WICC Prez Corner – The People Walking
We-Connect January 2022
The prophet Isaiah in chapter 9 tells us that “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.”
(Isaiah 9:2 NRSV)
As a spiritual practice or discipline, I enjoy the active movement that accompanies the labyrinth as a tool for reflective prayer whether it is a full-sized labyrinth for walking or a finger labyrinth which makes the process portable.
There is an assurance that we will always be on the right path as we journey our way in and out of prayer. Unlike a maze, there is no guesswork. We will not end up lost in a corner facing a wall of challenge and fear. Instead, the pattern of the labyrinth is a sure guide to the centre, if we stay on the path and make the winding turns along the way.
As we begin the epiphany season, we walk towards the light as did the wise ones who followed the star to Bethlehem. We recognize that “a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Isaiah 9:6 NRSV)
Reflecting with this particular scripture as we walk, the fulfillment of God’s promise from David’s throne to the newest newborn babe is revealed, highlighting God’s plans to give us a future with hope – the theme for the 2022 World Day of Prayer.
May your journey of faith bring you the assurance of love, hope for your future and the peace of God’s presence in 2022.
Rev. Steph McClellan
WICC Prez Corner – Thanksgiving
We-Connect October 2021
Immersed in the terror and tragedy around us as global citizens, we can easily forget to immerse ourselves in the good news that buoys our hope and lightens our spirits. No matter how much darkness swirls around in our broken world, broken promises and broken relationships, Jesus promises that “The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 5 NIV) The light of Christ will always overcome the darkness of the world.
So many of today’s influential speakers and leaders tell us that we need to be grateful, and that by living in gratitude, we will have a joyful life. I believe that to be true, but I also believe that not mentioning the darkness causes us to remain irrelevant in a world that is calling for us to notice the injustices being perpetrated against it.
As the WICC Board gathered on Friday, Sept 24th, I was distracted for a moment from the conversation happening on screen and I looked into the eyes of all the women who have devoted so much of their time and life to fighting violence against women and children.
Two of our Board Members are finishing their time with the Board, and we are so grateful for all the work that they have done for WICC sharing their wisdom and guidance in our work and even more so for the women and children whose lives they have touched with justice and love.
Awit Marcelino is one of the busiest people we know and yet her prioritization of Fellowship of the Least Coin and other WICC work has inspired us all. She often brought a youthful perspective to the issues at hand as we tried to bridge generations with this incredible work, and her wisdom and maturity helped guide us into important discussions of justice and inclusion.
Diane Dwarka, who served many roles on the Board, leaves us from her current position of Past President. Diane has devoted her life to the service of others, and she has touched the lives of women and children around the world through her commitment to WICC. We are all so grateful for her leadership, wisdom, mentoring and devotion to prayer. We are so grateful that she chose WICC as one of the ways that she answered the call of God in her life.
May they both know true shalom and peace as they continue to work for justice and prioritize the example of Jesus Christ in new and exciting ways.
At meetings, we enjoy shared time and vision knowing that the work that we all do together allows us to be effective in shining the light in dark corners where terror, sadness, fear, and hunger lurks.
As a Board, and with all of you, we recognize how important it is to work together on the World Day of Prayer and the Fellowship of the Least Coin through coordinating services and giving offerings. In the offering of beautiful, inspiring worship, we share lightness and hope by turning a spotlight on abuse and inequity. Our prayerful action goes to support the grant program and there is great power and light in our numbers.
WICC exists to empower Christians to pursue justice, peace and reconciliation by standing together in prayer and action. We exist because there is darkness to overcome. We see so much pain, but we do the work to lessen it joyfully.
Joyfully and gratefully because we know that working with our God of Justice, we are making a difference for women all over the world. We are restoring hope to women and children touched by injustice whether it is systemic or localized.
The day saved for Thanksgiving on our calendars is coming quickly. Working with WICC, together in ministry with all of you who seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God, makes me thankful every day. In looking at the darkness, we see the light shine even brighter through the cracks of brokenness.
And so, it is with great excitement and thanksgiving, I invite you to log on to our website or Facebook page as the World Day of Prayer 2022 resources are launched in October!
With excitement and gratitude!
From the Prez Desk
We-Connect April 2021
The air was electric and the joy palpable on March 5th this year! It literally felt like we won the Super Bowl! The buildup was incredible as we promoted and anticipated the results of the World Day of Prayer during this very different COVID-19 year. The release of the beautifully inspiring service video, the build up to the actual day, the pre-game interviews… the emotions, the Spirit and enthusiasm were all so real.
As phone calls came in from friends across the country that I haven’t spoken to for years, it was like the post-game reporting on the superb effort by all involved in the video and those who watched it!
The feedback being received at the WICC office has confirmed that others also felt the celebratory, off-the-charts enthusiasm for the on-line service! Thank you for all the cards and letters sent in with your donations. Participants were ecstatic about the deep connection of worship and prayer in a year that has kept us apart and isolated. While some people were afraid that we wouldn’t have World Day of Prayer this year because of the worldwide pandemic, the on-line service was an absolute gift of joyful celebration as we felt God’s presence truly drawing us together around the world.
We have a wonderful team to thank for the work done to make this such a special offering this year. To our Board for their willingness to create a new vision for presentation in a completely unpredictable year, to our Staff that worked tirelessly to be sure the pieces were pulled together for editing, and to Rob Currie and his team at C to C Productions that created such a quality and thoughtful final result! We are also grateful for local TV channels that broadcast the service to many communities.
It is not too late to share this experience with friends and family and it is not too late to support the work that WICC does through the grant program that is supported by the offering taken at these services. It is all new this year, but the vision remains the same – to restore hope to women and children who have been touched by injustice.
Lastly, I’d like to thank all the WDP Coordinators – those who organized services across Canada. Whether you shared the WICC service video or organized a Zoom event, all was appreciated! There were also a few communities that were able to gather a small group together in person.
May the new life of Christ this Easter continue to inspire you with joy and freedom to share abundantly with all God’s children!
Praying in solidarity and hope through Christ,
From the Prez Desk
We-Connect March 2021
World Day of Prayer 2021 Vanuatu is here after what has been an incredible and surreal year. Last spring, COVID-19 was just beginning to affect our lives. In Canada, World Day of Prayer 2020 was the last gathering for many before we began the public health protocols that made us stay inside and shut the doors to protect each other, especially the most vulnerable people in our society.
Those who celebrated World Day of Prayer Zimbabwe did so with open hearts and open wallets, and we were able to give $100,000 in grants to organizations that provided care during this worldwide pandemic. The grant program of World Day of Prayer has always been supported by the small individual donations from thousands of women and men across this country who give some of what they have so that all can have enough. It is marvellous to see God take our small individual actions to accomplish magnificent things!
The health safety protocols continue a year later, and World Day of Prayer is fast approaching. It has been a year of innovation and excitement at the Women’s Inter-Church Council as we prepared a brand-new way to gather in prayer across this country and around the world. You will be inspired by the results.
This year, with the WICC produced video service, our reach goes beyond the “bricks and mortar” of our buildings as we partner with the internet and local TV stations to spread the message of prayer rooted in faith and called to action. God is doing a new thing based on the firm foundations of this 100+ year old prayer movement.
Technology will bring in worshippers in age groups that may not have been involved before, especially if you invite your techy children and grandchildren to help you bridge the gap, so no one is left out.
The women of the writing country in Vanuatu have given us a beautiful theme and prayers for our common ground. We may be in our homes worshipping, but we are still together as we all provide hope to women and children touched by injustice.
I hope you are as excited as I am! May the Spirit of God bring us all closer together as we worship in prayer and action!
From the Prez Desk
We-Connect January 2021
Happy New Year!
Most people I greet in town are excited for the new year simply to leave 2020 behind. C’mon 2021!
However, if we learned anything from 2020 – in the midst of COVID-19, the protests for justice, the isolation and the grief – if we have learned anything at all, it is to expect the unexpected.
There is hope on the horizon with the first doses of the vaccine being administered, but with ever-changing public health guidelines across the entire country, planning ahead for events and scheduling has become somewhat out of fashion. There are nights I go to bed wondering if the plans I made for tomorrow will still be relevant by lunchtime. And now it is winter weather and planning ahead is throwing us another curve of unpredictability. Planning ahead can seem like a relatively useless endeavour.
That is why I am so excited that WICC can offer all of you the incredible options that are flexible and meaningful as we celebrate World Day of Prayer together this year. We have got you covered for any improbability. Whether you can meet on Zoom and share leadership of the service together, whether a small group can gather safely and watch our on-line service or if you are sheltering in place, WICC has resources that will encourage and support you as you join the worldwide movement of prayer and make your gifts to WICC and the administration of the grant program: Prayers and funds in action to address the justice issues during the pandemic and beyond.
This is our first attempt at producing an online service and Cath, our staff and the production company have done an absolutely beautiful job of producing an engaging worship experience. We have resources for our World Day of Prayer at wicc.org and a coordinator’s login to help with the distribution of digital resources. Our Field Reps and office staff are standing by to help if you have any questions about the process. Thank you for your dedication to the World Day of Prayer and its leadership. There is an online Festival/Preparation Zoom event to register for on January 16th. All are welcome to join. (Click here to register).
We will proceed into the new year hoping for meaningful connections and wholeness in body, soul and society. We will proceed into the new year praying for justice and living into God’s peaceable kingdom. We will proceed together, even if we are apart. We will continue to proceed carefully, but not fearfully and we will each continue to make our small contributions to God’s bigger vision of abiding love. As we move to a new year, we reflect back and look forward to see God’s hand of faithfulness and God’s promises fulfilled.
May your 2021 hold unexpected blessings and kindness. Remember that in the midst of the mess, the Messiah came!
In Solidarity and Prayer,