Local women unite in prayer for African nation

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Joyce King speaks to members of Church Women United Friday, March 12, 2010 during World Day of Prayer at Evangelical United Church of Christ in Cape Girardeau. Women of the African country Cameroon wrote the days service around the phrase "Let everything that has breath praise God". On display in the background are pieces of art from several African nations. (Laura Simon)

Women from churches across Cape Girardeau are looking to the power of prayer to make a difference in the lives of women and children around the world.

Women representing nearly 30 area church congregations gathered Friday at the Evangelical United Church of Christ for the 2010 World Day of Prayer -- an ecumenical event sponsored by Church Women United, a local multidenominational women's group. Each year the event focuses on a different country. Friday's service offered up prayers for the African nation of Cameroon.

"If a church wants to make a difference in this world, it has to start with prayer," said the Rev. Dan Johnson, pastor of the Evangelical United Church of Christ. "The power to make things better always comes from God."

Event organizer Joan Sebaugh hopes World Day of Prayer helps bring to light the dire living conditions many of the world's women and children face.

"Although we come from different denominations, this allows us to capitalize on our commonalities. We all care about world hunger, improving women's health and creating education opportunities for girls in countries where they don't have a chance to go to school," said Sebaugh, a member of Sargent's Chapel Lutheran Church in Sedgewickville, Mo.

In Cameroon, a country slightly larger than California, women have no rights to own land and only 5 percent of children receive more than a grade-school education. The nation has a population of nearly 17.5 million, and its largest industry is farming, producing export goods such as coffee, cotton, tobacco, rubber, bananas and palm products.

Along with songs and Scripture readings, Friday's service also included an offering to help women worldwide. Each year the offerings collected by local Church Women United groups are redistributed as grants to organizations providing health care, education and basic necessities to women and children around the world.

According to the World Day of Prayer International Committee's website, www.worlddayofprayer.net, women in 170 countries take part in this annual event each March.

Next year's featured country will be Chile.

From left, Joyce Treadwell, Grace Coy, Roxie Lindsay, and Ramona Briankopf listen as Pastor Dan Jonson speaks to members of Church Women United Friday, March 12, 2010 during World Day of Prayer held in his church Evangelical Church of Christ in Cape Girardeau. Women of the African country Cameroon wrote the days service around the phrase "Let everything that has breath praise God". (LAURA SIMON)

Local organizers say the World Day of Prayer not only helps women in other nations but also those right here at home who take part.

"Our denominations divide us over a lot of triviality and doctrine, but prayer brings us all together and gives us a broader sense of the Body of Christ," Johnson said.

Pertinent address:

33 S. Ellis St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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