Women’s World Day of Prayer – Friday 4th March 2016
“Receive Children. Receive me”
The service is always held every year on the first Friday in March and this year it is the 4th March and is to be held n St. Mary’s Church at Woodchester at 10.30 a.m. Women of all ages, and men, of course, are invited to come to the Service and indeed support the “Women’s World day of Prayer” which is hosted by a different country around the world every year.
This year the host country is Cuba. In 2012 the National Committee in Cuba offered to write the Service and at an international meeting they were given the year of 2016 with the theme for the Service as: Receive Children. Receive me......
On the surface it seems to appear as just about children, but this is a huge over simplification. It is about the way we respond to God.
“Ruth Mariet Trueba Castro” (who also designed the front cover of the Service Booklet says the Title “Receive Children, Receive me..” is a Prayer Resource............”We open the door to the childhood within us and Jesus enters.”
Cuba is a Communist country since the revolution in 1959 led by Fidel Castro and since 2008 his brother. 20% of the people are below the age of 14 and children start school at the age of 6 and leave at the age of 15. Many join the Youth Army and all Cubans, male and female are required to do two years of military service before they are 28. Most Cubans are very poor and a very few have T.V.s and even fewer have computers.
The national sport is baseball and the favourite game is “fichas” (dominoes!). Cubans love music and dance, especially rumba, salsa and cha-cha. Their music has been influenced by Spanish settlers and the African slaves who came to the islands some 400 years ago.
We are asked to think of the people of Cuba as they hope and pray for an end to the long standing embargo which has done so much harm to their economy.
As the National Committee for “W.W.D of Prayer” worked through the materials from Cuba for their 2016 service – the USA and Cuba simultaneously, declared that hostilities between the two countries were to cease! Talks would begin about the lifting of the embargo and so by the Prayer Service Day of March 2016, their situation may have changed!
Women’s World Day of Prayer has come a long way. What started as separate days of prayer, organised by individual denominations in America in the mid 1800’s – it has now become a truly international and ecumenical “World Day of Prayer”. It begins on the international dateline at sunrise. A wave of prayer then proceeds around the world from the Pacific through Asia, onto Africa and the Middle East. It continues onto Europe and across the Atlantic into Latin/Central and North America – then back to the Pacific, when the last service of the day is held.
Two thirds of Cubans belong to Christian churches – mostly Roman Catholic. For many years under the Communist rule, the Christians were persecuted. However in 2013 laws were passed to protect the rights of people, to worship freely.
Do come to the service at Woodchester on 4th March, to support Cuba, and all around the world on this special day.
Coffee and refreshments will be served in the Church and with a special Cuban flavour!