Women from more than 100 countries, representing their World Day of Prayer (WDP) National Committees, will attend a meeting of the World Day of Prayer International Committee (WDPIC) from June 10-17, 2012, at The Interchurch Center in New York City. The Interchurch Center has been home to many denominational offices in its time, and today houses the offices of WDP International Committee and The WDP USA Committee, as well as offices of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, Church World Service, The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Women.
World Day of Prayer is a worldwide ecumenical movement of prayer and action centered in an annual worship service held on the first Friday of March. Each year the service is written by a group of women from a different country, translated into more than 90 languages and celebrated in tens of thousands of local communities in about 170 countries, including over 2,000 communities in the USA. WDP got its start as groups of women gathered to pray and collect money for mission in the late 19th century.
Currently chaired by Annette Poitier of the Bahamas, the WDPIC meets every three to five years to share experiences of World Day of Prayer, hold regional meetings, select themes and writer countries for the annual worship service, elect an Executive Committee, and consider ways by which the movement may grow. Previous gatherings have been held in Sweden, Thailand, Mexico, Zambia, Germany, Jamaica, Australia, South Africa, Canada and England.
This year’s meeting marks a transition in organizational staff as well, as Eileen King, who has served as Executive Director of WDPIC for the past 25 years, retires from her position. “I’m grateful for 25 years of partnership with women all over the world in authentic prayer that gives voice to women—and for the power of God’s grace when grassroots women move from prayer into action,” King reflects.
Coming on as Executive Director will be Rosangela Oliveira, previously a United Methodist Women Regional Missionary with women in Latin America. “As I enter this worldwide community of women, I feel that I am becoming part of a cloud of witnesses, who pray in many languages and hold hands with strangers. This meeting is a chance for women leaders of WDP to explore more deeply what that might look like,” Oliveira says of the upcoming gathering.
The theme of the meeting, “Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters,” will encourage the women who attend to live out the WDP motto “Informed prayer and prayerful action.” Participants will travel around NYC to visit groups that work with immigrant and migrant people, in preparation for WDP 2013, written by France, on the theme “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Highlights of the week include:
- Use of a “transformative education” model to aid participants in experiencing and understanding prayer and action as interwoven strands in the same tapestry. This model combines education, justice, action, WDP business, prayer and spirituality as parts of a whole picture that can help women identify needs in their communities and discern a response.
- Bible Study on Matthew 25 presented by Glory Dharmaraj, Executive Secretary for Justice Education for the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church and Administrator of the United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs
- Bible Study on Hagar, a Migrant Woman presented by Ulrike Bechmann, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Graz, Austria, former Executive Director of the German World Day of Prayer Committee, experienced Bible Study leader and speaker on topics of Feminist Theology in Germany and internationally. Most recently presenter at the PhyllisTrible Lectures at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, N.C.
- Justice Visits, with NYC-area organizations that work with migrant and immigrant communities
- International displays and cultural presentations of song and dance
- Visits with area hosts to attend worship at local churches and sightsee in NYC
- Blog posts and video clips from participants and the meeting will be posted at www.wdp-usa.org/category/blog
The meeting will be hosted by the World Day of Prayer USA Committee and a local ecumenical committee drawn from the NYC area.
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For more information, or to arrange an interview with delegates, Eileen King, Rosangela Oliveira or Annette Poitier, please contact admin(at)worlddayofprayer(dot)net or call 212-870-3048.