People of religious beliefs across the world will unite in prayer Friday for the annual World Day of Prayer, and a local group will host an event so Pettis County residents can take part.
Church Women United of Sedalia will host a World Day of Prayer Celebration Friday afternoon, centered on the theme “Receive Children, Receive Me.” The theme was chosen by CWU members in Cuba; each year women from a different country develop the program that will be used by millions across the world.
“This year the Christian women from Cuba have written the worship service,” CWU of Sedalia member Judy Ebers said. “Their theme is ‘Receive Children, Receive Me.’ That is based on how Jesus had a passion for children in the Bible.”
Ebers said there will be a program given to each person who attends Friday’s event, listing the Cuban women’s program and the readings and prayers that will be used.
“It’s all about these women and how their heart was when it was written, what their needs are for their children, their families to have hope,” Ebers said. “You see all kinds of depth in some of these programs from the countries they come from.
“It’s enriching to me to experience with them, even though you’re just reading it from paper, it’s deeper than that because this came from their hearts. These women have prayed about what their program would be and what their needs are in their country.”
According to the Church Women United website, CWU was founded in 1941 as a “racially, culturally and theologically inclusive Christian women’s movement to celebrate unity in diversity and work for peace in the world.” CWU of Sedalia member Carol Barnes said the Sedalia chapter was founded in 1947.
Friday’s local event will include information about South American countries to coincide with the program written by Cuban women. A musical presentation will also be offered by students from Amigos de Cristo, as involving children ties in with this year’s theme.
“They are five little preschool boys who will be singing and it will be delightful, just delightful,” Barnes said.
Ebers and Barnes both spoke about how World Day of Prayer emphasizes the importance of inclusion and unity and the understanding of other cultures.
“It’s the unity around the globe of Christian people joining together in prayer — they say from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun, anywhere in the world, people are in prayer,” Ebers said. “People in groups around the world are in prayer and groups from every denomination. We’re praying with people. We’re not just saying prayers alone, we’re praying with people all over the world.”
Both women noted that even though their group is called Church Women United, everyone is welcome to attend Friday’s event.
“I feel that sometimes men and boys think, ‘oh that’s sponsored by women,’ but it doesn’t exclude anyone,” Barnes said. “We would love to have our fathers, our grandfathers, whoever can. We want the whole family to know they are invited, men, women and children, to pray with us and those around the world.”
The World Day of Prayer Celebration in Sedalia will take place at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Immanuel United Church of Christ, 418 W. Fourth St. The event is free and open to the public.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.