by Wes Bloom
World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian women from more than 170 countries around the world who welcome everyone to join in action and prayer for justice and world peace. The motto of the movement is ‘Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action’. It was originally called Women’s World Day of Prayer, but that has recently been changed.
Traditionally, World Day of Prayer is observed on the first Friday of every March, but that day may vary slightly within the different local chapters. The movement has been active for nearly 100 years. Since 1812, however, women have encouraged one another to engage in personal prayer and lead communal prayer within their individual mission’s groups.
This year’s program was written by women of Slovenia, one of the smallest countries in Europe and a recent addition to the WDP movement. This year, the focus of the group has changed somewhat from its usual and all important focus on prayer to include drawing attention to Creation and the deplorable conditions that exist in the world today.
Here in Saskatchewan, and closer to home at the local level, World Day of Prayer is active and effective.
Organizers in Rockglen this year were Sharon Heagy, of the Faith Harvest congregation, and Carla Yost of Wesley United Church. The service was held at the Rolling Hills of Home Lodge on March 1.
Guest speaker for the evening was pastor Marilyn Leuty of St. Paul’s United Church in Assiniboia. The local choir was made up of various members of the community and many different faiths. About 30 women and five men were in attendance at this year’s service.
“I had no idea how much work and energy went into organizing this event”, said Heagy in an interview. “Carla Yost has done it all these years, and deserves a great deal of credit and recognition for her many years of faithful service”. Heagy was delighted that “World Day of Prayer helps to expose local communities to what’s really happening in the world today. It really opened my eyes. Worldwide, it brings not just religious groups together in a common goal, but whole communities as well”.
Her wish for the future: “It would be just wonderful to have more young people involved. They have so much to offer the world!”
Assiniboia held its World Day of Prayer service on Friday, March 2nd, at Zion Lutheran Church. There were about 30 women, and five men in attendance.
Pastor Marilyn Leuty of St. Paul’s United Church in Assiniboia said in an interview, “Conditions in the world today are simply horrible. They’re not just someone else’s problem. They’re everyone’s problem. We all have a part to play. We need to be creative and constructive in our approach to fixing our problems, and much more proactive in addressing issues facing us worldwide. Consumer habits and practices are deplorable and a huge problem in the world today. Waste is everywhere and rampant in our society. It’s a grave and pressing issue. We need to advocate to governments for their help in these matters, but in the end, it’s not just a political stance. It’s a ‘faith’ stance. The reality is, we all need to become better stewards of the land, and more faithful caretakers of Mother Earth”.
“It should be noted”, said pastor Marilyn Leuty, “World Day of Prayer is not a clergy led project. It’s a ‘lay’ led project and initiative. Congratulations are in order to all persons who help organize this event, worldwide”.