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World Day of Prayer 1 March 2019

This year the Women's World Day of Prayer has been renamed: World Day of Prayer. The service was lead by memebrs of Petersfield Salvation Army with the assistance of ladies from several PACT churches. It took place in Petersfield Methodist church.

Gathered around the table:
Wendy (St Laurence) - Jenny (St Mary Magdalen) - Sue (St Mary Buriton) Suzi (All Saints' Steep) - Liz (Life Church Petersfield)
Seated around the table
 
Leader and Readers
Jean
(Petersfield Methodist Church) - Val (Petersfield United Reformed Church) - Christine (The Salvation Army)
Sylvia (St Peter's) - Amanda (All Saints' Steep)
     

Slovenian artists, Rezka Arnus, was asked to paint something specifically for the 2019 World day of Prayer service from Sovenia, based in the parable if the Great Banquet: Luke chapter 14 verse 15 to 24 - the picture is at the right.

Rezka's Description of the Painting

I wanted to present two topics: the country of Slovenia and the main biblical story of the worship service. On the top of the picture one can see the movement of women in the Slovenian national traditional costumes; covered with a lace cap, mob cap, and scarf.

The semicircular ornament with Slovenian folk embroidery represents a plate or a table with our best known national dish cake – potica. Grapes are from vineyards from different Slovenian wine producing regions. As a souvenir and an expression of love, the table is decorated with a licitar heart made with the honey of native Carniola bees, and a Slovenian flower carnation.

Partly under the table, one can see the children from the margins of the society. They heard the invitation to the feast. A homeless woman carries a child in her arms, a blind woman with arms in front already preparing for a step, a deaf person responds by changing the position of his head, a spastic girl’s involuntary movements shows her joyous acceptance of the invitation to the banquet.

I used the colours of Slovenian folk embroidery, red and white. The green background colour emphasises the green Slovenia, fields and forests. The warm colours of children express the joy of heartfelt invitation.

 

About the Artist

Rezka Arnuš was born in 1953 in Božakovo near Metlika, Slovenia, in a farmer’s family with seven children. She worked hard to finish her secondary school and the college for physiotherapists. Due to health problems with her sight, Rezka Arnuš retired at 46 and started to paint. She creates and resides with her family in Dolenjske Toplice. She is married, has 2 sons and three grandchildren. She likes gardening, cycling in tandem with her husband, cooking, listening to books, she sings in a choir and runs a women’s home-based gym. She got to know WDP in 2017 upon an invitation to participate in the art workshop for WDP 2019.

As a visually impaired amateur artist she has been creating works of art for the past 18 years. Her eyes are limited just to 5% of a normal sight when there is enough light. She has learnt to paint under the guidance of several mentors, the most influential being the academic painter Jože Kumer. She has been a member of Mavrica Novo mesto Fine Artists Society, Artoteka Bela Krajina ?rnomelj Society of Arts and Culture, and the fine arts section of Dolenjske Toplice Society of Arts and Culture.

Her favourite motifs are landscapes, still life, the images of White Carniola, whereas lately she has been creating figurines, nudes, and abstract paintings. Her special stile combines national traditional figures and symbols with inner feelings and sensations. She is a regular participant in artists’ colonies and painting ex-tempores. Rezka’s works, which have earned her many awards and prizes, have been displayed within 17 solo and over 200 group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad.

For 2019 the country chosen is Slovenia - Come, Everything is Ready

Introduction to Slovenia

Modern Slovenia became independent on 27 June 1991. It lies at the heart of Europe, bordered by Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary. It is a land of immense natural beauty, great variety of scenery and varied climate. One of the smallest countries in Europe (it is 20.73km2, roughly the same size as Wales), it has a population of just under two million people (about twice the population of Birmingham). Almost half of the people live in cities, and over a quarter live in the capital, Ljubljana.

The majority (82%) are Slovenes, but there are also Croats, Serbs, Bosnians, Macedonians and Montenegrins, and a small number of Roma, who have their own language and customs. The official language is Slovene, but Hungarian and Italian are co-official languages for those minority communities.

The Flag

The Slovenian national flag, adopted in 1991, has three equal red, white and blue horizontal stripes. In the top left corner is the national coat of arms: the triple-peaked Mount Triglav, two blue wavy lines (representing the Adriatic Sea and many rivers) and the golden stars from the coat-of-arms of the Counts of Celje, a Slovenian dynastic house from the 14th century.

A long history

Slovenia may be a new country, but the region has a long history, with the earliest Bronze Age settlements dating back to 2,500 BC. In the first and second centuries AD the area belonged to the Roman province of Pannonia. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was invaded and settled by a series of Germanic tribes in the 5th century AD; the ancestors of the Slovenes arrived around the 6th century AD. Two hundred years later, the Holy Roman emperor Charlemagne annexed part of the region and much of the area became Christian.

Then for 600 years, from the 13th century to 1918, the Slovene territories were part of the huge Austro-Hungarian Empire. They were attacked by the Turks, invaded by the French and ruled by the Austrians. In 1848, the regions settled by Slovenes became a single country, but at the end of the First World War, with the collapse of the Hapsburg empire, a united kingdom of Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia was created, and in 1929, was named Yugoslavia.

Between the world wars many Slovenes found themselves in territory controlled by Hungary, Germany and Italy, and during World War II there was much inter-ethnic fighting. After the liberation in 1945, Soviet suppression led to the massacre of many civil and military personnel and around 600 mass burial sites have been identified.

After World War II Slovenia was one of six federal states making up the new Yugoslavia (which now included Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro), a socialist non-aligned state under Josip Borz Tito. Following Tito’s death in 1980 there was increasing economic and ethnic tensions and, in 1991, Slovenia declared its independence from Yugoslavia.

Religion

The Roman soldiers introduced the cult of Mithras to the region, but Christianity was introduced in the first century AD, and there was an increased Christian presence in the 3rd and 4th centuries. With the invasion of the Germanic tribes, the area became largely pagan again. However, in the 8th century, under Charlemagne there was a new wave of Christian conversion. In the mid-16th century the Reformation was responsible for a burgeoning of Slovene-language literature and by 1584 there was a Slovenian translation of the Bible. In the 17th Century the monarch and the Catholic Church opposed Protestantism. In recent years, the Lutheran cultural contribution has been recognised by making Reformation Day (October 31st) a national holiday.

During the communist years, religious conviction was persecuted with imprisonment and restricted access to jobs. In 1991, when Slovenia became independent, the religious institutions regained their social role. However, certain cultural prejudices remain. According to the 2002 Population Census of those who identified themselves as having a religious affiliation were Roman Catholic (almost 60%), Orthodox and Islam (approximately 2.5%), and Lutheran (about 1%). Members of Islam and the Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox Churches come mainly from the former Yugoslavia, whereas Lutherans are found mainly in the communities to the north-east.

Women

Women make up just over half of the population of Slovenia, due to their slightly longer life-span. Those born after 2000 have an average life expectancy of 82 years.

Women have the same access to education as men, as is seen in the very similar numbers of students, graduates and doctoral students in universities. 65% of women work, and of those 92% work full time. The majority of women work in health and social services, the public sector and teaching. On average women earn 7% less than men, one exception being in the construction and transport industries where, despite being only 10% of the working population, many have higher paid jobs than men.

In families where both parents work, housework and childcare is shared with the grandparents. Work-life balance is an issue for working mothers with the burden of domestic tasks such as buying food, cooking, cleaning, laundry and helping children with their homework falling to women.

Slovenia held their first World Day of Prayer in 2000, organised by Ljudmila Schmidt Šemerl from Switzerland. Corinna Harbig took over the following year encouraging women from across Slovenia to work ecumenically, preparing and centrally translating the worship service and resources. Today around 500 people from Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal and evangelical churches attend the World Day of Prayer in six locations around Slovenia.

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