World Day of Prayer to be held in March

From: World Day of Prayer national committee

Local women’s groups have been learning about Slovenia in preparation for the World Day of Prayer, which will be held on Friday, 1 March throughout the country.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the World Day of Prayer was first marked in 1931.  It is celebrated in more than 170 countries.  A Christchurch based national committee adapts the international resources for New Zealand churches.  Local services have been organised by a dedicated group of volunteers who incorporate this global vision into their year’s work.  The World Day of Prayer Committee encourages people to share the resources in ordinary worship.

“Each year a different country takes time to prepare the service incorporating women’s stories.  It is an opportunity to connect with people around the globe,” says Pauline McKay, National Chairperson.

This year’s worship resources have been written by women in Slovenia, one of the smallest countries in Europe.  At the core of the service is an invitation to join in community, “Come –Everything is Ready”.  The focal point is a table set with food to share.  Readers will tell stories from women on the edge of Slovenian society: refugees, migrant workers, mothers, and Roma.

The service is represented through an image painted by Rezka Arnuš, a visually impaired amateur artist.  She has used traditional Slovenian symbols like grapes from its vineyards and under the table painted the children who have been excluded from society as a response to the Biblical story used in the service.

Located at the centre of Europe where German, Slavic and Roman groups meet, Slovenia has often been the site of conflict.  After World War II, it was part of the former Yugoslavia until declaring independence in 1991.  Slovenia has continued to be the wealthiest and most politically open of the former Yugoslav states.  Its population of two million people is mainly employed in the service sector.

Slovenia dates the arrival of Christianity to the arrival of Deacon Elijah.  He was martyred ten years later.

The World Day of Prayer is a global movement of Christian women who come together to celebrate in prayer and action on the first Friday in March.  Begun in the US and Canada in the nineteenth century, it became a global movement in 1927.  The movement brings together women of many ages and ethnicities for prayer and action.  National committees take turns at preparing the resources, building understanding and concern for women in many places.

Offerings at this year’s services will assist the Maridi Service Agency, a local partner of Christian World Service in South Sudan with a focus on education, HIV and AIDS testing and assisting displaced women; the Bible Society for trauma healing for women in Slovenia, and Interchurch Hospital Chaplaincy in New Zealand.

For more information on services, contact your local World Day of Prayer organising group or Zella at wdpnz@xtra.co.nz.

The resources including music, children’s materials, and a Bible Study on the central reading: Luke 14:15-24 are available at: worlddayofprayer.co.nz.

For more information, please contact: Pauline McKay, National Chairperson pauline.mckay@cws.org.nz  Phone: 03 366 9274, Mobile: 021 289 1225