Each year on the first Friday in March, services are held in more than 170 countries and in almost 2000 communities across Canada. The groups follow a service prepared by the World Day of Prayer International Committee which meets every five years to select the themes and countries for the upcoming services. In 1922 the first service was prepared by the women of Canada and the USA.
This year’s service was prepared by the women of Cuba where they have held services since 1930. By 1981,they met ecumenically and now there are about thirty denominations participating across Cuba.
The American restrictions on trade with Cuba in 1960 meant supplies for their services were shipped via Canada but the embargo will soon be lifted, bringing major changes to Cuba. Many Canadians have enjoyed holidays there since the average temperature is 25 degrees. The language in Cuba is Spanish and the national flower is the white butterfly jasmine.
In 1959 Fidel Castro established a dictatorship when religions were marginalized but in the 1990’s, a new Constitution guaranteed religious freedom. Pope John Paul II visited in 1998,commenting that it was essential that “Cuba open up to the world and the world open up to Cuba” and we have just witnessed a visit by the present Pope.
Proceeds from the services go to produce the worship material and to support community projects in Canada and around the world.
Although the service is prepared by women’s groups, everyone is welcome.This year features children as the focus of the service.
Locally the services will be:
- Clayton at 2 pm at the Lynn Bower Lounge
- Pakenham at St.Andrew’s United Church at 1:30
- Almonte-Cornerstone Community Church at 1 pm