Since 1887, on or near the first Friday in March every year, millions of Christians have gathered worldwide to pray for the issues of family violence, child abuse, human trafficking, and other forms of injustice, as part of the World Day of Prayer Service.
In 2018, this prayerful support will be directed at the 540 000 inhabitants of the Republic of Suriname, on the north-eastern coast of South America.
Despite a history steeped in slavery and political coups, this tiny nation has achieved remarkable progress since its independence in 1975. Suriname enjoys multi-ethnicity and biodiversity, freedom of religion, free primary and secondary education, and free medical care for children and seniors.
But behind closed doors, family violence, abuse and neglect are ongoing issues. Children are particularly vulnerable, many growing up in orphanages or one-parent families. While education is free, there is no compulsory school attendance. Child labour in the form of street selling is common, but of far more serious concern is the fact that many children are labouring in the gold mines of Suriname.
This year’s service has been prepared by the World Day of Prayer Committee of Suriname.
They write: “Women from Suriname lift up their voices to remind us that we are caretakers of God’s creation. They are bringing to our attention the urgent need for caring at a time when more than 180 countries have signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. A commitment to keep the Earth cooler depends on public policies implemented by governments, but also on our personal lifestyle.”
A number of Uniting Church WA congregations take part in World Day of Prayer each year, and you are invited to join in prayer for the needs of Suriname and its people at a service or event near you.
For more information visit worlddayofprayeraustralia.org.