World Day of Prayer at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

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This year, the goal is to help residents of Suriname

This year’s World Day of Prayer (WDP) takes place Friday, March 2 and in Olds, it will be hosted by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m.

WDP dates back to 1920 when women in Canada and the United States organized an ecumenical day of prayer to help those who need assistance. In 1922, it evolved into the World Day of Prayer. Today, those prayers, etc., are spoken in 113 languages around the world on the first Friday in March.

In Canada, the World Day of Prayer is co-ordinated by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada.

A WDP document says in this country, “informed prayer and prayerful action” has resulted in more than $500,000 being provided to “justice projects” in the past five years.

Each year WDP focuses on a certain part of the world. This year, prayers will be focused on the Republic of Suriname, a country on the northeast coast of South America.

As the WDP document says, on March 2, Christians in Olds and around the world will “gather to learn about, pray, and celebrate environmental issues in solidarity with the women of Suriname.”

Local spokesperson Catherine Ellis notes the theme this year is All God’s Creation is Very Good: Water. She says in addition to prayers, a video on the situation in Suriname will be shown.

“Water is of great concern for this nation so rich in biodiversity and resources,” a post on the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada website says.

“Most of the population of Suriname lives along its coast, also where birds and sea turtles nest. Floods and rising sea levels due to climate change place both animals and people at risk.

“Furthermore, water, fish, and people living in the interior who consume both have been contaminated with mercury used in gold mining activities there.

“The situation for indigenous people who live close to the land and others who have settled the area will remind Canadians of the people of Grassy Narrows in Northern Ontario poisoned by mercury dumped in the Wabigoon River.

“Mercury is considered by the World Health Organization as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern,” it adds.

“Floods and rising sea levels due to climate change place both animals and people at risk. Furthermore, water, fish, and people living in the interior who consume both have been contaminated with mercury used in gold mining activities there.”
WOMEN’S INTER-CHURCH COUNCIL OF CANADA

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Doug Collie

Doug Collie joined the Olds Albertan in 2014 as editor. He covers municipal politics, news, community events, arts and entertainment and sports happening in and around Bowden and Olds.