Friday 2nd March 2018 at 10.30 a.m. at  St Martinís Church

 Women's World Day of Prayer -WWDP

See more of WWDP UK HERE

also WWDP History HERE

2018 Suriname, Jesus said to them: All Godís Creation Is Very Good

Below a very short extract of the printed order of service

As women in Suriname, we believe that the Christian faith community can make a great contribution to the preservation of a living, healthy and safe environment. The future of the earth for the next generations matters to us. We see this as one of the key elements of the Christian faith. It reminds us of the relationship between God and creation, and God and humanity.

Suriname, like many countries, feels the effect of worldwide climate change: drought, hurricane, and storm, due to global warming. Along the Suriname coastal strip, it now floods in the rainy season, including Paramaribo the capital city. Other environmental changes have been caused by human activity, like the damage to the local rivers through gold mining and mercury pollution. In the 21st century/24-hour economy, which is striving for good economic outcomes and excellent returns, Christians need to balance Godís Creation with manís creations. We need to be guided by the theme ďAll Godís Creation is very good!Ē

The painting above shows hands symbolically receiving the divine gift ready to pass on to future generations. The sun shines and vegetables and fruit tell us that there is enough food for everyone. The hummingbird, white ibis and macaw represent the many bird species the country boasts.



The blue frog is one of the protected species only found in Suriname.


Native to the country is the red and yellow heliconia (left), as is the majestic kapok tree - a beautiful giant of the forest. In the distance the Voltzberg can be seen - one of Suriname's many granite mountains. The seven women symbolize all women in Suriname who cherish this gift to pass on to their children. Seven also symbolizes the seven days of God's creation.

The Artist

The graphic on the front cover (above) was designed by 70-year-old Alice Pomstra-Elmont. Alice was born on a ship as her mother was travelling from Paramaribo to Moengo, which in those days could only be done by boat. Most of her youth was spent in Paramaribo. She worked in general education in Suriname and later in special education in the Netherlands, before returning to live in Suriname.

Alice writes: "I enjoy this wonderful country with its rich nature. It is delightful to see the sun rise in the morning and the birds flying. What a precious gift. Let us keep it as beautiful as we received it."


Suriname National Flag

Welcome to the 2018 World Day of Prayer worship service

which has been written by the women of Suriname.

Suriname is a beautiful country. It boasts wonderful forests and mountains and has great rivers with impressive rapids. It is a country rich with flowers and animals, and provides enough food for all. In this service the women of Suriname urge us to cherish God's exquisite gift of Creation and to commit ourselves to caring for God's world responsibly, so that we may pass it on, unspoiled, to future generations.

As we pray with and for the people of Suriname today, we shall be part of a great wave of prayer encircling the globe - starting as the sun rises over Samoa, continuing as it makes its way around the earth, and ending some 36 hours later as the sun sets over American Samoa. The service we are participating in will have been translated into over 60 languages and 1,000 dialects and will be celebrated in 170 countries and islands. Here, in the British Isles, some 6,000 services will be taking place.

Short pause for reflection

Margaret Marsh was the speaker

Report WWDP Churches Together March 2 St Martins.

Despite the snow and sub-zero temperatures, over sixty made a concerted effort to embrace the richness of Godís Creation on Friday 2nd at St Martins Church

Representatives from all churches supported by Madam Mayor, Councillor Liz Frost and her consort.

The stage was set on the Dais. A large table, dressed in the Suriname Flag accompanied by a green cloth to symbolise the rain forest, a red candle and a bouquet of flowers and a smaller table covered by a red and white cloths with an empty glass water jug and on the front a large piece of art work done by children.

A PowerPoint presentation showed the problems around Suriname, of mismanagement of the land, such as deforestation, resulted from bauxite and gold mining.

After the welcome, seven women processed to the front, representing the diverse culture within Suriname.

Janet Brooker read Genesis to remind us of the creation story.

 One by one rubbish throwers unravelled a candle, bottled water, wooden bird, China animal, grapes and bananas, a table lamp and a framed family photograph.

 All gifts we treasure using the worldís resources.

The wrapping was carelessly thrown onto the floor.

Rev Margaret Marsh addressed the theme; All Godís Creation is Very Good. God is not just in the beauty of creation but also amongst us in the reality, in the way we treat our planet. The rubbish was then collected into recycling bins provided.

After a time of Prayer, a wakeup call to commit to what we all can start to do to look after and be true custodians of all God has given us.

During the service voices from Suriname women, heard over the sound system accompanied some of the singing even in Sranan tongue.

Ruth Broder diligently provided piano accompaniment for the other hymns sung.

After the service was over many of us tasted lovely food such as Pineapple Upside- Down cake, loved by the people of Suriname as well as other cakes and delicacies provided by Maureen and Jane.


The church became an oasis of colour and life.

A special thank you goes to every single person who made this possible.

Ruth Foxcroft

Margaret was ordained in 1999, and served two curacies, the first at St Markís Tattenham Corner, and then 18 months at St Martinís Epsom with St Stephenís-on-the-Downs.

In 2004, she became Priest in Charge at St Peterís, Walton on the Hill, and was made an Honorary Canon of Guildford Cathedral in 2010. 

She holds a Masterís Degree in Christian Spirituality.

Following retirement from the parish in 2015, she spent two years as Hon Tutor for the Continuing Ministerial Development of the Pastoral Assistants in the Diocese, and am now Associate Priest at St Johnís Stoneleigh.

Married to Charlie for 48 years, they have two grandsons, aged 5 and 3.

from the Ladies of Suriname

I am Carolina and I live in the district of Para, on a former wood plantation which my ancestors bought from a French owner. In Para, we are grateful for the large fresh water resources and natural creeks; but we are concerned about the recent mining of bauxite and gold.

I am considered Creole; my father was European and my mother African. I am a single mother of five children whom I provide for by planting and processing cassava which I make into cassava bread, either plain, or flavored with pineapple and coconut.

The seven ladies represent descendants from the following groups

Indigenous, Maroons (Africa), Chinese, Creole, Willemien (Netherlands), Shanti (Indian), Katrina (Indonesian

A green turtle is printed on the back of the order of service reproduced above

The congregation were asked to write a personal commitment

One such is reproduced as shown

Setting the scene.

The history of Suriname dates from 3000 BCE when Native Americans first inhabited the area. Present-day Suriname is the home to many distinct indigenous cultures. The largest tribes were the Arawaks, a nomadic coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing, and the Caribs. The Arawaks were the first inhabitants of Suriname; later, the Caribs arrived, and conquered the Arawaks using their sailing ships. They settled in Galibi (Kupali YumÔ, meaning "tree of the forefathers") on the mouth of the Marowijne river. While the larger Arawak and Carib tribes lived off the coast and savanna, smaller groups of indigenous peoples lived in the rainforest inland, such as the Akurio, Triů, Warrau, and Wayana.

Coastline of the Guianas

The first Europeans who came to Suriname were Spanish explorers and Dutch traders who visited the area along with other parts of South America's 'Wild Coast.' The first attempts to settle the area by Europeans was in 1630, when English settlers led by Captain Marshall attempted to found a colony. They cultivated crops of tobacco, but the venture failed financially.

In 1650 Lord Willoughby, the governor of Barbados, furnished out a vessel to settle a colony in Suriname. At his own cost he equipped a ship of 20 guns, and two smaller vessels with things necessary for the support of the plantation. Major Anthony Rowse settled there in his name. Two years later, for the better settling of the colony, he went in person, fortified and furnished it with things requisite for defence and trade. 'Willoughbyland' consisted of around 30,000 acres (120 km2) and a fort. In 1663 most of the work on the ca. 50 plantations was done by native Indians and 3,000 African slaves. There were around 1,000 whites there, joined by Brazilian Jews, attracted by religious freedom which was granted to all the settlers by the English.

Dutch colonization

The settlement was invaded by seven Dutch ships (from the Zeeland region), led by Abraham Crijnssen, on the 26th of February 1667. Fort Willoughby was captured the next day after a three-hour fight and renamed Fort Zeelandia. On the 31st of July 1667, the English and Dutch signed the Treaty of Breda, in which for the time being the status quo was respected: the Dutch could keep occupying Suriname and the British the formerly Dutch colony New Amsterdam (modern-day New York). Willoughbyland was renamed Suriname. This arrangement was made official in the Treaty of Westminster of 1674, after the British had regained and again lost Suriname in 1667 and the Dutch regained the colony in 1668. In 1683 the Society of Suriname was set up, modelled on the ideas of Jean-Baptiste Colbert to profit from the management and defence of the Dutch Republic's colony. It had three participants, with equal shares in the society's responsibilities and profitsóthe city of Amsterdam, the family Van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck, and the Dutch West India Company. The Van Aerssen family only managed to sell its share in 1770. The Society came to an end in 1795 when this kind of trade and business was no longer seen as acceptable.

Slavery and emancipation

In South America, slavery was the norm. The native people proved to be in limited supply and consequently the Atlantic slave trade supplied the workforce for the plantations. The plantations were producing sugar, coffee, cocoa, cotton which were exported for the Amsterdam market. In 1713 for instance most of the work on the 200 plantations was done by 13,000 African slaves. Their treatment was horrific, and slaves periodically escaped to the jungle from the start. These Maroons (also known as "Djukas" or "Bakabusi Nengre") attacked the plantations in order to acquire goods that were in short supply and to acquire women. Notable leaders of the Surinam Maroons were Alabi, Boni, Joli-coeur and Broos (Captain Broos). In the 18th century, three of the Maroon people signed a peace treaty, similar to the peace treaty ending the First Maroon War in Jamaica, whereby they were recognised as free people and received a yearly tribute that provided them with the goods they used to "liberate" from the plantations. A contemporary description of the war between the Maroons and the plantation owners in Suriname can be found in Narrative of a Five Years Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam by John Gabriel Stedman.

Suriname was occupied by the British in 1799, after the Netherlands were incorporated by France, and was returned to the Dutch in 1816, after the defeat of Napoleon. The Dutch abolished slavery only in 1863, although the British had already abolished it during their short rule. The slaves were, however, not released until 1873; up to that date they conducted obligatory but paid work at the plantations. In the meantime, many more workers had been imported from the Dutch East Indies, mostly Chinese inhabitants of that colony, creating a Chinese Surinamese population. From 1873 to 1916, many labourers were imported from India, creating the Indo-Surinamese. After 1916, many labourers were again imported from the Dutch East Indies, especially Java, creating the Javanese Surinamese.

In the 20th century, the natural resources of Suriname, rubber, gold and bauxite, were exploited. The US company Alcoa had a claim on a large area in Suriname where bauxite, from which aluminium can be made, was found. Given that the peace treaties with the Maroon people granted them title to the lands, there have been international court cases that negated the right of the Surinam government to grant these claims (meaning the right to take the land for themselves).  On November 23, 1941, under an agreement with the Netherlands government-in-exile, the United States occupied Dutch Guiana to protect the bauxite mines.

In 1954, Suriname gained self-government, with the Netherlands retaining control of defence and foreign affairs.

Suriname where there are plentiful jungles and water falls

Suriname mountains and rock structures abound


Friday 2nd March 2018 at 10.30 a.m. at  St Martinís Church

These Services are open to all, it is not restricted to the Ladies


Women's World Day of Prayer future themes.

2019, Jesus said to them: Come Ė Everything Is Ready, Slovenia


2020, Jesus said to them: Rise! Take Your Mat and Walk, Zimbabwe


2021, Jesus said to them: Build on a Strong Foundation, Vanuatu

If you have attended any of the previous Women's World Day of Prayer then browse some of them HERE