Christian women to celebrate World Day of Prayer

Christians throughout Lycoming County will join with those in more than 170 countries around the world in observance of World Day of Prayer and the women of Egypt invite other women to join them Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Shiloh Baptist Church, 433 Walnut St., for World Day of Prayer 2014.

This year’s International Planning Committee invites women into a time of worship with the words of the prophet Isaiah, “I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” With those words as a backdrop, women will learn about Egypt’s history and rich cultural diversity.

A young Egyptian woman shares her experiences in Tahrir Square – where she has found hope in dry places. Exploring the Samaritan woman’s conversation with Jesus at the well will echo the cooperation between young people of different faiths during the Arab Spring, and prompt us to consider where we might have an unexpected, inspiring conversation. The gathering offers opportunities for dialogue and reflection about the borders that we, like Jesus and the Samaritan woman, have to cross to get to streams of living water.

The service brings Christians from myriad backgrounds cultures and traditions together in prayer and action. World Day of Prayer began in the 19th century. Since 1941, it has been sponsored in the United States by Church Women United, a grass-roots ecumenical movement of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian women.

According to Regina Gross, president of Church Women United in Lycoming County, musicians for the service are Carol Waltz, accompanist, and Barby Smith, song leader. Velna Grimes, of Shiloh Baptist Church, will offer the welcome.

It is by our connecting, one with another in our own community, that we become informed about the gifts and the needs of God’s people. Then through prayer we are urged to take action to bring about the Kingdom of God. One of the ways women from throughout the county to this is to pray for nursing home residents and make lap robes and walker bags for them. An ingathering of these items, often between 1,500 and 2,000 items, will be collected and dedicated at this service. Pat Wittig and Barbara Allen and their assistants will assemble the donations and then distribute them to the nursing homes.

Women from nine congregations in the county will participate in the service. Leaders include: Grimes, Gross, Pat Ressler, Karen Barraco, Carla Ware, Sharon Cashwell and Linda Jackson.

Refreshments are being coordinated by the women of Shiloh Baptist. Gay Brown and Barbara Allen will serve as ushers.

Offerings from the service, collected by Eleanor Derr, treasurer of Church Women United of Lycoming County, enable the ongoing work of Church Women United, the national committee of the United States for World Day of Prayer.

Portions of the offering are designated toward women’s projects both internationally and in the United States. Several of the grants distributed in 2013 in the United States follow.

$4,000 to the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Bridgeport, Conn., to empower domestic workers to improve their working conditions.

$2,000 to Lydia’s House in St. Louis, Mo., for medical and transportation support for women escaping domestic violence.

$4,000 to One Morgan County in Fort Morgan, Colo., to fund skill-building workshops for immigrants and residents of Morgan County.

$2,000 to Providence House in Cleveland, Ohio, to sponsor direct care services and emergency shelter in their Crisis Nursery.

Grants in other parts of the world include: $3,500 to the Salvation Army in Le Havre, France, to provide supplies for sewing workshops for immigrant women, including 10 sewing machines.

$4,000 to the Salvation Army in Northern France to fund appliances, cooking and baking utensils and supplies for cooking workshops for immigrant workshops.

$3,000 to Nomi Network in India and Cambodia to improve the employability of survivors of human trafficking by increasing job skills.

$2,000 to Tree of Life/Doors of Hope in Zimbabwe to underwrite a program in which victims of politically motivated rapes assist and empower other rape victims.

$1,500 to Enterprise Development and Governance Facility in Cameroon to train orphans who are aging out of the system to combat homelessness, trafficking and child labor abuses.

The next celebration, May Friendship Day, will be held starting at noon May 2 at Pine Street United Methodist Church. Reservations are necessary for the luncheon.