IWD – International Women’s Day (March 8 each year)

A 2018 message from Colleen Geyer, General Secretary, Uniting Church Assembly

Quote by Desmond Tutu
: When those who are role models treat women as equals, then the narrative changes – ‘if you want peace, let women take the lead’

An adaption of the Franciscan prayer, by Deborah Hirt
Lord, make me an instrument of peace:
Bless all women who daily strive to bring peace to their communities, their homes and their hearts. Give them strength to continue to turn swords into plowshares.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love:
We pray for all women who face prejudice, inequality and gender disparities. Help us seeand to face the discrimination against women inall the many forms it may take.
Where there is injury, pardon:
Comfort all women who suffer from the pain of war, violence, and abuse. Help them to become instruments of their own reconciliation and peace.
Where there is division, unity:
Forgive all women and men who let differences breed hate and discrimination. Let your example of valuing all of creation help us to see that we are equal partners in the stewardship of your world.
Where there is darkness, light; where there is untruth, truth:
Comfort all women who struggle in the darkness of abuse, poverty, and loneliness. May we stand with them in light to acknowledge their suffering and strive to remove the burdens of shame or embarrassment.
Where there is doubt, true faith:
We pray for all women who live in fear of their husbands, fathers, and forces that control their lives. Help them to be empowered to be their true selves through your everlasting love and faith.
Where there is despair, hope:
We pray for all women who live in the despair of poverty, violence, trafficking, slavery,and abuse. May the light of your love bring them hope.
Where there is sadness, new joy:
Help us to see the strength and goodness in all women and men.
Transform our hearts to celebrate the love and grace of all people.
And may we be blessed with the courage of St. Clare of Assisi to follow our own path of love for you and all sisters and brothers.
(posted on Godspace by Christine Sine, originally sourced from Intern at Franciscans International)

Men: Mother God, we confess that we too often create labels for women instead of trying to understand them. Forgive us for not listening.

Women: Sustaining Life Force, we confess that we too often believe the labels we are given. Forgive us for believing what we are told.

Men: We confess that we have created a world that denies women’s way of being. Forgive us for ignoring.

Women: We confess we have failed to speak up for ourselves and our sisters, to transform the world into a place that allows us to be fully be ourselves. Forgive us for our silence.

Men: We confess that we have assumed that we are the norm and ignored those who differ from us. Forgive us for our blinders.

Women: We confess that we often assume that our struggle is not a communal struggle. Forgive us for not sharing our experience with others.

Both: In all the ways we have failed to live into the people you created us to be, forgive us, O God.

Assurance of Pardon
We know that God reconciles all things to Godself through the incarnation. Therefore as incarnate beings, be reconciled to God and be forgiven.

A presentation on IWD 2018 for the Uniting Church in Australia by Rev Christy Capper.

(this liturgy is from the Philippines National Council of Churches NCCP)

“Women of Faith Embracing the Challenge of Being Church of and for the Poor”

(Note: World Day of Prayer is the first Friday in March; International Women’s Day is March 8th each year)

The music “Bread and Roses” is played while the worship elements (Bible, Candles, Flowers and Cross) are being placed on the altar.

Call to Worship
Voice 1: We celebrate women’s voices, proclaiming wisdom.
Voice 2: We honour women’s lives, forging new paths.
Voice 1: We remember women’s faith, strong amid challenges.
Voice 2: We anticipate women’s vision, calling us into the future.
All: Past, present, and future, our lives join with women everywhere.

Opening Hymn “All Across the Nation”
(Melodie und Text: aus Afrika-African Women’s Day Song)
All across the nation, all around the world
Women are longing to be free
No longer in the shadows, forced to stay behind
But side by side in true equality

So sing a song for women everywhere
Let it ring around and never, never cease
So sing a song for women everywhere
Equality, development and peace.

Women can’t be silent, when all around the world
People hurt and hungry, children cry
We will sing for justice and development
And hold the rights of all the people high


Women are now working to build a better world
Where the love of peace can rest on every shore
Where men lay down their weapons and learn to love and share
And people work to bring an end to war


Opening Prayer
Embracing Mother God, we are grateful for all the blessing you have bestowed upon us- the breath of life, the sisterhood, the friendship, the fellowship and our womanhood. We give thanks for showering us delight and joy so that we may continue to protect life amidst sacrifices and direst of circumstances. We endure and share each other’s load amidst life struggles for decent living; to end all kinds of violence inflicted unto us, to our children and in the environment; to continue to inspire others to collectively break our silence. Without ceasing, we will gyrate our hips and bodies, and use our hands and voices to express our very strong resistance to the injustices and violence of this world.

Scripture Readings
Old Testament Isaiah 58:6-9
New Testament Luke 1:46-55

The Now Testament: The Women’s Situation in the Philippines

Hymn: “Longing for Light”

Longing for light we wait in darkness
Longing for truth we turn to you
Make us your own your holy people,
Light for the world to see.

Christ be our light, shine in our hearts
Shine through the darkness
Christ be our light,
Shine in your church gathered today

Affirmation of Faith
There are women yearning for good news.
We will speak out.
There are women whose hearts are broken.
We will reach out.
There are women who have lost their freedom.
We will seek justice.
There are women who mourn.
We will stand with them.

Women from different sectors in the community give testimonies about their experiences of struggle and hope.


Song: “Faith in the Service of the People, Faith in the Service of the Poor”
(Music: Perla S. Dingayan, 1999 Words: Luna Dingayan )

Faith in the service of the people,
Faith in the service of the poor.
This is our response to the call of God,
Faith in the service of the poor.

1. Peasants of the field have the vision, of land that is rich and free
They till the land from dawn to setting sun, yet they remain to be poor.

2. Workers of the cities have the vision of decent jobs and decent pay,
They have to work like machinery yet they remain to be poor.

3. Women of the land have the vision of people with dignity,
They work and struggle, caring for their young, hope for a nation that is free.

4. Students and the young have the vision of future that’s bright and free,
They work and study, learn the lessons past, hope for a nation that is free.

5. People of the church have the vision of kingdom of God on earth,
A kingdom of justice and righteousness, a kingdom of joy and love.

6. Let us come and celebrate together our joys in the service of God,
And giving thanks for all the work well done, pray for years to come.

Blessing and Sending Off
May God give us passion and hope in our continuing journey towards women’s
emancipation. May we strengthen our unity and embrace the challenge to love, serve and be in solidarity with the poor. Go now in faith, in hope and in love.

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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