Friday, October 23, 2020

World Council of Churches Prayer Cycle - North America (25th-31 October 2020)

We remember Canada and the member associations in  Canada

(the next post will feature other member associations in Canada and the U.S.A.)

* Order of Diaconal Ministries -Presbyterian Church in Canada

* Association of Anglican Deacons in Canada

* Deacons of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

* Diakonia of the United Church of Canada


Diakonia of The United Church of Canada was formed in the early 1980s as an association of diaconal ministers.  However, diaconal ministry has roots in our church dating back to 1890s and the formation of the deaconess communities of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches.  Diaconal ministers are commissioned to a ministry of Education, Service and Pastoral Care.  With ministers who are ordained to Word, Sacrament and Pastoral Care, diaconal ministers constitute one of two streams of ministry in the United Church.  In 2018, DUCCs gathered for a national biennial meeting in Winnipeg.  The theme was taken from the DUCC Vision Statement “Courageous Risking.”  The  biennial national gathering was to be held May of 2020 in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, and the focus was to be “Faith Inspiring Power and Politics.”  Instead we met by Zoom. Work has been completed on renewing the DUCC website.  We share news in the community through regular mailchimp connections.  Our database has received much attention and now in good shape.  We have also participated in a recruitment video from the national church which highlights ministry options. DUCC is a member in Affirm United, a alliance of GBLTQ+ positive ministries.

WCC prayers


We are thankful for:

the vast expanse of North America with its resources and varied landscapes; may they be preserved, enjoyed and used wisely;

those who were its original inhabitants – First Nations and Native Americans;

church-related organizations that strongly advocate for justice, and those that provide for new immigrants and refugees today, as well as for others who are poor and vulnerable; 

ecumenical and interfaith engagements which are occurring in many communities that previously were mainly white and Christian.

We pray for:

churches facing new challenges, that they may continue to witness boldly to the gospel in evolving multicultural, multireligious and secular contexts;

indigenous peoples in their long struggles for survival, land and rights; and for ongoing healing and reconciliation with those who have come after them;

new immigrants, that they will continue to be welcomed in these countries, and that policies will serve the common good;

effectively countering systemic greed that exploits communities and natural resources;

government leaders that they would advance justice, human rights, and peace for all within these countries and in the rest of the world.


Breath of the Four Winds

Come from the four winds, O Breath,

And breathe upon these slain, that they may live. (Ezekiel 37:9)

Come from the South, O Breath,

blow your life-giving promise of hope

to our sisters in ponchos, Mothers of the Disappeared, political prisoners and exiles.

Come from the South and breathe justice that they may live.

Come from the North, O Breath,

blow your Word, in Spirit and truth,

to our brothers and sisters who have lost their languages in residential schools.

Come from the North and speak freely, so there may be healing.

Come from the East, O Breath,

blow your message of peace

to children in countries shattered by war and division.

Come from the East with morning’s promise of a new day.

Come from the West, O Breath,

blow in the tongues of fire in the sky at the setting of the sun.

We are your church, kindled in your Spirit, fired in the mystery of your coming.

Come from the West and pray in us, Holy Spirit, our ending and our beginning.

(Wendy MacLean, United Church of Canada)

To wake from sleep into this day 

is gift enough for thanks.

To hear a child’s delight in laughter 

is gift enough for thanks.

To sip a glass of clean, cold water 

is gift enough for thanks.

To watch the sunset paint the sky 

is gift enough for thanks.

To share a moment with a friend 

is gift enough for thanks.

To smell the fragrance of moist soil 

is gift enough for thanks.

To feel the comfort of clean clothing 

is gift enough for thanks.

To form the words that make a prayer 

is gift enough for thanks.

(Keri K. Wehlander, also published in Wisdom Is Calling, comp. Geoffrey Duncan, Canterbury Press, UK, and United Church Publishing House, Etobicoke, Ont., Canada 1999,pp.126-27,142)

Prayer for life in freedom

God of all hope;

hear our prayer.

When money becomes a prison:

free us to choose life.

Where wealth turns into addiction:

free us to choose life.

When income determines worth:

free us to choose life.

Where poverty equals invisibility:

free us to choose life.

When economies deepen injustice:

free us to choose life.

Where greed invents new oppressions:

free us to choose life.

when finance rules every decision:

free us to choose life.

where consumption replaces compassion:

free us to choose life.

(Keri K. Wehlander; used with permission)


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Dn Shaila John Wesley

Shaila will be known to many in DIAKONIA World Federation through attending Regional and World Assemblies. 

Sadly, Shaila passed away suddenly on 14th September 2020 in Belgaum, India. Shaila had served as the Executive Secretary of the All India Women's Work in the Methodist Church in India. It was my  privilege to spend time with Shaila in Bangalore, and then in Chennai, and to meet other MCI Deaconesses. I wrote about my visit in 2014. Shaila is pictured below, fourth from the right. 

Deepest condolences to her family, and to the MCI Deaconesses. 

Romans 14:8 - If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. Rest in eternal communion with God, good and faithful servant.

Her niece, Shruti, provided the following information. 

Shaila Kumara John Wesley

DOB: 12-1-1952; DOD: 14-09-2020

Born, Baptised and Schooled in Kolar, Karnataka. She was brought up in a good Christian family. She was a top student through her school and university. Shailamma was an ACC cadet and represented her school in sports and won many athletic medals at school and district level.

Shailamma lived and worked for many years in Kolar as Secretary in the accounts office. She sensed the call of God and decided to become a Deaconess. Her training was in Jabalpur. She worked as a teacher at Gulbarga, and was Principal at Belgaum,Yadgir, and Manager at BGHS and BBHS RR Nager school. She was Superintendent of Hosre Achievement. 

Shailamma was sociable and friendly and always had a smile. She was a very able person. She did a lot of developmental work. In recent years she has been a member of the Executive Council, and Secretary of the Deaconesss Conference. She also served faithfully as Executive Secretary of Women’s Work. 

The 40th day Memorial service honouring Shailamma's life will be held on 23rd Friday October 2020. Shailamma was a beacon of light, hope and strength to the family as well as many others in India and across the seass. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

WCC Ecumenical Prayer Cycle - Brazil (20-26 September)

The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle this week focusses on Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru. We hold in prayer the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil, IELCB) and those who serve in diaconal ministry. We uphold in prayer the diaconal sisters in Brazil (Diaconisa at Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil), and also give thanks for the faithful life of Ingrit Vogt.

The Deaconess Motherhouse was established in 1939 by Lutheran Deaconesses working in Brazil. German immigrants had felt the lack of someone who had knowledge in the area of nursing and pedagogy. That is why they requested that Germany send Sisters with training in these areas. Soon Brazilian women desired to work as sisters. In the Women’s Congress in 1938 the foundation of a Deaconess Mother House was approved to be built on Brazilian soil. On May 17th each year the Convention of the Sisters takes place to which all the sisters are invited from close and from afar. It includes women who feel themselves called to diaconal service, who have concluded a professional secular program, without theological formation, when they do not wish to work as ministers in congregations. These women are called diaconal Sisters. Likewise pastors and catechists are accepted into the Sisterhood. 

The Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB) added ordained diaconal ministers to establish a fourfold ministry, which also includes pastors, evangelists and catechists. All four ministries are considered equal in status in the church’s life, share the same salary scale, and require the same basic seminary education with special courses for each distinct ministry. The IECLB established the Department of Diakonia, which encompasses the diaconal ministers, the deaconess community and all the church’s health care and social service agencies and institutions. It also has a commitment to help mobilize people in congregations to do diaconal work. (from a paper by E. Louise Williams)

In 2016, the DOTAC Assembly was held in Porto Alegre. The theme was, Jesus’ Diakonia – From Crumbs to Whole Communion, inspired by the biblical text of Mk 7.24-30. Despite economic advancements, there are many people who still live under the table and feed from crumbs. Who are those people and why they are kept from participating on reflections and decisions that are taken around the table? What are the signs for hope and transformation? What are the chances for changing places: from crumbs to the table of whole communion? Through action and reflection, diakonia intends to promote people’s ascension from under the table to around the table. Diakonia is about "constructing tables at which all people may sit." (Rodolfo Gaede Neto)

WCC Intercessions

We are thankful for:

* the distinctive rhythms, music, dance, food and natural medicine in this area

* the beauty of the region, forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and ocean coastlines, and especially indigenous peoples’ relationship with, and care for, the natural environment

* churches who witness and work both ecumenically and with those of other faiths to build relationships of trust and commitment amid ongoing injustice and oppression

* the diversity of languages and cultures flourishing in the region despite disruptions that have occurred through colonization, and political and economic turmoil.

We pray for:

* Christians to have the courage, imagination and energy to build bridges of peace and understanding against conflict and division, and to pursue justice for the poor, marginalized and dispossessed

* an end of corruption in all levels of the society, including economic exploitation which impoverishes and hinders economic growth from benefitting all.

* immigrants and refugees seeking a new home, and those who accompany and support them

* cocoa farmers to find sustainable incomes from other crops, for an end to drug trafficking, and effective assistance for those who are addicted.

God of Life,

prepare our hands for a touch,

a new and different touch.

Prepare our hands for a touch,

a touch of encounter,

a touch of awakening,

a touch of hope,

a touch of feeling.

Many are the worn-out gestures.

Many are the movements frozen in time.

Many are the useless excuses just to repeat attitudes.

Give us daring

to create new titles of community,

new kinds of affection,

breaking away from old ways of relating,

encouraging true, meaningful ways to move into closeness.

(Ernesto Barros Cardoso, Brazil. Gifts of Many Cultures: Worship Resources for the Global Community, Maren C. Tirabassi and Kathy Wonson Eddy, United Church Press, Cleveland OH, USA, 1995, p.4.)

And the waters will flow from your altar, Lord

and flood the earth.

And we will be like a garden watered,

cared for, exposed to life. 

Oh! let these waters come,

impetuous and pure,

and destroy the powers

and clean the paths

which my people will take,

singing and rejoicing

in an endless celebration,

the Word, Life, Freedom

and the Resurrection! 

And the waters will flow from your altar, Lord,

and clean away the debris

and we will have courage to act,

to serve,

to change the world. 

And the waters will flow from your altar, Lord,

life will be rekindled,

and we will see the new creation,

act of your love.

(Simei Monteiro, Geneva, Switzerland. English transl. Colleen Reeks. Whole Life, Holy Life, Ernesto Cardoso, ISER, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

#IECLB - Masks of Hope

Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil

We can not provide all the care we would like.  Time does not permit it; always someone else is in need of some compassionate service.  In these difficult times, many people have had to interrupt their professional activity or lose their jobs. For this reason, Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil (IECLB) Diakonia, in its various locations, has motivated organizations and faith communities to initiate diaconal campaigns, emphasizing the necessity that Diaconia must move on, even if in different ways, with care and hygiene, in the fight against the coronavirus.

The involvement of IECLB Diakonia and diaconal communities was great in the campaign for making masks. Several individuals, families, and communities of faith have been working hard, whether in sewing or in the donation of material. This activity is just one example of what so many people have done in the IECLB: placing their hands at the service of the diaconal Gospel of Jesus, assisting people in their sufferings. It is estimated that more than 20,000 masks have already been made and donated. 

In addition, there is a lot of love being donated: clothes, food distribution to promote human dignity, hygiene materials, information about prevention, listening to the tired people who needed care and comfort.

A diaconal action can save someone or minimize their suffering!

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10.10

May the diaconal love of Jesus transform lives through these beautiful acts.

Diác. Dionata Rodrigues de Oliveira

Diác. Ma. Carla Vilma Jandrey

Coordenadora de Diaconia e Programa Diaconia Inclusão

Secretaria da Ação Comunitária

Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

COVID 19 lockdown and community connections

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown, social isolation, financial stress and insecurity about the future, have taken a toll on mental health and emotional well-being. Rev Christa Megaw, a Deacon in the Uniting Church in Australia, invited her congregation to consider ways to support people in their neighourhood. The responses were creative, and addressed the need for community connection despite the requirement for ‘social isolation’. 

After conversation with a local café owner with overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed customers, the church responded with donations to a Pay it Forward program to supply coffee to people through the café. 

The teenage shop assistants who continued to work, despite the stress caused by abusive customers and the threat of COVID-19, were so appreciative to be acknowledged with the gift of boxes of chocolates provided to local supermarket staff. 

School teachers and other school staff who were expected to continue to work, despite the lockdown, were experiencing stress as they tried to juggle face to face learning and the challenges of transitioning to online learning. The church gave packs of ‘Wellbeing’ cards to the teachers of four schools, to help them focus on caring for themselves, as well as their students. 

The church also delivered activity kits so families could do crafts with their children at home, which were then displayed on the glass windows and doors of the church buildings. 

While there was no ‘church in the building’ with the churches also in lockdown, the church found creative ways to be in the community, bringing some joy and welcome respite to those living with stress, anxiety and financial uncertainty due to the disruption brought about by COVID-19. 

Fiji - COVID 19 and Cycle Harold

 The Methodist Deaconess Order of Fiji had to manage both COVID-19 and Cyclone Harold in April 2020. They were able to support 2 Deaconesses serving in the outer islands with the provision of groceries. Houses had been blown down, and some neighbouring families had taken shelter with the Deaconesses. The Deaconess Order also provided food for vulnerable people on the street. In addition, the Deaconesses learned that children in most of the Methodist Schools had come to school without lunch due to the fact that most of their parents had been laid off work. The Deaconesses serving in schools were encouraged to work with teachers and parents to recognise the plight of the students, and to provide lunch packs.

(Deaconess Meresiana Kuricava is President, DIAKONIA Asia Pacific - DAP)

ELCIC and the pandemic

Here are two examples of how the ministry that two of our ELCIC deacons are involved in has changed due to the pandemic situations here in Canada. Deaconess Pam Harrington is a psycho-therapist from Ontario, and Rev. Karen Wedman is a diaconal minister serving in an administrative role with the Good Samaritan Society in Alberta.

Pam writes: I am doing therapy with people who have high anxiety due to Covid-19, trying to soothe their fears and anxieties and focus on what they CAN control in such an out-of-control time in history. People who are isolated sometimes lose touch with reality and are caught up in mixed messages on the media and can be easily manipulated, coerced and exploited. They also lose hope. It is helpful to have a community of support, so helping them build connections and find people they can relate to, either in social bubbles that are safe or by virtual means, is really important. 

Karen writes: I am serving on the EOC (Emergency Operations Committee) working on pandemic plans for the whole of our organization.  We meet each day and discuss current staffing issues, PPE (personal protective equipment), extra legislative requirements, employee support, etc. that is required in light of COVID. My role is still administrative, however, I send out a weekly devotion to all employees to lift them up in prayer and in gratitude for who they are and the work they provide. 

Karen works with another ELCIC deacon, Sarah Rudd, and says this:  Sarah is heavily involved at our care home that has over 75 cases of COVID. Unfortunately, the virus spread quickly and Sarah is assisting the care home, arranging extra shifts, meeting with residents and families, sitting with the dying and dealing with families who are grieving. As manager, Sarah is also coordinating the ministry of the other chaplains that have been brought into the care home to help at this time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives and ministry. It is encouraging to see the ways Deacons are responding to the needs of those they serve, as those needs have changed during this pandemic. 


COVID responses in British Columbia

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of the least of these” Matthew 10:42

In a hot climate, a cup of cold water must have been a rare treat. I wonder what is a cup of cold water in the Pandemic in my context? I am a Canadian Anglican Deacon in Victoria, British Columbia.

Here, COVID has caused 195 deaths. Yet overdose deaths have climbed in the pandemic reaching a peak of 710 deaths as of June 2020. In June alone there were 175 deaths. We have more than one crisis. We have learned to social distance, wear masks and sanitize/wash our hands, but when the topic of a realistic, non-prohibition style response to substance use is raised, there is great resistance.  Might the cup of “cold water” be legal safe drugs? Could the cup of “cold water” be free alcohol to prevent painful nerve shattering withdrawal?

Hope and recovery walk hand in hand but the battle with addiction in times of isolation is difficult. Recovery at the best of times is complex. How can we offer nurture? People need the basics, safe secure housing, food security and respect. In recovery this is crucial along with access to treatment, supervised injection sites, safe available drug/medication supply.  They need supportive relationships as do their families who are further isolated by stigma.

We offer trauma informed yoga, online weekly meditations on scripture and the AA 12 steps, prayers, 5th steps, education/awareness, conversation, advocacy for change, information on community resources; from online AA meetings, to agencies who specialize in substance use needs. Our staff and volunteers from the congregation participated in the 3rd overdose prevention Naloxone training. We are working to offer a cup of “cold water” in Pandemic times.

Rev. Canon Nancy E. Ford, Director of Deacons

Deacon to the City out of Christ Church Cathedral,

ELCA responses to the pandemic

The Deaconess Community of the ELCA answered our question: "What losses and opportunities have members of the Deaconess Community of the ELCA experienced as they faithfully respond to their diaconal calls and work for the flourishing of all God’s creation?" They shared....

~ Sr. Shana Williams (pictured above):  The pandemic has affected my call mainly in a loss of in-person interaction with students, families, and colleagues. It has made everything we do exponentially more difficult. It has highlighted our strengths as a tiny school district, which lie in the relationships and trust we build with students and families.

~ Sr. Melinda Lando: As a healthcare provider, the impact of COVID-19 has forced me to adjust the care I provide to my patients. It has meant hot having direct, face to face, contact with my patients, but rather via telehealth. While this is better than no contact with them, I miss the direct, face to face and physically present  encounters. I've missed this tremendously.    

~ Sr. Clare Josef-Maier: As a campus minister, I realized with dismay that students whose worlds were turned upside down with the pandemic were going to look to me for wisdom and stabilizing. My own capacity to serve them felt like it was crumbling: no more in-person connections through which to gauge their individual needs and support their communal life together, information changing as often as I changed my clothes, my own bearings shaken by the personal impact of the pandemic to my family. But this experience has reminded me that narrow/antiquated definitions of leadership hold us back - the mere presence of caring engagement and accompaniment alongside students as they "surf the waves" of this time empowered their resiliency both as individuals and in community to one another.

 ~ Sr. Kriss Buss: As a hospital chaplain, I have lost the familiar space to grieve with patients and families and staff as they grapple with illness and the rhythm of life and death. In the midst of the pandemic, safety and responsible fear has separated so many families and patients and created many limits on our physical interactions, at the most emotionally charged times. And yet I have learned that there is a breaking in of love and grace in phone calls, the opportunity to hold someone's heart from a distance of six feet or sixty miles. I have learned that we become more aware of deep connection to one another when we must be aware of the distance. I am thankful for constantly thinking of new ways to care for my patients, families, and staff each day as we uphold the sacredness of life and death.

 ~ Sr. Dottie Almoney: The losses I have experienced in my call as a parish Deaconess is the loss of physical community. What I have gained is the knowledge that we can reach more people if we keep incorporating zoom for meetings and learning as well as worship that is live streamed after this pandemic is over!

~ Sr. Mary Arie: We live in a crazy time - what we took for normal is now a mere memory. I am called to pastor two small rural churches - everything is different. The way we do funerals is the most impacted - at the gravesite - no close contact with family. But the Holy Spirit is still comforting the loved ones. The words of comfort are still being said. To be flexible is the key. 

ProGente Connections’s Pandemic Respons

 A Deacon founded and led nonprofit near Boston, MA

Lori Mills-Curran

 ProGente Connections is a coalition of Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA) and Presbyterian (PCA) churches empowering and supporting the huge population of Brazilians living west of Boston, MA.  A Lutheran and an Episcopal deacon were instrumental in its founding.  PGC has served immigrants for several years with English classes for adults, children’s Portuguese classes, immigrant rights advocacy, citizenship help, and Orientation to American culture classes.    

 Amid an unprecedented political attack against immigrants, the US immigrant community is experiencing a storm of fear, illness, legal jeopardy, unemployment, isolation and hostility. Most are not eligible for government payroll loans, unemployment benefits, medical insurance or food aid.  Many lost service sector jobs or businesses.  Many are exposed to the virus daily with limited protective gear or information about its use. Childcare is gone and evictions loom.   Coming from areas with no rule of law, many people are terrified by recent US social unrest.  Extended families are in danger of infection in Brazil.  

 ProGente Connections has assembled practical aid such as food and cleaning supplies.  It is tapping local churches and charitable organizations for support for current needs, while moving all possible programs online.   PGC currently serves 47 families.  

 (Photo: Lori Mills-Curran, Deacon, Episcopal Church, Boston)

Cheryl Plummer, Hospice Chaplain (Lutheran Deaconess Association)

 Cheryl Plummer, Lutheran Diaconal Association, is a hospice chaplain. During this pandemic she has continued to be at the bedsides of those near the end of their lives, to offer spiritual comfort and support, religious rituals, and connection to loved ones in the hospital, extended care facilities and private homes. The hospitals are a somewhat eerie and different place during this COVID pandemic, the hallways are empty, no visitors and no routine procedures, but the units themselves are overflowing and busy with lonely patients. For patients who have the COVID virus Cheryl’s ministry has become one of praying in the hallways into the nurse’s phones into the isolation rooms, and comforting and reassuring their loved ones by phone.  Hospice patients in the hospital, who do not have the virus, are allowed one visitor at a time so visits are sometimes long as I wait as each family member is allowed in to the hospital to have their turn to pray and say their goodbyes. Even though our hospice patients can have one visitor at a time, sometimes due to their loved ones being elderly, or having underlying health conditions, or due to them having small children, their loved ones may not be able to be at their bedside as they are dying. So the chaplaincy team has been doing their best to help all those who are sick and dying to connect with those they need to hear from, to hear the voices that will comfort them the most. Even if someone is near the end of life and no longer responsive, the chaplains will help their family see their dying loved one’s face, share in prayer together, and say those things they need to say to them, the things that person needs to hear, that they are loved and will be missed, but it is alright to go be in God’s embrace. 

Cheryl recounts that recently she sat at the bedside of a dying patient and just held the phone while his daughter and then his son and then his wife each called and said their goodbyes, telling him what a good father and husband he is, and that it was alright, that they would take care of one another and his rescue dog, and that they loved him. I comforted each of them as they grieved from afar, with me as their presence for him, close enough to hear their loved one breathe. He died the next day.  

One of the hardest things is that hospice chaplaincy is usually a ministry of touch and hugs. So she has learned that one can hug and express caring using an extra compassionate word or prayer. Hospice chaplains all have moments of doubt and exhaustion and some fear during this crisis. A huge part of Cheryl’s ministry is supporting the rest of the hospice and hospital teams. She has cried a lot but then goes on and puts one foot in front of the other, to continue to provide spiritual care another day.

(Cheryl is a Deaconess in the Lutheran Diaconal Association, and a hospice chaplain)

COVID19 responses in Winnipeg - Josh Ward

In Winnipeg (Canada), United Church of Canada Diaconal Minister Josh Ward serves as the Community Minister at St. Matthews Maryland Community Ministry – an outreach ministry that works to provide support and build community alongside some of the most vulnerable people. When COVID first erupted, most of the support programs had to be cancelled. But there was no intention of abandoning the community entirely! So, fully masked, goggled, and gowned, Josh and the team continued to provide food service at the door for the first months of the pandemic. Where our drop-in normally sees 60 or 70 people in a day, those days saw up to 150 people each day coming to our door for food! The network of partner churches provided incredible support, which was even more incredible when you consider that they were also closing their own doors and trying to figure out next steps for their congregations as all this was going on. A local business person stepped up to provide hot lunches 4 days a week. With all this help the increased demand was able to be met. Though providing food is an important service, St. Matthews Maryland is truly about building relationships and a safe community for folk who don’t enjoy that elsewhere in their life. It was easy to overlook in the early days of the pandemic, when it felt more like a food line. But one thing that was really encouraging was seeing how people in this community responded to the pandemic. They were patient and generous. They took care of each other. They followed safety guidelines and social distanced when they were lining up for food. Instead of panic, we saw smiles and gratitude. A pandemic is exactly the kind of time when a strong community is needed most! So it was totally fulfilling to see how this community banded together. It confirmed for us that what we are doing in this community is working.

Thankfully, COVID hasn’t hit Winnipeg as hard as it has in other places. The community program is currently in the process of slowly re-opening in a safe way, with social distancing protocols in place. The commitment remains to build relationships and a strong community, so that everyone in the community knows that no matter what COVID throws at us next: We can handle it together! (Josh is based at 1JustCity - St Matthews Maryland Community Ministry, Winnipeg).

Sisterhood Bethesda in Basel, Switzerland - supporting COVID-19 projects

Member associations have offered financial support for projects in other countries. The Sisterhood Bethesda in Basel, Switzerland, maintains its commitment to diaconal work, even though the small community of 20 elderly Sisters is no longer able to conduct projects of their own. The three projects outlined here are indicative of their generous support to vulnerable people in a time where hope has been diminished and the future looks grim for so many people.

In collaboration with the relief agency Connexio (Network for Mission and Service of the United Methodist Church) in Switzerland, the Bethesda Sisters have offered emergency aid, focussed on alleviating the suffering of vulnerable people and food insecurity. 

In Argentina, food packages have been distributed to people in slum areas who have lost their income as a result of quarantine measures. In North Macedonia, protective clothing and disposable tableware was purchased to continue meal delivery and home care ministries for old and sick people. In the DR Congo, pastors’ families, whose income had diminished in a way that they could no longer live on it, received a big sack of corn meal each. Thanks to the love in action of the Bethesda sisters, thousands of people have been helped quickly and efficiently. 

The Bethesda Sisters have also funded relief work offered by Osteuropa Mission Schweiz (OEM -Eastern Europe Mission Switzerland), an independent Christian relief agency that advocates for ethnic minorities, the socially weak and disadvantaged, and is committed to fighting poverty that impacts the most vulnerable. OEM church members of all ages have prepared pots of soup outdoors, each of 100 litres. Soup, bread and vegetable salad have been given to needy people on the streets. As the food packages were given out, the church members prayed with the people and blessed them.

The Bethesda Sisters have also supported relief efforts in the Philippines, in collaboration with the agency Onesimo, a faith-based, non-profit NGO working among street children and their families and at-risk young people in Manila. It helps young people whose lives in the slums, or streets, are filled with hopelessness. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Onesimo has distributed food packages to thousands of families. In spite of the pandemic, about 400 young people are still cared for in the community-based rehabilitation programs in the slum churches. As schools have been closed, the young people are relying on alternative school systems, such as provided by the rehabilitation programs. Many of the slum churches have no computer nor internet provider. They were so thankful for financial support, so that the young people could continue their training through online learning.

New Web Manager for DIAKONIA World Federation

Web Manager Diane Kaufmann has been the DWF Web Manager since 2012 and has indicated she plans to hand over responsibilities by the end of 2020. Thank you for your years of faithful and dedicated service, Diane.  

Welcome to her successor, Deaconess Student, Sara Manning. We look forward to the redesigned web sites coming soon.  

How COVID-19 is impacting communities in Nigeria and Africa

(by Deaconess Ibironke O. Oremade-Oworu)

The Corona Virus Pandemic or the Covid-19 is an uncommon situation that showed up across the World and created a situation that the present generation had not witnessed before. The pandemic caused virtually all economies of the world to shut down. Movement within each country and across continents have been limited. 

The virus has caused so many deaths with some countries more affected than others. The western world, even with all the advancement in health care, has witnessed more death and has been greatly affected.

Looking at the effect of the pandemic as it affects Africa we might say that Africa has been very lucky because the fear at the beginning was that Africa Countries will be greatly affected especially in regards to our health care system and since no Country was prepared for something of this magnitude.

South Africa is the African Country that has been greatly affected with the highest number of infections and deaths.


Nigeria has also experienced her share of the Covid-19 infection but again the country has been lucky so far. The country has had 50,488 infections with 985 deaths and 37, 304 recoveries. 

The Government had to issue a lockdown of most of the country, causing businesses to shut down and people to stay at home. It was not a pleasant experience because most people earn their wages through daily labour or employment. When people are not able to go out during the day, then they are not sure of being able to feed their families. This was the greatest challenge at the beginning of the lockdown experience. 

The government acted by providing palliative measures in terms of cash transfer and provision of food stuffs to vulnerable families. However, this could not continue for too long because the population is so large. This challenge made the government ease the lockdown, so that people could gradually return to their businesses. There were stringent measures in place to curb the spread of the virus. The use of the facemask is compulsory even though the compliance is not 100%.

Another challenge which we have observed during this pandemic is the increase in cases of domestic abuse and rape. The rape victims have sadly been young babies, children, young ladies and even older women. When caught, the perpetrators of this evil act will most of the time blame the devil for their actions. There has been an increase in cases of fathers defiling their daughters and their family members. The government is concerned about this upsurge and is now working on enacting laws that will keep perpetrators of such acts away from the public for a long time. Some of our legislators and members of the public have suggested life imprisonment and castration for anyone caught in the act. 

As with other parts of the world, another challenge is how to get students to return to school in the midst of the pandemic. In Nigeria the government last week allowed students who have to write their final High School examinations to return to school just to write the examination - while observing all safety rules. However, in one State in the country, seven students writing the examination have already tested positive.

In the Archdiocese of Lagos, Deaconesses are working with relevant authorities and agencies to discourage domestic violence and rape through education programmes that highlight the importance of being vigilant with the girl child. As well, remembering that the boy child also gets raped. We consider gender when we speak about domestic abuse and rape.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

DIAKONIA World Federation - Executive Committee (July 2020)

The DWF Executive Committee met in July 2020 by Zoom. As people lived in different parts of the globe, from Fiji to Seattle, some were joining the meeting before dawn in winter (5.30am in South Australia) and others were joining the meeting late at night (Europe). People in North America had the luxury of meeting in the afternoon. The meeting happened for 1.5 hours each day for four consecutive days. A great deal of work was done. In fact, the Executive agreed to meet more often by Zoom, rather than one annual meeting, and that the face to face meetings would happen every second year. This enables more regular contact and monitoring the progress of the Executive's work, and is a wise use of financial resources. 

The Minutes of the DWF Executive Committee meeting are available here. If you prefer to read a PDF of the minutes, contact the DWF Secretary, Traude Leitenberger

The  Financial Futures Task Group report will be of interest to DWF members, with 23 recommendations. (Read more below)

New member association - Kaiserswerther Schwesternschaft

 In July 2020, the DIAKONIA World Federation (DWF) approved Kaiserswerther Schwesternschaft in Germany as a new member association, on the recommendation of DRAE (DIAKONIA Region of Africa Europe) Executive Committee. The Kaiserswerther Schwesternschaft is an evangelical sisterhood, with 74 members (mainly retired). Sr Ulrike Kellner served for many years as Secretary for DIAKONIA World Federation. 

Actually, this 'new' member has a long history, dating back to 1836 and the pioneering work of Lutheran Pastor Theodor Fliedner in Kaiserswerth. Over the decades, an enormous range of services have been developed in the social, health and education sector, including aged care, children and youth, people with disabilities, vocational training, schools, day centres, and the Florence Nightingale hospital with general and specialist clinics. The work is overseen by a Board, and employs approximately 2,600 people. Due to a recent re-structure, it has been necessary to apply afresh for membership, as previously membership was through the Kaiserswerther Association. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle - Cameroon

The WCC Ecumenical Prayer Cycle includes the Cameroon on August 2nd-8th, 2020.

DIAKONIA World Federation has a member association in Cameroon, Communauté de l’Emmanuel (Emmanuel Community), a protestant monastic community within the "Presbyterian Church in Cameroon" (PCC). It was one of the first Protestant communities of Africa. It was founded in 1971 by Sister Madeleine Mary Handy, Cameroonian and first woman pastor of Cameroon. The Cameroon sisters are closely associated with the Deaconesses Sisterhood of Reuilly (Versailles).

The prioresses (left to right)
Rev. Sr. Madeleine M. Handy, founder and prioress 1971-1999
Rev. Sr. Judith Ngo Nyemb, prioress 1999-2012
Rev .Sr. Shalom Kiven, prioress from 2012    

The Charisma of Emmanuel Sisters is prayer, service to the poor and needy (whether the needs are
spiritual or practical), service to the church, and ecumenism. Prayer is central in the life of the Emmanuel Sisters. Isaiah 62: 6-7 guides them to give God no rest as they watch and pray for the whole world. Being a member of this community the sister must develop an intimate fellowship with God through prayer and learn to invoke God in all circumstances through prayer.

Prayers of thanksgiving for:
* the natural resources and diverse gifts, such as the distinctive music and dance of Cameroon
* those who minister to victims of sexual violence, trafficking and other human rights abuses
* Christians and people of other faiths who courageously have pursued reconciliation and peace among those in conflict
* individuals and organizations who have provided for health clinics and schools in Cameroon

Prayers for others:
* just resolutions to the conflicts and violence among diverse groups and their leaders
* refugees who flee to other countries, and for those who host them
* economic developments that make it possible for all to rise out of poverty
* stable democratic governments that effectively serve the common good.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

DIAKONIA Executive Committee meeting by Zoom July 2020

The DIAKONIA World Federation (DWF) Executive Committee met online via Zoom this week. Ordinarily, we would have gathered for a face to face meeting, but travel plans had to be cancelled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We had to arrange a narrow window of time over 4 days for our meeting, as members of the Executive live in many different time zones around the world - from Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria, Scotland, Germany, Winnipeg in Canada, and Wisconsin and Seattle in the U.S.A. So it was very early morning (5.30am) for two members and 10pm at night for many others. Those in North America were in the early afternoon - so much more civilised!
There was a good sense of community built over the 4 days of our 'virtual' meeting.
Thank you for the prayers which sustained the Executive for the fairly concentrated time as we discussed important matters for DIAKONIA.
(Draft) minutes from the meeting will be available in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Tanzania and Kenya

The WCC Ecumenical Prayer Cycle focusses on Tanzania and Kenya, 21-27th June.
(Our day of prayer for DIAKONIA is on the 26th of each month)

There is a Deaconess Association in Kenya, part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya. And there are 4 associations in Tanzania, all connected with the Lutheran Church in Tanzania. As part of your prayers, consider writing or emailing to say you're praying for their association and their ministry. Let's stay connected in our prayers and ministry.
(Really interesting to find out more about the Associations. Still scouting around for some more. I hope you enjoy reading, learning - and then praying for our sisters and brothers in Kenya and Tanzania). 
Please click on the link for more information, and prayers, on this post. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Prayers for Zambia

The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle this week (June 14-20) includes Zambia, where there is a DIAKONIA member association - Deaconesses of the United Church of Zambia (UCZ).

The UCZ is the largest Protestant church in Zambia with coverage of all the ten provinces of the country The church formed in 1965 as a result of the union of 5 churches including the Church of Central Africa, Rhodesia (a mission work of the Church of Scotland). The Deaconesses of the UCZ are a vibrant group of women serving their communities through community development and practical support. In April 2018, 3 more Diaconal workers were Commissioned at the Diakonia Centre in Kabwe. In total there are about 50 UCZ Deaconesses.

The context for ministry is challenging. General Secretary of the United Church of Zambia, Rev Dr Peggy Kabonde, said in a statement in 2019 that she observed with serious concern the levels of animosity and violence in the country. The Church urged all Zambians to embrace unity, tolerance and patriotism as critical values and virtues for co-existence. She emphasised that violence and attitudes that promotes tension and divisions should not be condoned at any cost. The church urged the general public to unity and to grab every opportunity that promotes peace and unity for the well-being of Zambia. Nevertheless, this year 2020 has seen fresh violence, with ritual killings, gassing and mob violence resulting in the loss of innocent lives. The UCZ has condemned this in the strongest terms.

Human trafficking and modern day slavery is an issue in Zambia that is dehumanizing, commodifying and stripping of a person’s God-given human dignity. The UCZ has called on religious and political leaders to take appropriate measures to protect vulnerable groups in Zambia whether they were a source, in transit or have reached their destination.
Deaconess Mable Sichali

Sunday, June 7, 2020

New Deacons in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

New deacons have been ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, on June 5 & 6. Because of current public health circumstances due to COVID19, the ordinations have taken place in a new way this year. The Liturgy of the Word portion of the ordination service, including presentation of the ordinands and sermon by Bishop Alan M. Gates, was conducted as an online gathering via Zoom on Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m. The examination and laying on of hands for the ordinands took place at separate events at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston on Saturday, June 6.  Only the primary participants were able to be present in person, to accommodate physical distancing protocols.  Family members, friends, sponsors and the wider diocesan community watched via live webcast.

Of the nine ordained, four were ordained to the diaconate: Marilee Comerford (Trinity Church, Marshfield); Valerie Cowart (All Saints’ Church, Chelmsford); James Thomas (St. John’s Church, Sandwich); and Natalie Thomas (St. Christopher’s Church, Chatham). (The other five were ordained to the transitional Diaconate, a step towards priesthood, in separate online services).

Those ordained to the diaconate chose to be ordained together, serving as each other's supporters, a wonderful affirmation of their sense of community and belonging in the diaconate.

Blessings to Marilee, Valerie, James and Natalie on their ordination.

newly ordained Deacon Natalie Thomas

Natalie's morning prayer on the day of her ordination (published on her Facebook page)
God, make me worthy of the ministry you have entrusted to me.
I want to stand in the gap – a reminder of injustice, suffering, and pain in the church and a sign of love, endurance, and promise in the world.
I want to love the gap.
I want to remember that church and world are more wrapped up than we ever know.
I want to love the things that are uncomfortable,
help me make my home in the questions that aren’t easily answered.
Help me to push myself and the people who seek to follow you to be discontent
with what feels good enough and to push on towards your way of wholeness.
Help me to remain, to remain steady for those who cannot feel you in the moment.
Help me to remember that you show up to all of us in our own ways
and in our own time and all I am called to do, is love.
Help me to forgive, over and over and over again,
to remember that I get to choose what I hold on to and what I release.
Help me to believe in who you have called me to be.
Help me to run your race with all you have given me,
please God give me glimpses of you along the way.
Help me to stay grounded in your truth – remind me that I am dependent on your love
and without your guidance and your word, the word, as my light and lamp, I will falter.
Hold me when I don’t think I’m held.
Keep me humble, aware that I never know the full picture,
remind me that you are bigger than any of us can understand,
keep my ears open to year ever active truth.
Anger me and embolden me when our world doesn’t look like what you imagined for us –
stir up in me a longing for equity, justice,
and liberation that cannot be diminished by worldly comforts
May I go to places where I can be among those who know your way,
the way of exclusion and suffering.
Remind me that you lived your life among those the world deemed sick –
help me do the same.
May this ministry transform and challenge me.
Every. Single. Day.
Most of all, may I always remember that this is not my path to carve out, you have gone ahead, Holy Spirit, Miriam, Mary, Sarah, Hagar, Bathsheba, Mary Magdalene, Sedonia, Phoebe, Elaine, Dorothy, Annette, Sojourner, Rosa, Barbara, Pat, Esther … the Spirit has gone ahead and I am never ever ever alone on this path.

It's a prayer that we can all pray!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Serving all

Serving all
When it comes to serving,
we all choose who it will be, Jesus;
 Some people are easy to serve:
those we love,
those who love us,
those who are like us,
those who show us their appreciation.
But, others make serving really hard:
those we dislike and fear,
those who attack or fear us,
those who are different.
those who seem to just take and give nothing back.
But, in all of our picking and choosing,
you ask a very difficult thing of us, Jesus –
you ask us to be servants of all.
How are we to do this?
How do we serve the weak, the poor, the neglected,
and the strong, the wealthy, the pampered?
How do we serve the broken, the victims, the denied,
and the breaker, the perpetrator, the denier?
How do we possibly serve all?
However it may be, Jesus,
keep us from using our fear or confusion
as an excuse not to serve;
and help us just to make serving
the most natural response we have to anyone.
And may our service join with that of others,
to gently change our world into a place
where all serve
and all are served. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

This is not a moment, this is a movement

On the tragic death of George Floyd, and the subsequent global protests....

Amid the riots of 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard. What is it that America has failed to hear?” The question confronting us today may be not only what America has failed to hear, but what has the world failed to hear?

A time for confession, lament, repentance, reconciliation and resolve.....

Black Lives Matter
Your love encompasses all people.
To you all lives matter,
For all life matters,
And the way that we live life matters,
But at this time,
When the light of truth shines on particular injustice,
And draws our attention to the inequity of racial prejudice and discrimination,
We unite in solidarity to declare that black lives matter.
We proclaim this not at the exclusion of the lives or value of other groups of people,
But, because we seek to address this serious and unresolved issue,
Which is one of the many problems in society,
We intentionally single out those who have faced and continue to face
the effects of entrenched and longstanding racism.
We acknowledge hurt
We understand anger.
We feel frustration.
We grieve for the loss and suffering.
We stand alongside.
We kneel in solidarity .
We reject violence.
We reject persecution.
We reject empty words and promises.
In this time of trouble,
We call for peace,
But we call for change.
We call for justice, not revenge.
We call for action and transformation,
Of attitudes and behaviour,
And strategies which seek to address the core of the problem,
Rather than Band Aid fixes to placate the crowd.
In this we need your help and guidance
For, in our flawed humanity, there is some hope,
But equal failure,
So, only in your wisdom will we find a way forward.
As Christ, you lived compassion and taught is the way.
As Spirit, you work for reconciliation and healing.
Be with us now,
And with all people.
Soften hearts that are hard.
Strengthen wills that are weak.
Change minds that are set
Reshape anger into positive action,
That we might end racial injustice,
And in doing so, create space to address other issues.
This we kneel to pray.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Uniting Church in Australia, June 2020)

“I used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ in a social media post earlier this week. As happens each time I use the phrase, someone asks, ‘Why not just say “all lives matter?”’ Here is my quick response: When one of my four kids got hurt, it didn’t seem to make sense to say to them, ‘All my kids matter.’ In that moment, I embraced them and said, ‘You matter. Your pain matters. Your healing and return to health matters.’ That doesn’t diminish my love for my other kids. It expands my capacity to love as I live with another person’s pain.
Jesus did the same thing in his ministry. He didn’t say, ‘all people matter.’ He went to those who were hurting, who’d been denied a place at the table, who had been cast out of community and said ‘You Matter.’ Samaritans matter. Women matter. Tax collectors matter. Lepers matter. Did that mean he loved other people less? By no means. His life and ministry expanded the vision and capacity of his followers to love as they broke down the religious and cultural walls that had long divided people.”
(Source: Kai Nilsen, circulating on Facebook)

Video of thousands of protestors singing 'Lean on Me' by the late Bill Withers, in Washington.
Also this video of the same event with the crowd singing on its own.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Praying for South Africa

The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle highlights southern Africa (Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland) from May 31st to 6th June, 2020.

We are invited to pray for our diaconal sisters and brothers in South Africa - the Highveld Deacons, and the Methodist Diaconal Order. They are member associations of DIAKONIA World Federation and DRAE (DIAKONIA Region Africa Europe).

Friday, May 22, 2020

Cyclones, Heat and Climate Change

(May 22) Super Cyclone Amphan with sustained winds of 170 km/h and gusts up to 190 km/h has left more than 80 dead in India (and Bangladesh) as a trail of destruction was left behind. Cyclone Amphan intensified from a category-1 cyclone to a category-5 cyclone in a span of only 18 hours. It has caused widespread flooding, and millions are without power. Coastal villages have been devastated, and mud houses knocked down. Roads were littered with uprooted trees and lamp posts, electricity and communication lines were down and centuries-old buildings were damaged. Hundreds of villages were flooded and shelters were unable to run at full capacity in many places due to the coronavirus. Some people were too scared about the risk of infection to go there. The pandemic also will affect relief efforts and the recovery. Damage from the storm is likely to have lasting repercussions for the poor, who are already stretched to the limit by the economic impact of the virus.

Meanwhile Chennai (Madras, Tamil Nadu) is bracing for a heatwave. The sudden change in weather is attributed to westerly winds bringing dry land breeze, and super cyclonic storm Amphan, which has taken away all the moisture from the region. Cyclones are fuelled by available heat. Warming seas can make cyclones more powerful, by increasing the potential energy available to them, effectively increasing their power ceiling or speed limit. Higher sea-surface temperatures mean that cyclone wind speeds can increase. The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology reported, "High ocean temperatures are conducive to rapid intensification of cyclones.  Some of the buoys in the Bay of Bengal have registered maximum surface temperatures of 32-34 degrees Celsius (~90 degrees F) consecutively for the first two weeks of May. These are record temperatures driven by climate change".

Three Deaconess associations in India are members of DIAKONIA World Federation.
* CSI Order of Women in the Church of South India, Women's House (Karnataka)
* TELC Bethania Deaconess Home (Andhra Pradesh)
* The Methodist Church in India, Deaconesses Order

Please remember them in your prayers.

A prayer in the aftermath of severe weather
Comfort your people who have been torn by the winds,
made homeless by the waters,
injured by falling buildings and debris,
the bridges washed away, coast ravaged,
roads blocked, trees ripped up by their roots.
Comfort those who grieve,
give strength to those who are rescuing
those not yet secured,
and searching for survivors.
Guide those who care for the injured,
and shelter the evacuated,
fearful of Covid-19,
which has already taken so many.
Lead those who try to bring in
food and medicine and relief supplies
where ways are impassible.
And as people emerge, seeking what is left of their lives,
connecting with family, hunting for home -
in the midst of the rains that continue,
give, O God, hope,
tenderness in loss,
companionship in rebuilding
and the compassion of the world. Amen.
(adapted, Maren Tirabassi, Gifts in Open Hands, 21 May 2020)

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Praying for Mamre Community in Madagascar

The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle is a wonderful guide for prayer. From 17-23rd May, Madagascar is named (as one of the group of Indian Ocean Islands - Comoros, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles).

The Fiaraha Miaima Amim Bavaka MAMRE* FJKM (Mamre Community) in Madagascar is a member association of DIAKONIA World Federation, and of DRAE (DIAKONIA Region Africa Europe), with about 11 members.
(*Mamre is remembered as the site where Abraham pitched the tents for his camp, built an altar (Genesis 13:18), and was brought divine tidings, in the guise of three angels, of Sarah's pregnancy (Genesis 18:1-15)).

Sister Angéline writes:
Dear Sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus
“… and others do not marry for the sake of the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 19: 12b)
I thank Almighty God Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for giving his grace to each member of the Mamre Community. By this grace we can continue to live out our three vocations of prayer, consecrated celibacy and community life - our main testimony in this Malagasy nation and in the world. We are very happy with this life and in God’s calling for us. At this time of world pandemic, we are intensifying our prayers for the world because we trust that only God in his power can deliver this world. We continue to grow our faith in his Son Jesus Christ, the one who was victorious over death, the one who has all authority on earth and in heaven. In normal times, many people come to our homes for prayer and a time of silence. We are glad to continue our service to people in need:
* Evangelism of the prisoners once a week. The men are happy to have a time of prayer and they can share openly their sorrow with the sisters.
* We are still occupied with helping the primary school children who live around the community and go to the local state school. We give them lunch every school day. We have Bible study with them. We help them with their studies. They are delighted to come to the center and don’t always want to go back home.
I am sure all of you are carrying on with your service in your country, as much as you can. I encourage you all to serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the needy people around you, because you serve Jesus in them. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

COVID- 19 means some of these activities cannot be offered at this time. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mothers Day 2020

God Be With the Mothers and Motherers
Be with the mothers and motherers,
Those awesome women,
Who play such a significant role and part in our lives,
Who embody for us so much of your love and character.
Gift them patience,
As they wait and hope for us to discover our potential.
Gift them grace,
As we so often take them for granted or abuse or disrespect their love.
Gift them forgiveness,
For us and themselves as we all make mistakes and fall short in our love.
Grant them strength,
For their load is heavy and the burden of their care for us unrelenting.
Gift them persistence,
For theirs is an ever unfinished work.
Gift them rest,
For their efforts and concern for our wellbeing and prospering is unceasing.
Gift them tears,
As they weep for our hurting and failing in their empathy and compassion.
Gift them grieving,
For love is full of loss
And they lose much as we grow into our independence.
Gift them insight,
The wisdom to see the best way of being.
Gift them gentleness,
To speak guidance to us who so want to be independent.
Grant them space,
To be themselves and chase their own dreams and goals.
Grant them peace,
Knowing that like you, we are our own selves,
Who make our own choices,
In our own way and time,
Carrying the consequences that come,
Hopefully shaped by their love and care,
But not always in the way that they would have us,
For in the end we are our own people,
As they nurtured us to be.
May we in return,
Treasure their part in our lives,
Be grateful in real and practical ways,
Honour their legacy to us by becoming our best selves,
And love them as they have loved us,
Just as we have been loved by you.
Be with the mothers who cannot be,
Who long for the children they cannot have.
Be with the mothers who have lost their children,
Whose souls have been tom and the ache of their grief is incessant.
Enfold them and all in your mothering love.
Be with the mothers and motherers.
In gratitude we pray.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Sydney, Australia)