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Women’s World Day of Prayer

Women's World Day of Prayer is a global, ecumenical movement of informed prayer and prayerful action, organised and led by Christian women who call the faithful together on the first Friday in March each year to observe a common day of prayer and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service. The service is written by a different country each year and that country then becomes the focus of the world's prayers on the day itself.

Women's World Day of Prayer: 5 March 2010 LogoThe symbol of the Women's World Day of Prayer was designed in 1982 for the service prepared by women of Ireland, both north and south, and was then adopted as the International Logo.

The design comprises arrows converging from the four points of the compass, four figures kneeling in prayer, the Celtic cross and a circle representing the world and our unity through all our diversity.

The occasion has the rather misleading label of ' Women's World Day of Prayer' - though it isn't only for women, it doesn't last all day and it isn't just prayer! WWDP is a service of worship prepared by Christian women from a different country of the world each year. The UK offering is shared between dozens of charities, from The Leprosy Mission to the Bible Society, the Chile Earthquake Appeal and Wycliffe.

Click on a subheading below to see the report of the services held in Petersfield.

For reports and photographs of Women's day of Prayer in earlier years click on one of the links below:

For a list of countries and themes planned for future years see the bottom of this page

2017: The Phillipines

Setting the scene
The Philippines comprises a group of islands located on the Pacific Ring of Fire close to the equator. This contributes to the high incidence of typhoons and earthquakes (around 20 per year.)

Climate change has led to an increase in storms, droughts and severe typhoons with Typhoon Yolanda, (or Haiyan), recorded in November 2013 as the most severe storm ever to hit land and claiming thousands of lives.

Women
Before Spanish colonisation in the 16th century, women occupied some status in the community. However, the Spanish introduced feudalism, leading to the subordination of women throughout the archipelago.

Today many Filipino women take on the role of breadwinner, often working abroad as service crew, domestic helpers or skilful professionals in the medical field.

The Philippine Constitution provides for equal rights, yet in practice Filipino women are often discriminated against and treated as subordinates in the home, in the church and in society.

Education
Public education is sponsored by the government but there are also private schools. Children start school at age 4 and elementary public schools are free.

Economy
The Philippines is one of the fastest growing Asian economies with labour migration a major economic force. This has impacted on the social fabric of the country. Ninety per cent of domestic workers are women – of which the majority work in the Gulf countries.

Primary exports include semiconductors, coconut oil, fruits, garments and products relating to electronics, transport, copper and petroleum.

Tourism accounts for 10% of national employment and contributes to almost 6% of the Philippine Gross Domestic Product.

2016: Cuba

Background
Cuba is an island nation consisting of the main island, Cuba, and numerous small islands, cays and islets, many of which are entirely covered by mangrove. It is the largest island in the Caribbean and spans a surface area of 110,860 square kilometres (42,803 square miles), about the same size as England. The United States lies 150 kilometres (93 miles) to the north with The Bahamas to the northeast, Mexico to the west, Jamaica to the south and Haiti to the southeast. The capital is Havana.

Cuba has a population of just over 11,000,000 but data indicate a decline in the birth and population growth rates. An increase in emigration has led to a high population aged 65 and over. Life expectancy is 77 years for men and 80 for women.

The climate is warm, humid and subtropical with an average temperature of 25.5ºC. Due to its geographical location and elongated shape, Cuba is very prone to hurricanes.

Religion
After the revolution, the government of Cuba restricted religious practice leading to an atheist state. In 1990 the constitution re-established the lay character of the State and guaranteed religious freedom. This enabled people to return to the public practice of faith. Many congregations had survived through the extraordinary work of women who had taken on the leadership when so many pastors had been conscripted or had emigrated. In most Cuban congregations today women have high level roles.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination, reflecting the Spanish history. During the 19th century a number of Protestant churches were established and now there are over 60 denominations.

The Council of Churches in Cuba brings together most denominations and among its various programmes is one for integral education of women and the family.

Islam Judaism, Spiritualism and New Christian Religious Movements with fundamentalist tendencies are also present.

 

2015: The Bahamas

Geography
The Bahamas is an expanse of water made up of over 700 scattered islands, hence the name archipelago, covering over 100,000 square miles of water in the Atlantic Ocean. Only a small number of the islands are inhabited. The two main islands are New Providence and Grand Bahama; the rest are called ‘Family’ or ‘Out’ islands.

The most northerly island, Bimini, is approximately 52 miles off the coast of Florida, USA and from the southernmost island of Inagua one can see the lights of Cuba and Haiti. The islands are very flat with Mount Alvernia (in Cat Island) as their highest point, a peak only 206 feet high. The largest island, Andros, is 104 miles long by 40 miles wide at the widest point. The Andros Barrier Reef is the world’s third longest after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Central American Belize Barrier Reef.

The Bahamas lies in the tropics so the temperature is warm for most of the year, with the hottest months (June to October) being subject to hurricanes.

Population
The latest census listed a total population of over 353,600 of which nearly 249,000 live on the island of New Providence, where the government is located in Nassau. The island of Grand Bahama, which boasts the nation’s second largest city, has a population of nearly 52,000 and only six other islands have populations of 3,000 and over. The descendants of the African slaves constitute about 86% of the present day population, and the official language is English intertwined with a special Bahamian dialect, peculiar to most of the islands and known as ‘Smoky Joe’

 

2014: Egypt

Streams in the Desert
At a church near you on March 7th, women and men will gather to celebrate using a programme of worship offered this year by women in Egypt.

The theme of our service is ‘Streams in the Desert’ and we are asked to reflect on our Christian role of being a ‘stream in the desert’ for those who experience spiritual ‘drought’. We believe that the service from Egypt has universal appeal.

One of the oldest civilisations in the world, Egypt has long been home to Coptic Christians. Since the uprising in 2011 there has been conflict between religious groupings. Political change affects individual lives and we pray with the women of Egypt for peace.

We envisage a great wave of prayer, rising with the sun over the island of Samoa and sweeping across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, coming to rest in American Samoa some 36 hours later. By then WWDP services will have been celebrated in over 170 countries. All are welcome to attend, men and women and people of all ages. For further information and resources, together with details of services in your area, see the WWDP website: www.wwdp.org.uk

 

2013: France

When the women of the French Committee met to work on the material for 2013, the theme chosen for them became close to their hearts: I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU WELCOMED ME. The service they have written for us has a strongly French feel and flavour.

Women's World Day of Prayer: 2 March 2012France, like other European countries, receives many asylum requests. In 2011, 51,900 people applied for asylum in France. The presence of these people in the country both enriches the culture and can cause social difficulties. Behind each request, each statistic, is the story of a life. Some of those stories will be shared in the service.

We envisage a great annual wave of prayer, rising with the sun over the island of Samoa and then sweeping across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, until it comes to rest in American Samoa some 36 hours later. By then services will have taken place in over 170 countries.

 

 

2012: Malaysia

This year the women of Malaysia lead us on the theme “Let Justice Prevail”.

Malaysia is a nation of diverse cultures, races and religions. There are modern cities, among which Kuala Lumpur is ever growing outwards and upwards. These are striking contrast to idyllic resorts, historic cities such as Melaka and Penang, colonial hill resorts, longhouses of Sabah & Sarawak, and an expanse of rainforest which covers around 70% of the land area. Parts of this dense jungle are still unexplored because of their inaccessibility. Malaysia is also a land of rice paddy fields, rubber and oil palm estates, human settlements on river banks and sea shores, and high rise condominiums.

Malaysia, located in South East Asia, lies north of the equator. It consists of two parts – Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) and East Malaysia comprising of Sabah and Sarawak (in North Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia is joined to the mainland Asia by a narrow isthmus – Isthmus of Kra. Thailand lies to the north of Peninsular Malaysia while the island of Singapore lies at its southern tip. The South China Sea (600km – 370 miles) separates Peninsular Malaysia from East Malaysia. The two parts of Malaysia covers a total land area of 127,284sq miles (329,750km). Malaysia’s name derives from its former name Malaya which comes from the name of its dominant race the Malays, and earlier still from the seventh century Kingdom of Melayu in Sumatera.

 

 

2011: Chile

This year the women of Chile lead us on the theme “How many loaves have you?”.

On Friday March 4 2011 women from around the world celebrated the Women’s World Day of Prayer. The service has been written by the women of Chile. It is an appropriate theme for bread is eaten at every meal and is very much part of every day life. The women of Chile offer what it means to them as they share this service with us.

Stretching from Peru to Antarctica, the Republic of Chile occupies a long, narrow strip of land 2,640 miles long and 110 miles wide. It is a land of incredible contrasts. It also has the highest incidence of domestic violence in Latin America and most women suffer from discrimination in some form or other. Equal opportunities are being pursued.

 

 

2010: Cameroon

This year the women of Cameroon lead us on the theme “Let everything that has breath praise God”.

Cameroon is set almost on the equator, between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, just where the West African coastline ‘turns’ southwards. Inland, it has extensive frontiers with, among others, Chad, the Central African Republic and Congo, and it has more than 240 ethnic groups and languages.

A very diverse country, its people are presented with many challenges. Although the constitution promotes equality between men and women there is still a long way to go to achieve it.

Future Years

2015: The Bahamas Jesus said to them: "Do you know what I have done to you?"
2016: Cuba Receive children, receive me
2017: Philippines Am I being unfair to you?
2018 Suriname All God's creation is very good!
2019: Slovenia Come - everything is ready
2020: Zimbabwe Rise! Take up your mat and walk
2021: Vanuatu Build on a strong foundation

Visit the Women's Word day of Prayer web site

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