GNRC-Venezuela celebrated the Day of Prayer and Action for Children on November 20 in Pavia/Barquisimeto, a low-income residential sector where the communities are highly organized. The interfaith Day event took place at the Ana Soto School run by “Fe y Alegría” a Catholic institution that implements quality education programs for children in poor sectors through a wide network of schools. Along with this event, there were Day celebrations at other Fe y Alegría schools and at centers run by ACRINAVE, an institution that is dedicated to social-educational work. Fe y Alegría runs 160 schools in Venezuela, guaranteeing formal education to some 112,000 children and youth; however, it also has non-formal educational programs. ACRINAVE serves a population of 7,000 including children, youth and seniors, and among its services it includes non-formal education. The recipients of both institutions come from different religious backgrounds.
The celebration of the Day was a moment to present the GNRC Ethical Education program, and especially to move forward with the ecumenical dialogue in Barquisimeto. Participating in the event were Catholic, Presbiterian, Pentecostal, and Evangelical Churches, including “Arc of Salvation” and “Church of the Wife of the Lamb.”
The 150 children and 30 adults used activities from the Learning to Live Together Manual, reflecting on the importance of recognizing and valuing cultural and religious diversity. They reaffirmed that they share different religious expressions, and the importance of joining efforts to work for the well being and the rights of children.
The diversity at the event was celebrated by the presentations by the different communities and churches in attendance.
Then came the moment of praying for children using the Latin American Prayer that was handed out in the form of a post-card that had been prepared for the event, along with a prayer by Rev. Takeyasu Miyamoto. This way, each participant became a potential disseminator of the sense and mission of the Day. At the moment of prayer, there was also a reflection on the sense of praying together.
Using balloons that each participant inflated and wrote their name on, a
festive moment was generated among the participants. The balloons were exchanged as a sign of taking the others in one’s heart. The event closed with refreshments.
There was regional media coverage for the event, and in the end, different members of participating churches were interviewed and their testimony recorded.