Tuesday, February 27, 2007

‘Wave’ of prayer follows the sun around the globe

“The wave” used to be popular at sporting events, with sections of spectators taking turns standing up as one, flailing their arms and then sitting down as the section next to them rose, thereby creating an undulating effect that circled the stadium.

Well, another wave - one created not by spectators but by prayerful participants - is scheduled for March 2. But the 2007 World Day of Prayer will not circle merely a stadium but will undulate over the whole world. And, some of those participants will be seated (and kneeling) within the central Minnesota “section” of the world known as the St. Cloud Diocese.

World Day of Prayer (WDP) is a worldwide ecumenical movement of women who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year on the first Friday of March, according to the WDP United States Web site: www.wdpusa.org. Throughout the entire day, women (men are also welcome) collectively pray starting on the west side of the international date line at sunrise and ending on the east side at sunset. The prayers of people from 170 countries and regions follow the sun’s path around the globe.

Four women involved in planning and carrying out the WDP liturgy in St. Cloud met at the St. Cloud Diocesan Mission Office Feb. 9 to compare notes and discuss progress. The St. Cloud service is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 2 at First United Methodist Church in St. Cloud.

The women - Dolores Keech, a member of First United Methodist; Sheri Bitzan, a member of St. Benedict Parish in Avon; Wini Herda, a member of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Big Lake; and Mission Office director Rosanne Fischer - said that churches in the St. Cloud area have been meeting for to prepare for the annual event.

“Every year, World Day of Prayer has a theme,” Bitzan said. “The theme this year is ‘United under God’s tent (or mantle)’ ”

The theme was developed by a group of women from Paraguay, said Keech, who is chairing this year’s St. Cloud-area WDP service. Each year, a committee of women from one country designs the liturgy for the service that will be used worldwide that March.

The Paraguyan committee chose the ñandutí, a classic spider-web-like lacy Paraguayan handcraft based on woven floral patterns connected by a single thread, Fischer said. “The single thread is symbolic of global unity within diversity,” she added. [....snip] St Cloud Visitor

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