The Stettler United Church hosted a special event on Friday afternoon, March 4 as it celebrated the World Day of Prayer Cuba 2016 (WDP) with a short clip about Cuba and why the celebrations date back to 1930.
“WDP was begun by women in Canada and the US in 1922 and now is observed in more than 170 countries,” said Sylvia Telford, leading the service.
The WDP is facilitated by WDP International Committee, which meets every five years to select the themes and countries for upcoming services, and celebrations in Cuba date back to 1930, with this year’s theme being ‘Receive Children, Receive Me’.
“They had to rely on their denominated counterparts in the US for worship booklets, with Presbyterians, Methodists and Salvationists celebrating WDP separately until 1981,” explained Telford. “That year through the work of the Women’s Depart of the Council of Evangelical churches, the WDP celebrated ecumenically for the first time in Cuba.”
There are more than 20 places of worship and approximately 30 denominations participating in the WDP in Cuba, which is always celebrated in Canada on the first Friday in March.
The service that was held at the United Church was the same service as written by the Cuban women, with women from United Church, Roman Catholic and Anglicans taking different parts throughout the service.
“We handed out butterfly prayer petals to put the attendees’ thoughts on the story told of the women, children and men of Cuba after listening to the stories and watching a video made in Cuba,” said Telford.
The butterfly jasmine flower is the national flower of Cuba and the butterfly represents the purity of the ideals of the Cuban people and love for the just peace of those fighting for the independence of their homeland, according to Telford.
“I made the little squares of black net and attached butterflies to them, as I think Cuba is mostly Roman Catholic so therefore women covering their heads in the church,” added Telford.
The service was followed by lunch and tea.