World Day of Prayer 2017 – Geneva

At the Presbytery meeting in March (in Rotterdam), Alice Tulloch of the Geneva congregation told me about the significant local Filipino involvement in the World Day of Prayer activities in Geneva this year.
Here is Alice’s report, including some photographs.

This year the Committee of the Philippines had prepared the liturgy and material for the World Day of Prayer with the theme “Am I being unfair to you?” based on Matthew 20:1-16.

On Thursday, 2nd March, a bible study on the text and theme mentioned above was led by Athena Peralta from the Philippines who is currently responsible for the work on economic and ecological justice at the World Council of Churches. Her research and advocacy focus on just trade and finance and their gender dimensions, among others. She helped us to see how God’s justice is not always how we would expect it. Through her experience of the situation in the Philippines, she explained how we should relate to this text from their perspective.

On Friday, 3th March, the World Day of Prayer celebration took place in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, arranged by the group from the English-speaking churches.

It was a truly ecumenical event. This year we were fortunate to have participation of members of the Roman Catholic Church John XXIII. Some of their Filipino choir came to sing and participate in the liturgy. Pastor Romeo Matutino from the Independent Church of the Philippines also participated. It was a colourful and beautiful service, with symbolic acts, such as the distribution of small bags of rice.

The Filipino community also prepared some delicious specialities to add to the bake sale, and the resulting amount of the collection and the bake sale came to CHF 2’500 which will go to an association to help Filipinos in Geneva.

Report by: Alice Tulloch, Church of Scotland, Geneva

Also see: World Day of Prayer 2017 – Rotterdam

Quiet near a little stream

With spring upon us, perhaps you can make some time to sit beside a little stream and meditate.
Here is some food for thought.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

Psalm 23:1-3


from Open House for Butterflies (1960)
by children’s author Ruth Krauss (1901–1993)
with illustrations by Maurice Sendak


More verses featuring streams:

Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3

 

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.

Psalm 42:1

 

By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.

Psalm 104:12

 

For more about Open House for Butterflies and the special relationship between author and illustrator, see brainpickings.org.

World Day of Prayer 2017 – Rotterdam

World Day of Prayer is a movement and a process that requires a commitment in time, study, preparation, and personal stretching in order to bring into a local community, in an authentic way, the realities of women in distant places. It is a movement symbolized by an annual day of celebration – the first Friday of March – to which all people are welcome. Through World Day of Prayer, women around the world affirm their faith in Jesus Christ and are encouraged to strive for wisdom to guide the actions in our daily lives.

[source: http://worlddayofprayer.net/program.html]

Christian women of the Philippines put together the service this year, taking as their theme “Am I being unfair to you?”. Jesus’ parable about the landowner who gives equal pay to all his hired workers, no matter the hours they had put in (Matthew 20:1-16) was the main inspiration.

As a practical example of how we might build a community of love, justice and service, we reflected on the traditional cultural practice in the farming communities of the Philippines called ‘Dagyaw’. Dagyaw is a practice of cooperation and collective work. At planting time and harvest time, the neighbours are called to help. In this way, people labour each others’ farms and benefit equally from the harvest. No one is paid, but the harvest is shared among all.

It was Evelyn’s first World Day of Prayer Service. Her friend, Menen, had invited her to come along and arranged a lift to St Mary’s Anglican Church, Rotterdam where the service was held. “Inspirational. Good to see women taking initiative, bringing women’s views into focus.” Evelyn was already looking forward to next year’s service written by Christian women of Surinam, a country with close links to The Netherlands.

“Women for women”, Menen commented as we reflected on the service together. It’s true, most of the people at the service were women, but not all. There were a number of couples in church that morning, and the service was jointly led by Rev. Jennifer Pridmore (the new minister at St Mary’s) and Rev. Derek Lawson (Scots International Church Rotterdam).

Derek is a keen supporter of the annual World Day of Prayer. “It helps to keep us grounded because every year it tells you something about life in a different part of the world. It puts us in touch with reality … a different reality … the bigger reality. Also it brings people together for a low-key, local expression of ecumenism.”

Remaining copies of the service sheet found their way into Chuck’s briefcase. He works for mission to seafarers and would pass them on to Filipino seamen on his rounds later that day.

Continue to pray for:

  • the multiple burdens that Filipino women experience
  • the ongoing problems and poverty caused by typhoons
  • protection for migrant workers, male and female, against exploitation
  • those working to help vulnerable women from oppression