Be the Lord of lords to all the earth, that those who rule would do so in justice and righteousness, and no one would have to become a refugee anymore.

We ask these things in the precious and powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Share Your Story: Shivonne

WDP asked Shivonne, from Princeton, NJ, how she got involved in WDP and what keeps her interested.

shivonne-e1371138279404-225x300As a member of the Nora F. Taylor Women’s Missionary Society at The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, I am always working to engage and serve the local, national, and global community. While I was no stranger to the World Day of Prayer movement, I had the esteemed honor and privilege to participate in the International Meeting activities held in New York City in June 2012. Some volunteers from the ministry served alongside myself to host, and aid as tour guides, for the hundreds of women who traveled from throughout the world for this very important event. As someone who has a heart and passion for missions, my perspective was broadened from one of the worship services at The Interchurch Center, and through spending a day with sixty-five women learning about their passion for Christ, His church, and our ability to reshape the world around us through our gifts and, more importantly, prayer. I would like to impress upon anyone who is considering joining forces in this movement that its mission transcends denominational, cultural, and racial lines. World Day of Prayer concerns itself with all things that pertain to Christ, the church, and the society it inhabits. I would encourage all women of any age to become involved. Join the movement today.

Accpeting Applications for 2013 WDP USA Grants Through July 15!

Apply for a WDP USA 2013 Grant!

Before submitting an application, please carefully review the eligibility requirements to determine that your organization is qualified for funding from World Day of Prayer, USA.   Then, using the outline below as a guide, please prepare a formal proposal, and email it as one document (Microsoft Word or a pdf) to info(at)wdp-usa(dot)org.  Please feel free to send additional materials, such as photos, graphics, or videos as attachments.  We give grants in the range of $500-$5,000.  The deadline for applications is July 15, 2013.

Download the application.

Eligibility Requirements:

This year, preference will be given to organizations working with migrant and immigrant people, in line with this year’s WDP theme.

All requests for WDP USA funding should:

  • Reflect the mission of World Day of Prayer, USA
  • Affirm the worldwide and ecumenical concern for justice, peace and the integrity of creation
  • Provide services and/or effective advocacy for underserved and marginalized populations, particularly women and children
  • Benefit the target population without regard to religious affiliation

With respect to project support, WDP USA prefers not to fund:  administrative salaries, benefits and expenses, utilities, rent and insurance.  Capital expenditures are generally not considered unless they are central to the specific goal of the project.

One Day, Many Ways to Worship: Claremont, CA

Carolyn Kingshill, a resident of Pilgrim Place in Claremont CA, sent us a report of how her community adapted the WDP materials to be used during their half-hour weekly vespers service.

Here at Pilgrim Place our Vespers are 30 minutes in length, and the stage at Decker Hall only accomodates about five people.  Those two reasons had much to do with how I edited the Service.  Several of the women who told me following the service how good they thought it was–a few had never attend WDP before!

You can download the order of worship Carolyn used here.

WDP Offerings at work in the Philippines

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One of the 2012 WDP USA grants went to International Justice Mission.  The project they requested funding for involves working with women survivors of human trafficking in Cebu, Philippines.

On the night they were rescued from trafficking, the high school-aged girls shared their stories with IJM and government social workers. They played games and spent the night in a safe shelter.

Arlette Daluz, Director of Strategic Partnerships for IJM, writes to the WDP USA community:

On the night they were rescued from trafficking, the high school-aged girls shared their stories with IJM and government social workers. They played games and spent the night in a safe shelter.
On the night they were rescued from trafficking, the high school-aged girls shared their stories with IJM and government social workers. They played games and spent the night in a safe shelter.

I pray that you would see the critical role you’ve played in the rescue and restoration of these young women in Cebu. Thank you for your partnership in God’s kingdom work and for loving these girls as if they were your very own. God bless you…

Here’s more information about what your offering dollars are doing!
Download the IJM May 2013 Investment Update and Story of Transformation, or scroll down to read more.

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World Day of Prayer Investment Update, May 2013

Because of the World Day of Prayer’s generous support of IJM, your passion for rescuing and restoring the broken, and your faithfulness in serving the God who loves the least of these, our team was enabled to show up to rescue the children and women who were trapped in the sex industry in Cebu.  Your 2012 gift made it possible to together commit to the long battle of not only rescuing individuals, but also changing justice systems so that they work to actually protect the poor from ever being abused in the first place.  On behalf of those who today are waking up in freedom instead of dreading another day of hopeless violence, and on behalf of those who will be spared from ever knowing a day of horrific abuse, thank you. May this update be a great encouragement to you, as you see how your love for the vulnerable and your investment in sustainable, long-term justice is reflecting the glory of our good God on the earth

We are so grateful for this chance to praise God with you for all that he has done in Cebu to rescue and restore victims of sex trafficking. In 2012 in Cebu:

  • 114 victims of sex trafficking were rescued from the nightmare of sex trafficking (Goal: 55).
  • 30 suspected perpetrators were arrested (Goal: 25).
  • 10 perpetrators were convicted, sending the message that violence against vulnerable women and girls will not be tolerated in Cebu (Goal: 12).

An additional exciting development is the momentum being gained in the Philippines’ commitment to providing top quality aftercare services to survivors of sex trafficking, including the following two milestones:

1.  For years, the team has struggled to find creative solutions for ensuring that trafficking survivors’ transitions from shelters back into communities are successful. The team is thrilled that last year, a new Reintegration Support Network (RSN) in Mandau City, part of IJM Cebu’s project area, was established. Once victims are released from aftercare shelters, the local social welfare office is responsible for providing ongoing care, including providing group counseling and other vital resources like parenting classes or vocation training. Unfortunately, local social welfare agents are often overworked and under-resourced. To address this gap in service, IJM helped to develop the RSN as a new physical space within the city social welfare office where our clients can come to receive these necessary services from both social welfare agents as well as from volunteers and IJM staff. By the end of 2014, the IJM Philippines team hopes to work with officials to set up three more RSNs in Cebu and Manila.

As an example of the type of services these RSNs provide, in October 2012, the Cebu FO Aftercare Team hosted the culmination of the 5-week Photography Class conducted by Cebu FO’s Communications Fellow, held at the Mandaue City RSN Center. Photos taken by our clients were displayed in a Photo Gallery Event to honor our 7 client participants for their hard work and accomplishments.

2. It is vital that immediately after rescue, survivors of sex trafficking have a safe, welcoming place to go as they await processing and placement. HerSpace, a highly successful victim processing space developed by the IJM Cebu team, enables law enforcement and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to:

  • Keep victims separate from suspects immediately after they are removed from the crime scene
  • Protect rescued victims and removed non-victims from potentially intimidating police station environments;
  • Enhance the effectiveness of aftercare assessments prior to shelter placement; and
  • Provide investigators with the best opportunity to gain critical evidence and intelligence from victims and witnesses.

We are very excited to report that after months of lobbying by the IJM Philippines staff, a new victim processing space, SafeSpace, modeled after the Cebu team’s HerSpace, began construction in 2012 in Manila and is anticipated to be operational in late 2013. This is a great example of how the work you are supporting in Cebu is not just benefiting victims of trafficking in Cebu – it is changing the experience of victims of trafficking all throughout the Philippines.

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Story of Transformation

One of the best ways to say thank you and demonstrate the profound impact the work of IJM has for its clients is to simply tell stories – stories of restoration and renewed hope for those who are suffering under violence. We hope you are encouraged by this story of a new kind of Christmas for victims rescued from sex trafficking in 2012.

CEBU, THE PHILIPPINES – Three girls who had been trafficked and routinely sold for sex were rescued late last week in an undercover operation. The girls shared similar stories: all came from extremely impoverished families. The youngest was only 14 years old. What had started out like so many other dark nights on the Cebu streets ended with a new beginning.

IJM Cebu assisted the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with the rescue on December 5, providing logistical support leading up to the operation and on-the-ground expertise that night. As NBI officers arrested the suspected trafficker, other police officers and IJM staff escorted the trafficking survivors to the government shelter where they received immediate crisis care.

At the shelter for trafficking survivors, the girls started to open up about the abuse they had endured. One 17-year-old said she had met the trafficker a year ago at school. He befriended her and told her she was pretty, eventually inviting her to a party. She went, and it was there that she was first sold for sex. That night, the man who intended to exploit her took her to a hotel. She managed to escape, but it wasn’t the last time the pimp would sell her. She grew quieter as she recounted more. She said she had been sold to more than half a dozen other men over the course of the year.

Another girl explained how she had grown up living in a makeshift community, literally inside the city dump. All of the girls rescued that night had dropped out of high school, citing financial reasons – and fear. One of the girls said she wanted to go back to school, but she was afraid of the “gangsters,” afraid of getting hurt again.

The trafficking survivors spent the night at the shelter, mostly quiet in between answering questions and talking or playing card games with one another. But the next day they were watching TV, and a Christmas special started playing carols. Suddenly uninhibited, the girls started singing along.

“It was a beautiful moment because it was so simple,” explained one of the IJM team members helping provide crisis care, “While we sang the Christmas song, I saw hope flicker in their eyes and joy gleam across their smiles. And I couldn’t help but wonder how this Christmas might be different than the others they had celebrated; this Christmas, they were given the gift of freedom.”