Southern Africa-Indian Ocean observes International Women's Day of Prayer 2021
Many churches in Southern Africa held virtual services on many digital platforms.
Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID)
[Southern Africa] Prayers, sermons, songs, poetry, and fellowship brought women of all ages together to observe International Women's Day of Prayer (IWDOP).
Most churches in Southern Africa conducted their services virtually on WhatsApp, Telegram, Zoom, National Televisions, DSTV, and media houses. Some churches conducted church services in person according to the health prescribed regulations It was pleasing to note that even the most rural churches embraced the day.
Highlights of the events taking place for International Women's Day of Prayer, May 6, 2021, include the following.
- Women conducted all Sabbath School activities in most churches.
- A number of churches had men and women serving together during worship services.
- In most churches, women were allowed to preach during divine service.
- Women featured prominently during afternoon prayer programs.
- During the programming of the day, church members learned about the Seventh-day Adventist Church strategic plan, I WILL GO.
- A number of churches pledged to embrace this 2020-2025 worldwide church initiative with Women's Ministries response, I Will Go Reach My World.
- Churches also pledged to participate in an upcoming online evangelism thrust by Women's Ministries.
- Some churches ended the special day with a fellowship meal.
- Some unions observed a week of prayer and an additional resource was developed.
- Other unions translated the resource material into local languages.
- The IWDOP sermon, which centered on five Bible characters and their responses of "I WILL GO," touched many hearts. Women made personal commitments to God and to go reach the world in their various ways and places.
- Prayer was not the only focus of the day. Women addressed felt needs in the community by giving food parcels, conducting soup kitchens, hospital visitations, distributing blankets and Bibles. The message of Isaiah 58 could be seen in action.
- Many conferences conducted night vigils in prayer, where life-changing experiences took place such as confession of known sins, praising the Lord, and making known to the Lord their needs.
- Women of all ages took part in IWDOP programs—children, teens, young adults, and seasoned women. Many participated as My Sister My Friend, Ministerial Spouses, Female Pastors, and Young Adventist Women's Ministries who were heavily involved.
- In places where women’s ministry is resisted, most churches did not distinguish between the ministry work of the Dorcas Society and Women’s Ministries and so forth, and recorded their participation as "women" [of the church].
- Women did not pray alone; they invited non-church members, such as wives of dignitaries, to attend the program and to pray with and for them.
- Prayer sessions were conducted throughout the day, but the audio prayer chain of conference, union, and division Women's Ministries directors praying hourly from 6:00am – 6:00pm, interceding for issues affecting women in Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, was the most significant part of the day for the leaders involved.
Contributed by Caroline Chola, Women's Ministries director for Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division
Photos: SID WM
Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2021 Q2, spring issue