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church:vicars_letters:april2009mag

Day of Prayer (by the Vicar)

On 6th March Christians throughout the world joined together to pray, and many of us locally met at Cudworth Church for the annual Women’s World Day of Prayer.

This year the service was written by women from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and featured prayer, music, and facts from their nation and home. PNG lies in the Pacific Ocean close to the northern most point of Queensland, Australia, comprises many islands and has a land border with Indonesia: population 6.25 million.

I suspect that many of us will think of this pacific nation as something of a tropical island paradise, in the style of the Maldives; huge tourist trade based on endless sunshine, sandy beaches, swaying palm tress, and charming indigenous people.

It is a land of stunning beauty and variety with a rich flora, fauna and wildlife.

However the practical realities are quite different. Massive unemployment and poverty weigh down the population, with horrific violence between tribes and families which are often feuds dating back many generations. Fifty-one percent of children die before reaching five years of age! PNG has the highest incidence of HIV and AIDS in the Pacific region and fits the criteria for a generalised HIV/AIDS epidemic.

At Cudworth we joined with Christians across the globe to celebrate the faith we share with the women of PNG and to pray for them and their families, that peace, forgiveness and plenty may come to their tortured paradise. It was a time of real contrast:

First of all ….. we had just enjoyed tea, coffee and a huge selection of cakes and biscuits – PNG has such poverty many of the population will never see any food like that; we wore good quality clothes and shoes; we walked the streets and lanes around our homes in complete safety without fear of sudden and terrible violence from our neighbours; the vast majority of our children grow healthy and strong, and can expect to survive into old age.

Secondly ….. despite the suffering in our country because of the “credit crises” most of us could never even imagine the poverty suffered by the majority of the PNG population and our Welfare State usually manages to keep even our poorest families from starvation.

Finally ….. despite the amazing technology of our world, the power and influence of the great nations of the globe, and the world wide economic crises, the Women’s World Day of Prayer is probably the only organisation in the world that can unite people across the planet to think, pray and act in unison, and in a common cause …… can the G20 nations’ leaders do that – no they can’t!

Fr. Geoff

From the Register

06 March“Baz” Carvellfuneral service at Yeovil Crematorium.
17 MarchDennis Corneliusfuneral and burial at Shepton Beauchamp.
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