One Day, Many Ways to Worship: Communication Ideas

WDP planners put a lot of time and energy into getting the word out!  So many of you use the press release and PSA templates to place ads in your home newspapers or on local TV and radio.  In what other ways do you let folks know that WDP is coming?  Share your ideas in the comments below–and read on for some great ideas!

“We sent letters to local churches announcing WDP and our program, put an article in the newspaper and info on TV and the radio.”

Ruth McMaster, Nebraska City, NE

“We got an announcement put on the electric marquee at the bank.” /

“Betty Marcellus, Franklin, NE

One Day, Many Ways to Worship: New Ideas

Women who plan World Day of prayer have been hard at work investing in new ways to share the experience.  Check out some of their ideas below, and write yours into the comments box below!

Many services were held on days other than March 1.  Janet Candle, in Bonne Terre, MO wrote in to let us  know that Centenary United Methodist Church had to cancel because of snow on March 1, so they held their service on it’s “rain date,” April 5.  Services were also held on March 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, and even in April.  Whenever you hold World Day of Prayer services, you are in symbolic solidarity with women of faith around the world!

“Our service was held in the evening at 6pm.  We had men, women and children present!”
Virginia Hopp, Carthage, MO

“We planned our afternoon Bible study and an evening worship.  Some came to both.  We invited people from different churches to do leadership parts in the service.  We also added a prayer walk to different places in the church.”

 Sarah Jane Gebhardt, Bucyrus, OH

“We held a service at the Senior housing center—very successful!  People enjoyed being involved and invited us back for next year. “

Barbara Schreier, Putnam, CT

“We have our service over the noon hour with lunch provided so that women who work can attend.”

June Sweitzer, New Hampton, IA

“We held our service at noon on a Friday, when young people couldn’t attend, so we made the meaning of WDP known during worship services that weekend.”

Darlene Roberts, Butternut, WI

WDP USA Invited to Santa Verena Charity 12th Annual Banquet

Santa Verena Charity is a non-profit organization with a mission to fight poverty through programs providing humanitarian assistance in Egypt, the mother country of the Coptic Orthodox Church.  They also serve in Sudan, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico and Hawaii through short-term trips and projects. For more information about Santa Verena Charity, visit: http://santaverena.org/

Santa Verena Charity was a 2014 grantee of World Day of Prayer USA for their work in Cairo, Egypt. On October 5, 2014, Susan Skoglund, a WDP USA board representative was invited to attend the 12th Annual Banquet of Santa Verena Charity at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Long Beach, CA. Susan was a honored guest of Executive Director, Dr. Mary Mikhail. The event was well attended by the Coptic Christian community of Southern California and inspired many to continue to support the work of Santa Verena Charity.

To read more about the Santa Verena Charity 12th Annual Banquet from Susan Skoglund, click here.

WDP USA Board Meets

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The WDP USA Board met April 12-14 in New York City. During the weekend meeting, Kathleen Clark was honored for her years of service to WDP USA as Assistant Treasurer. Kathleen (pictured above, front row, first from the left) has been instrumental in making connections for WDP in Iowa and throughout the US!

On Saturday, among other business, Susan Jackson-Dowd (front row, center) was elected Chair, and Jullia Tulloch (back row, first from right) elected Treasurer. On Sunday morning, the board got a sneak peak at the Egypt service for 2014 and found it surprisingly moving. We can’t wait to share it with you this fall!

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The board discussed some changes for the materials in 2014: improving our online ordering and download system and putting more items online, for free download or for a small fee. This will help smaller groups save money on materials, and will help us all save paper, while opening up access to WDP to a new, online generation.

WDP at Ecumenical Advocacy Days!

EAD-crowd-300x123Over 800 people from more than 55 Christian denominations met in Washington, D.C. April 5-9 for the 10th Annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days ConferenceEcumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, grounded in biblical witness and  shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Its goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen the Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.

Minnesotans meet with their representative.
Minnesotans meet with their representative.

Each year, Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) focuses on a different theme, with workshops throughout the weekend about the theme, including skills-building advocacy workshops.  On Monday each year, participants in the conference participate in “lobby day,”  heading up to Capitol Hill to meet with their representatives and share a faith perspective on current legislation.

This year, the theme of EAD, “At God’s Table; Food Justice for a Healthy World,” focused on the Farm Bill.  Learn more about this legislation and how you can get involved by visiting the EAD site!

WDP Program Director, Meagan Manas, third from left, pictured with members of Ecumenical Women at the United Nations participating in Ecumenical Advocacy Days.
WDP Program Director, Meagan Manas, third from left, pictured with members of Ecumenical Women at the United Nations participating in Ecumenical Advocacy Days.
This year for the first time, World Day of Prayer USA had a booth at EAD!  We shared information about WDP, postcards about WDP 2014, and invited folks to sign up for our email list.  Special thanks to the local volunteers who helped out at the booth!  We couldn’t have done it without you!

One Day, Many Ways to Pray: Materials

Many of you do things to adapt and change the materials for WDP to fit your community.  This year, we provided an online “bare-bones” template to help put your bulletin together.  Despite some wrinkles, especially with downloads, many of you expressed gratitude for the online options for ordering this year.  Rest assured that we are working to solve the problems in time for order season 2014!  Below are some ideas used in congregations across the country.  How did you adapt the materials this year?  Let us know in the comments section below!

“We used the Leader’s Guide to adapt a prayer card for Informed Prayer, Prayerful Action.”

Jane Weber, Alta, IA

“We didn’t have enough leaders so we did congregational readings of the prayers, with alternating between the different sides of the center aisle in our church.”

Pearl E. Zehr, New Wilmington, PA

“We used some of the material in the Planning Guide as a program for our women’s group prior to the WDP event.  Some of these may also be used later for small group study.”

Rev. Teresa Bartlett, Miles, IA

One Day, Many Ways to Pray: Activities

Different communities plan and adapt activities during the Meditation time in the WDP Service for their own congregations preferences and comfort levels. What did your planning team try?  Let us know in the comment section below!

Salida, CO WDP Planning Team at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Photo by Jean Hanfelt.

Salida, CO WDP Planning Team at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Photo by Jean Hanfelt.
Salida, CO WDP Planning Team at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Photo by Jean Hanfelt.

“We did the optional activity—each one received 3 colors of crepe paper upon arrival and turned to their left and shared when they had been a stranger and were welcomed, also to the person on their right.  Everyone tied the paper together as we were seated in a large circle, and then formed a heart on the floor around a world globe.”

Janice Sorge, Merced, CA

“We found out as soon as you speak to a stranger, they are no longer a stranger.  We thought it was a very interesting program and split it up into three main parts—one for each participating congregation to lead.  We used the interactive activity with three colors of ribbon.  Each person told about when they were a stranger to the next person and then tied their ribbons together to make a long string.”

Faith I. Specht, Marcus, IA

“Rather than have a processional, the 24 women simply gathered in a circle of chairs around the piano.  The meditation was a group discussion about when we have been strangers and who the strangers are in our own community.”

Betty Schaffer, Easthampton, MA

One Day, Many Ways to Worship: WDP Speakers

WDP Planners reach out in their communities to invite a variety of interesting speakers to present during the Mediation time in the service.  Here are a few ideas from around the country.  Did your community bring in an interesting speaker?  We’d love to hear about it–add your voice in the comments section below!

“Sister Bonnie Kennedy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the guest preacher, presented a Power Point on her involvement with girls who are held as sex slaves in the community. It was an eye-opener as we were not aware that this took place in own community.”

Amy Bisnauth, Jamaica, NY

“We had a speaker from a local church where a Spanish-speaking congregation is yoked with an English-speaking one. She and that group have done much to welcome the stranger.”
Linda Nicholson, Indianola, IA

“We hosted a speaker from a local homeless shelter.”
Marjorie Wagner, Fremont, OH

“We hosted an Immigration Lawyer to talk about current changes in US law.”
Diane Jackson, Santa Rosa, CA

“Our County Councilperson accepted our invitation, participated in service and met with participants and pastor at the reception following the service.”
Sharon Heimiller, Kingsville, MD

MPANZI at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

On Friday, March 8, Andrea and Meagan, staff of WDP USA, attended an event sponsored by Mpanzi, held as part of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  Mpanzi was a 2012 WDP USA grant recipient, so we were eager to hear their stories firsthand.  Mpanzi is dedicated to promoting peace and development in rural African communities through education, women’s empowerment, health and livelihoods.  The focus of this particular workshop was on how faith communities can help to end the cultural practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM).  We heard from Christine Mangale, a board member of Mpanzi and Program Coordinator for the Lutheran Office for World Community, and from Jackie Ogega, Co-Founder and Director of Mpanzi.

Among the other presentations, Jackie shared with us her own experience of FGM.  She told us about the courage it took to finally have a conversation with her mother and sister about their shared experience of FGM, and about the commitment she had made to her own daughter, now in college, to not let her be cut.  Jackie told us that for her, going through FGM is a kind of coming-of-age ritual that young girls, including herself at the time, look forward to.  If we want to end FGM, Jackie told us, we must help communities to develop new ways to acknowledge girls’ becoming part of adult society.

Another presenter, Ann Marie Wilsom, from 28 Too Many, shared with us that the practice of footbinding was eliminated in 16 years once organizations began a coordinated effort to end it.  She shared her hope that FGM can be eliminated in 3 generations.  By supporting Mpanzi, each woman who is part of WDP USA is contributing to this work!

From Left to Right, Meagan Manas, WDP USA Program Coordinator; Christine Mangale, Mpanzi Board Member; Jackie Ogega, Mpanzi Co-Founder and Director; Andrea Miskow, WDP USA Administrative Coordinator
From Left to Right, Meagan Manas, WDP USA Program Coordinator; Christine Mangale, Mpanzi Board Member; Jackie Ogega, Mpanzi Co-Founder and Director; Andrea Miskow, WDP USA Administrative Coordinator

World Day of Prayer at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

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We know that women have a long history of working together across denominations to pool their strengths, skills and resources.  One organization that embodies this history is World Day of Prayer (WDP).  Working in over 170 countries, World Day of Prayer invites women to join together in solidarity of prayer and action every year on the first Friday in March.  A different country is assigned to write a worship service on an assigned theme each year, and then women and men around the world celebrate that service on the same day, collecting offerings that are granted out to organizations that work with women and children on issues related to the year’s theme.

This year, the first Friday in March was also the Friday before the start of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).  “I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” the focus of this year’s worship service, written by France, brought the stories of immigrant and migrant women out of the shadows.  Migration often creates situations in which violence against women and girls can be perpetrated–the theme of this year’s CSW.  You can learn more about the UN Commission on the Status of Women at UN WOMEN.

On Tuesday, March 5, World Day of Prayer International Committee and World Day of Prayer USA Committee co-hosted a reception for women who participate in WDP and those who are interested in learning about it.  There was time for the 60 or so people who gathered to share the stories of how their prayers and actions are being impacted by what they were learning at the CSW.  Check out the videos for a sampling of a few.








photo2Mary Button led an interactive art project where the women who came wrote out prayers that were transformed into flowers: bringing our prayers into blossom!