Immigration and diversity are two of the main themes this year during World Day of Prayer which will take place in the City on March 1st.
Churches globally will celebrate the day by offering services speaking on the theme of ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ and encouraging people to take part and hear the different stories.
“The World Day of Prayer is in regards to women throughout the world and is just a day to make people aware of women and the fact that in some countries they are relatively fortunate, and in others they are not,” said Shirley Gehman, president of one of the United Church Women groups.
Gehman spearheaded this year’s service, which will be hosted at Gaetz Memorial United Church at 2 p.m. on March 1st.
The service is open to the public and is considered a non-denominational event as Gehman said anyone of any religion is welcome to come and listen to the guest speakers and take part in the event.
“We have women from five different places speaking this year including an immigrant woman from the Ukraine, another with a French background, one from Brazil and one from Rwanda.”
The idea of the service is to include everybody whether they be man or woman or of any specific denomination, said Gehman.
“We have some different hymns that we have chosen. We just want to make people aware of the difficulties the people coming from around the world face when immigrating to a new home.”
Gehman said there will be a DVD shown during the service, as is done most years. The focus country this year is France so the short film will show what struggles women face when moving into France.
“Because this is a worldwide event they like to focus on a different country each year. But neither you nor I will see all of the countries involved be featured in our lifetimes.”
There are 170 countries involved in World Day of Prayer and it has been running formally since 1932 though it got its humble beginnings in 1887. It is an international ecumenical Christian laywomen’s initiative.
Gehman said she has attended the service for many years and said attendance usually is around 100 or 125 people but they welcome more.
There is a light lunch after the service and a collection will be taken during the service as well. Money raised in the collection plate will go to aid women in need.
Gehman said she would like to see everybody come and feel welcome and said she recently read a quote that expressed the idea of mass participation rather well. “The quote said we are all human beings no matter where we were born or what race we are or country we come from,” she said.