2016 Grants

Lydia’s House, St. Louis, MO.  (www.lydiashouse.org)

Lydia’s House works to end domestic violence by being a place of healing for abused women and their children.  Founded in 1995, it is the only program in the St. Louis area providing confidentially located, transitional housing specifically for abused women and their children.  Their plans for the grant include:  monthly bus passes for residents, over the counter medications and co-pay costs for families in the program as well as school physicals for the children and school supplies.

Latino Union of Chicago, Chicago, IL  (www.latinounion.org)

The Chicago Coalition of Household Workers is the program this grant will be sponsoring.  They collaborate with low-income immigrant workers to help them develop the tools to improve their social and economic conditions. The goal is to develop leadership within the immigrant worker community and create feasible alternatives to the injustices immigrant workers face.  They equip domestic workers with the tools to protect their health, safeguard their wages, to understand their legal rights and how to seek recourse for sexual violence at work.

World Student Christian Federation, North America, New York, NY (wscfglobal.org)

Ecumenical Transformative Diakonia: Border Solidarity Program and School of the Americas Convergence.  This grant will help students from the US and Canada immerse themselves in issues of migrant justice, border patrol violence, US and Mexico trade and migration policies, deaths of migrants in the desert and other relevant topics.  There will be educational activities, biblical and theological reflections and recommendations for advocacy work on migrant justice.  Participants will take what they learn during this trip and in turn educate other people about border related issues and become activists and advocates locally and nationally. 

Leadership Improvement and Social Advocacy Center (LISAC), Cameroon

Rescue our Girls and Stop Genital Mutilation is a program at LISAC that campaigns against genital mutilation in Sabongari, a town in the northwest region of Cameroon. 
They intend to educate the community about genital mutilation, rape and gender abuse that usually goes unpunished by traditional councils.  They intend to lobby traditional leaders and train teachers and volunteers to educate others.  They will hold discussions with community leaders, chiefs and Ngumba traditional council members to educate them about these issues.
EDAN (Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network) part of the World Council of Churches

EDAN develops proposals and strategies to ensure that disability discourse is deepened in theological institutions and churches in Cuba.  They also work towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the life of the church and society.  Objectives include:  lifting the self-esteem of families with children with disabilities,
promoting healthy recreation and entertainment suitable for children and teaching the value of Christian faith to live the abundant life Jesus offers, whatever the circumstances.


Diaconal initiative "Something New for Children" (Algo Nuevo para los Niños), Santiago de Cuba Province.  Orthodox Church of God, Cuba

Their program works to reduce the damage to children of alcoholic parents. 
The mission of the church is to work on prevention and rehabilitation.  Working with the community and making the church a place of coordinated action with other sectors of society to reach shared solutions.  Children meet at the church twice a month and participate in a summer camp. 

Women and Gender Program of the Cuban Council of Churches, Cuba

This program works with women around the country via workshops and religious services to discuss gender equality and a culture of peace. Participants learn about gender violence, its prevention and ways to break free, among other issues.

Iglesia los Aigos Cuaqueros (Church of the Friends, Quaker)

This orphanage is for children whose parent/s have been incarcerated.





Mrs. Arvella Austin Strong
World Day of Prayer USA Board Member


As a World Day of Prayer (WDP) USA Board of Directors, I was afforded the opportunity to travel to Cuba on March 29 – April 7, 2016.  This invitation from the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, Pastors for Peace encompassed travels to the providences of Havana, Matanzas and municipalities of Varadero, Luyano, Cardenas, Santa Marta and Triunvirato.

Our delegation of fourteen faith-based travelers from California, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York desired to heighten our knowledge of Cuba, its people and culture.  A three-day feminist theology conference, “Spiritual Journey of Wisdom and Love, “ held with representatives from the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the USA fostered an added interest in our visit to Cuba.


Celebrated in over 170 countries, meeting the women of Cuba who prepared this year’s materials for the WDP 2016, “Receive Children, Receive Me,” was of special interest.  Present and past board members, Rev. Shivonne McKay, Mrs. Patricia Penn and I exchanged highlights of our celebration events, both in Cuba and the US.   

Several sites visited in Cuba, addressed the concerns of rural poverty and overexploitation and the needs and aspirations of the present without comprising the ability of future generations.  The Bellamar Caves and Gardens and the Demari Farm were two such sites.  We observed firsthand Cuba’s world famous health care systems, day care centers for children and senior citizens, homes for children without parental protection, and a center of Afro-Cuban culture and religious practices.


Most impressive was the residential school for youth and adults with Down’s syndrome and other neurologic conditions, “La Castellana.” Their motto, “Only love creates wonders,” was exemplified by the numerous creative arts in crafts, dance, singing, and pantomime, as well as their agricultural skills.  And the Museum of The Slave Route which chronicled the life of Carlota, a slave woman who led an uprising in 1843.  Although killed during the uprising, even after 173 years her heroic presence still has a great impact both inside and outside of the island.

We dialogued with representatives of the Cuban Women’s Federation, a secular organization dealing with domestic issues.  And with Cuban women of Afro, Spanish and European ethnicity concerning issues in their society today. The effects of the new economic changes, race and class issues, their view of the ‘opening” with the US and President Obama’s recent visit.  On Sunday we worshipped, mostly in Spanish, at Varadero Presbyterian Church.  During our tour, we visited several others churches to familiarize ourselves with the syncretization of the African religions with the Spanish Roman Catholic practices called Santeria. And Catholic versus Protestant churches.

Many of us bathed in the blue waters of Cuba by moonlight.  Adapted well to our sparse, mid 1950’s but pristine accommodations.   Our meals were simple but plentiful. Breakfasts each day consisted of eggs, papaya, guava, pineapple, bread and coffee.  Lunches and dinners consisted mostly of rice and beans, fresh salads of lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers, vegetarian dishes, pork, chicken or fish entrées, and modest desserts with Cuban coffee in demitasse cups.

Cuba, a country surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean is 90 miles off the coast of Florida.  A country with free education, health care, 98% literacy and 94% high school graduation.  A country where we felt safe enough to stroll around neighborhoods, shopping and eating. We met and interacted with Cubans as well as travelers from various countries.

Although freely touring the socialist country it was evident the country has many challenges.  The country’s economy is weak and lacks many of the material items so freely used in the U. S.  Many Cubans have difficulties purchasing what we consider basic needs.  They also must adjust to the dual currency system, one of which equates to US dollars.  The government provides each citizen with ration books amounting to $19 US dollars and if employed an average monthly salary of $25 US dollars.  A fresh pineapple we were told cost $15 US dollars.  

Before leaving the Island on Eastern Airline (which has begun limited operations once again) we contributed monetary gifts, clothing, toiletries, over-the-counter first aid items, school, art and computer supplies to community agencies and churches.  A proud friendly people, Cubans desire more travelers to visit their country, meet their people, hear their stories and influence changes for a more prosperous society.

A Blessing from Cuba

May God bless you with discomfort …
At easy answers, half-truths,
And superficial relationships,
So that you may be able to go ever deeper within your heart.

May God bless you with anger …
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you can work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears …
To shed for those who suffer pain, Rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may be able to reach out your hand
And comfort them, and turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough insanity …
To believe that you can make a difference in this world,
So that you can do what others proclaim to be impossible.


Cuba Travel

Dreams really do come true! This is how I felt, stepping off the Eastern Airlines charter plane at San José Marti airport in Havana, Cuba. I never imagined that my first visit to Cuba would be by way of service. Cuba had been on a bucket list that I derived for myself of places to travel in 2016. When the opportunity came in a correspondence from World Day of Prayer to travel on a delegation with Pastors for Peace, I quickly jumped at the chance.

The events around our travel all seemed divinely orchestrated. Though President Barack Obama signed the executive order that would lift the fifty year embargo on December 17, 2015, direct flights from the United States were not yet occurring. The delegation’s adventure began with twelve persons from various mainline denominations across the United States. Our two-week stay began on March 28th, with our departure meeting point being Miami, Florida. As we made our way from Miami International airport to Havana, Cuba, anticipation filled each of us as many did not know what to expect.  The atmosphere was everything that I imagined and more. The air was crisp, clean and warm and the people beautiful and friendly.

There was so much excitement in the atmosphere. Only days earlier President Obama visited Cuba with his family on what was dubbed a historic trip. He was the first sitting president since Eisenhower to visit Cuba. Now, here we were, a group of ministers from the United States to explore the political, social, and religious landscape only days after. The knowledge we would gain would be invaluable.

My attraction to the Cuban culture began with the knowledge of their history as a revolutionary people. From learning of the class and race distinctions inculcated into society as a result of the Spanish American War, to the revolution that would catapult Fidel Castro into power overthrowing the Batista regime the experience can prove overwhelming. Having the opportunity to visit and delve into the culture as we were, much of the myths about Cuba, the people and its leaders had been debunked. The Cuban people are a resilient people.  I’ve always felt this kindred connection. Maybe it is because my kinfolk derive from only thirty miles away from the island of Jamaica.

I was in awe from the number of patrons who visited the San Lazaro church where sunflower offerings and prayers and petitions for healing were normal. Immediately, I attempted to draw the parallels of the Protestant church experience in the United States with that of our brothers and sisters. Between the robust colors of the women who express themselves through the ancient African Yoruba religious tradition, to learning the rich history of slave heroine Carlota, was awe inspiring.

One cannot help but to feel the deeply rooted sense of spirituality that is imbibed in the every aspect of Cuban culture. In this way, it is clear why the people have this sense of pride. As a young, clergy activist, I received just as much inspiration from the Spirit of Wisdom conference held at Mantanzas Seminary where the world renowned Mujeurista Theologian Ofelia Ortega was celebrated and reminded each of us of our divine responsibility of service to God and God’s people through love and social justice. The same inspiration was evoked in Veradaro Beach as I was able to take in the picturesque view of God’s creation and ponder on the necessity to God self and others. I couldn’t help but reflect on how I would be of greater service to the contexts I currently serve such as World Day of Prayer, and the United Methodist Church, my family, and my Cuban brothers and sisters. 

I will forever be grateful to the divine calling of God to serve on the board of World Day of Prayer. It is no coincidence that this year’s theme and materials would be spearheaded by the World Day of Prayer Cuban women. The successful and powerful compilation of materials that would prophetically pronounce, “Receive Children, Receive Me” would be a testament of where we are all children of God across continents. A wonderful opportunity was offered through this life-changing trip to learn, grow, and connect with others and life in a way that would only inspire a greater faith movement.

Shivonne McKay, WDP USA Board Member

Emanuel AMEC Prayer

The World Day of Prayer USA Committee grieves for the loss of life and laments the violence suffered by the members of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, June 17 2015.

We offer our prayers on behalf of the victims – Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Depayne Middleton Doctor, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, and Myra Thompson – their families and friends who grieve their loss, and the city of Charleston.

As an organization of Christian women dedicated to the cultivation of peace and justice through prayer and action, we are committed to standing in solidarity with the members of Emanuel AMEC in resisting and challenging the laws, ideals and attitudes that support and promote a racist society. We urge people across the country to commit to prayer, self-reflection, and action in an effort to root out the scourge of racism that for too long has plagued our nation and continues to inflict violence upon its people. We urge the church in its many contexts and incarnations to lead the way in this effort: to unite as the body of Christ in the work of healing and reconciliation. We stand on the promise of God as written in Psalm 147 verse 3, “God heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” We pray with faith that God will restore the community of Charleston and communities like it.

Holy God, we pray this day for the people of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, especially for the nine souls who died at the hands of hate and who now reside with you. We pray for their families and friends: for comfort in their grief and an awareness of your love. USA distance calculator We pray for our nation, and ask for your healing Spirit to work in our hearts, that we may be inspired to work to end the racist hatred that festers in our communities and continues to wound the body of Christ in the world.

World Day of Prayer USA Board:                                                                                     

Susan Jackson-Dowd, Chair

Roshin Abraham

Marilyn Pagán Banks

Marlene J. Chase

Inez Torres Davis

Romi Hall

Ruth Lindsay

Mary Martin

Shivonne McKay

Patricia Jones Penn

Susan Skoglund

Esther Stephen

Arvella Austin Strong

Julia Tulloch

Itang Young


Nellie Choi

Andrea Miskow

Announcing: 2015 Grant Applications

Grant Application: 2015 Submission Guidelines

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@wdp-usa.org. Please feel free to send additional materials, such as photos, graphics, or videos as attachments.

The deadline for applications is June 8, 2015.


2015 Focus Areas:

This year, the women of the World Day of Prayer Committee of The Bahamas wrote the world day of prayer service. We will focus on making grants to organizations in The Bahamas, and to domestic and international organizations that address the areas the women of The Bahamas have identified:

  • Domestic violence
  • Women in the workplace
  • Eco-justice
  • Refugees and migrant workers

Eligibility Requirements:

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.

Reaffirmed Friendship with Church Women United

Representatives from CWU and WDP USA at the 2014 WDP service. From left to right: Djamillah Samad, CWU National Executive; Marilyn Lariviere, CWU National President; Susan Skoglund, WDP Board Member; Andrea Miskow and Meagan Manas, WDP Staff.
Representatives from CWU and WDP USA at the 2014 WDP service. From left to right: Djamillah Samad, CWU National Executive; Marilyn Lariviere, CWU National President; Susan Skoglund, WDP Board Member; Andrea Miskow and Meagan Manas, WDP Staff.

World Day of Prayer has been an integral part of the lives of church women in the United States since the prayer movement’s inception. Church Women United (CWU) units across the country continue to gather in celebrations of this special day on the first Friday in March annually. For many years CWU was the national sponsor of World Day of Prayer in the United States. In 2005, the World Day of Prayer International Committee established a World Day of Prayer USA Committee to oversee WDP in the US.

On World Day of Prayer 2014 leaders from CWU and WDP USA signed a new memorandum of understanding affirming our supportive relationship and mutual commitment to work together.  Read the full text of the memorandum here.

World Day of Prayer needs YOU!

World Day of Prayer is searching for five new Board Members to fill vacancies in the classes of 2016* and 2017*! Do you know someone who would make a great WDP USA Board Member? Find out if they (or you!) would meet the requirements we’re looking for.

The Board strives for a composition that is interdenominational, intergenerational, multi-cultural, and inclusive of women who serve as chaplains, missionaries, and seminarians. Particular attention in elections will be given to ensuring diversity of age, race and ethnicity, denominational affiliation, and geographic location.

The Board of Directors consist of

  • 15 members – women who are at least 18 years of age
  • active participants in a Christian denominational and/or church-related women’s organization and will actively support World Day of Prayer

Source: WDP USA Bylaws (Article II, Board: Section 2, Number and Qualifications)

Qualifications and capabilities required:

  • Service as a representative (local, national, international, etc.) of a Christian church women’s organization or a Christian ‘constituent ‘ organization
  • Experience with and/or commitment to WDP on the local level
  • Commitment to global ecumenism, global cooperation, and sharing responsibility
  • Knowledge of organizational procedures, budget development/financial oversight experience (or willingness to learn) with responsibility for financial wellbeing of an organization
  • Ability to give the necessary time to the WDP Board and its work
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to work cooperatively with staff
  • Basic computer and internet literacy

*At this time, we are especially seeking the following skills: funds development, movement-building/networking, social media, and marketing/public relations.

Qualifications, experiences, and skills desired but not required:

  • Experience living in and/or knowledge of other cultures/languages
  • Knowledge of the needs of women, children, and families in different situations and conditions around the world
  • Experience with projects which support women and families
  • Theological training and/or adult education in theology
  • Experience with liturgy, Bible study, and music
  • Experience in leadership training, workshop presentation/facilitation, and public speaking
  • Experience working with websites and/or social media
  • Skills in writing, editing, and resource promotion/marketing
  • Experience in grant writing and other facets of funds development
  • Experience developing an organizational budget and keeping clear financial records

WDPUSA Board Meetings

The Board typically meets twice a year in New York (Spring and Fall) at a location determined by the Board. Travel and lodging costs for meetings are covered by the Board funds. Meetings are scheduled from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.

Responsibilities and Roles of Board Directors

Board members:

  • Maintain and implement the global vision of World Day of Prayer while also supporting the financial health of the movement;
    Share responsibility for providing guidelines and resources to the many groups who organize and carry out World Day of Prayer services and celebrations in the USA;
  • Advocate for World Day of Prayer celebrations and services in local communities, among denominational, church-related groups, etc., including promotion of WDP at local, regional, or national conferences;
  • Share talents, skills, information, and knowledge in Board deliberations;
  • Serve on Committees of the Board;
  • Make decisions about financial grants (through offerings received) to be disseminated to various organizations that provide services to women and children throughout the world who are often adversely impacted by global factors;
  • Cultivate/identify prospective Board of Directors;
  • Perform other responsibilities required to carry out the work of the Board.

(Bylaws, Article II: Section 4)

Board Meeting Attendance Policy

Unexcused absence from two (2) regular meetings of the Board in any 12-month period (without limitation) will be considered cause for removal. Excused absences can be arranged and approved with the WDP USA Committee Chairperson prior to meetings.

Click here to download the Nomination Form.  Follow the directions on the form to submit it by June 1, 2014.

*Board Members serve until the end of the calendar year of their “class” year.

Announcing: 2014 Grant Application!

**Please note: Grant Application deadline has been extended to June 1, 2014!**

It’s here!  World Day of Prayer 2014 and our 2014 Grant Application!   Read more below on the kinds of projects WDP USA will fund this year, or download an applicationGrant Applications are due on Sunday June 1, 2014.

2014 Focus Areas:

This year, the women of the World Day of Prayer Committee of Egypt wrote the world day of prayer service.  We will be especially focused on making grants to organizations in Egypt, and to domestic and international organizations that address the areas the women of Egypt have identified:

  • Clean water
  • Girls’ education
  • Interfaith cooperation and dialogue
  • Poverty, Migration and Refugees

Eligibility Requirements:

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 under-served 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.


Advertise or Find a World Day of Prayer Service

Here at the World Day of Prayer USA office, we get a lot of phone calls from folks looking for a WDP service but not sure where to find one.

If you’re looking for a service:

We keep a running list of services online here.

Keep checking back, we are updating this list all the time!

If you’re hosting a service:

We don’t have any way of knowing when and where your service will be unless you let us know.  So please send us an email telling us when and where, and any other important details to info(at)wdp-usa(dot)org, or leave us a message at 212-870-2466!