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Regional Programme

Liturgy for the International Women’s Day

LiturgyMarch 8, 2009

Invocation

(Chant or a mild music can be played)

Call to Worship

L: This is the day that the Lord has made
P: Let us rejoice and be glad in it

L: Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord
P: Let us rejoice and celebrate for new life, new hopes and new vision in us

L: Give thanks to the God, for God’s love, inspiration and motivation
P: For God’s steadfast love endures forever… Hallelujah!

Music/Song/Hymn

A Poem

With an earth like this who needs hell….?

These days they attack me
Even in my home
Why then do they say:
‘there is no place like home?’
I am robbed in my playground
Raped in my school,
Bombed in cinemas
Bus stations
Flea markets
And shopping malls
I am the target
No matter who I am
Is there a safe place for me to play?
Please show me the way

I need refuge
Yet no place on earth is safe
Your government says
I can stay for a while
Yet I am harassed
Manhandled
Embarrassed
In your airports

I may work for your people
Yet I can be whipped
If my boss does not have my papers
From a human being
With dignity
I am reduced to an animal
They call ‘the undocumented’
How can you call this place earth
For me it’s a big battle field
Sometimes there are no guns
But too often I am killed
Not by bullets
But ignorance by hatred
Discrimination
Racism
Inhumanity
Pride

Sometimes it depends on Which side you’re on
Takes sides they say As the ones without sides
Are the ones hurt the most
So I took sides
And it seems there is no difference
Except for the battle of egos

With an earth like this Who needs hell?
No one speaks anymore
All want to play safe
But to play safe for you
Is to put me in danger
Yet why should you care?
Thinking of others is not compulsory
These days, such attitudes
Are as scarce as the land we all seek
As elusive as the word ‘peace’

(By Susan Loone)

Bible Reading

Psalm 12:5
“Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ Says the Lord. I will protect them from those who malign them”

Song/Hymn

Spirit ... spirit of gentleness
(Lyrics of the song is attached at the bottom of the worship)

Voices from the women experiencing violence

A Trafficked Woman’s Voice

I am Zhang Chunli, 20 years old from Sichuan province, China. I had never stepped out from my small village Zhongjiang until I met Chen a good looking man from inner Mongolia and making a good living removing verrucas from farmer’s feet. When he offered me to take his home town for a weekend trip I was delighted to accept the offer and went with him. Soon I realized something was not right and demanded to be taken back. Before I could understand everything I was sold for 3,600 yuan to an old man. I tried to escape but again I was caught, beaten and raped. (From SCMP – January 21, 2009)

A Refugee Woman’s Voice

My name is Au. My daughter and I arrived in Malaysia on October 2007. We are Burmese refugees. In February 2008 my sister Cho and I were arrested by Rela at the Klang bus station while we were on our way home. At the bus station, in plain view of everyone, we pleaded with the officers to let us go, as we hadn’t done anything wrong, but they didn’t listen and brought us to the camp along with others. The Rela officers were inhuman, they didn’t care about us or our children, it didn’t matter to them. (From The book The Revolving Door – Modern-day Slavery Refugees)

A helpless Dalit Man’s Voice

My name is Ram Chandra husband of Ramvathi, I am a, a dalit living in Munni Khera, India. we owned a piece of land on which we had a house. Upper caste villagers were trying to take the land from us but we had objected to this. In result to our refusal to give up our land, my wife Ramvathi was gang-raped by five men from the dominant caste from the village. I tried to lodge a complaint to the police station, but they refused to do so but I and my wife were constantly threatened by influential people in the village and our house was attacked. Local police managed to ensure that the incident was not investigated and due to under severe pressure, we moved to my wife’s parent's village some distance away. (Amnesty International Testimony, October 6, 2005)

Please keep a moment of silence to remember the women who have gone through the violence and the women who are experiencing violence right now

Bible Reading 2

Mark 5:41-43b
“He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Young lady, I tell you, get up!”. The young lady got up at once and started to walk! He also told them to give her something to eat” (ISV) or you can choose any relevant text.

Reflection/Sermon

Song

Where is the Miriam, where is the Moses
(Lyrics of the song is attached at the bottom of the worship)

Intercessory Prayer

(The response can be sung by all)

Leader: God we uphold Zhang Chunli and we pray for the millions of women and girls trafficked every year. The innocent women and young girls are the targets of the unjust economic policies which is widening the gap between the rich and the poor and paving the way to poverty, migration and trafficking in women. God we pray and seek justice for the 60-70 percent of the world’s poor—who are women—who live in the abject poverty and have become victims of the unequal distribution of resources. We pray for the millions of women migrants who are compelled to leave their own country and their dear ones and migrate to other countries for survival of their families back home. We pray for their protection as they experience violence in the foreign countries. We pray that the decision makers would take extra measures to provide decent jobs in the home country to the people.

All: Dream as we may, scheme as we may, but raise up the spirited women and men… but raise up the spirited women and men

Leader: God we pray for all the refugee women and men who are facing violence and humiliation like Au and Cho. Poverty, militarism, ethnic conflicts and unjust economic system, are pushing thousands of women to take refuge in another county for survival. But they end up facing violence, humiliation and torture in the hands of police and military authorities as undocumented people. God we seek your protection and dignity of life for them. We pray to you to change the minds and hearts of the people in power, to accept and respect the refugees as human beings.

All: Dream all we can, scheme all we can, but raise up new prophets the voice for our day… but raise up new prophets the voice for our day

Leader: God we uphold Ramavathi and Ramchandra who were helpless to protect their lives from the oppressive caste system. We pray for the millions of women who are sexually abused in war/militarism, ethnic conflicts, and communal violence, who are affected by HIV/AIDS. We especially pray for the women who are deprived of the medication for HIV/AIDS and ostracized from the main stream society. God we know that they do not deserve to live a life less then a human being. We pray for your healing touch to console them from the trauma they are experiencing in their lives that they may lead a life with dignity.

All: Dream what we will, scheme what we will, we are led by the spirit no crosses can kill… we are led by the spirit no crosses can kill

(you can add more intercession according to the issues and situation of your country)

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in our God
Who created woman and man in God’s own image and likeness
To live in communion and harmony
With people, nature and God

We believe in Jesus Christ
The liberator of this world
Who broke the culture of silence
And affirmed and advocated for the status of women in the society
Who called us to follow His foot steps
To resist all the exploitative and oppressive systems
To build a human community

We believe in the Holy Spirit
That empowers us to stand firm
Who renews and restores the integrity of the creation
Helping all people to grow together towards wholeness of life – Amen.

Hymn/Song

Go tell every one
(Lyrics of the song is attached at the bottom of the worship)

Act of Commitment

White Ribbon Campaign
(members can exchange the ribbon and tie each other’s hand. Its better if a man lead this part)

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is an effort of men working to end violence against women (VAW). In over fifty-five countries, campaigns are led by both men and women, even though the focus is on educating men and boys. In some countries it is a general public education effort focused on ending violence against women. In 1991, a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out about violence against women. Wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men's opposition to violence against women.

In this lent season let men and women come forward and ask for forgiveness of our sins to God. Let us exchange a piece of white ribbon and tie the ribbon in each others’ hands, as a symbol of commitment that we have seen, heard and experience the violence against women and no longer this would be a silence by our active participation to end violence against women and restore peace and justice on this earth.

Song

Bread and roses, Bread and roses

As we go marching, marching
In the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens
A thousand mill lofts grey
Are touched with all the radiance
That a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing
Bread and roses, bread and roses
As we go marching, marching
We battle too for men
For they are women’s children
And we mother them again
Our lives shall not be sweetened
From birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies
Give us bread, but give us roses
As we go marching, marching
We bring the greater days
For the rising of the women
Means the rising of the race
No more the drudge and idler
Ten that toil where one reposes
But the sharing of life’s glories
Bread and roses, bread and roses

Let’s say the Feminist Version of the Lord’s Prayer together

Our Mother who is within us
We celebrate your many names
Your wisdom come
Your will be done
Unfolding from the depths within us
Each day you give us all that we need
You remind us of our limits
And we let go
You support us in our power
And we act with courage
For you are the dwelling place within us
The empowerment around us
And the celebration among us
Now and forever
Amen.
(source: ELCA)

Benediction

May the Blessings of God of Sarah and Abraham, the blessings of the Son, born of mother Mary and the blessings of the holy spirit who broods over us, as mother over her children, be showered up us all and particularly on the women of the world, now and for ever more. Amen

 

Sources:

Transforming Attitudes Towards Sexuality—AWRC, Reflective Liturgy for SCM Women-WSCF AP. 16 Day Prayer campaign for the elimination of all forms of violence against women-2004, DOV, WCC, The Revolving Door – Modern day Slavery Refugee, News Papers, Internet

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