“I have heard about your faith” Ephesians 1:15-19
Chatting to a friend last month, I discovered that their way of preparing for the World Day of Prayer is to meet together a few weeks beforehand and plan their event. Not so in Watford! It took almost a year of planning – attendance at the National Link Day at St Martin’s in the Fields in July, holding the Regional Preparation Day in November and taking an afternoon to study the Bible passage from Ephesians in February – all this in order to be ready for the main event on Friday 3rd March 2023.
The Watford committee members have variously surmounted the challenges of bereavement, illness, caring duties and a house move so we were pleased to welcome two new members to replace the five who could no longer help. The 11 of us came from six different Watford churches, both Anglican and Free Church. It is the responsibility of the host church (this year St Luke’s) to take the lead through the year.
On the afternoon of the service, it was encouraging for the host team to be joined by helpers from previous years. Our Mayor, Peter Taylor, joined us, as did our MP, Dean Russell, whose morning had been spent in the House of Lords hearing amendments to his Private Members’ Bill.
This year’s service was written by an ecumenical group of ladies from Taiwan.
They had overcome church divisions within Taiwan and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to send us a message of encouragement. Only 6.6% of Taiwan’s 23 million population is Christian. Many in Taiwan follow a mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism and traditional religion.
The postcard pictured was painted by Hui-Wen Hsaio and shows women praying silently and looking up into the dark. Despite the uncertainty of the path ahead, they know that the salvation of Christ has come. Two endangered species, the Mikado pheasant and the Black-faced spoonbill are featured. They have unique significance to the Taiwanese. The green grass represents the Taiwanese as simple, confident and strong and under God’s care. The Phalaenopsis (butterfly orchids) are the pride of Taiwan, the Kingdom of Orchids.
We can continue to pray for their country: it remains unrecognised by the United Nations and the political tensions with mainland China are increasing.
Afterwards there was plenty of time to chat and reconnect with others over refreshments.
Thank you to all the St Luke’s folk who helped us at the service and throughout the year.
Next year’s service, on Friday 1st March 2024, has been written by the Christian ladies of Palestine – another interesting and concerning part of the world. Please keep them in your prayers.
For more information go to www.wwdp.org.uk.