The World Day of Prayer has been celebrated in Ashcroft for more than 50 years, and this year’s event is being held online in conjunction with St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kamloops.
The two communities are part of more than 1,100 across Canada which will join together on Friday, March 5 for a virtual World Day of Prayer service. Communities around the world will also be taking part in the international event, which brings together people from all backgrounds, cultures, and religions and unites them in prayer.
Each year’s event is prepared by a different country, and is an opportunity for people around the world to learn about that country, and better understand what is happening there. The 2021 World Day of Prayer has been prepared by the women of Vanuatu, a tropical archipelago of more than 80 islands in the South Pacific. The islands are prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, cyclones, and volcanic eruptions; there are seven active volcanoes scattered throughout the islands.
Land in Vanuatu is not viewed as something to be owned, but as something vital to the existence of humans and animals. To the inhabitants, land is what defines their identity and helps them maintain their spiritual strength.
This year’s World Day of Prayer service is called “Build on a Strong Foundation” and is based on a story in Matthew 7: 24–27, in which Jesus tells a story about the kingdom of heaven using an image of a house and the land on which it is built. The service will also feature video and other materials prepared in Vanuatu, including music, reflections, and information.
The painting chosen to illustrate this year’s program reflects the Vanuatu women’s connection with land, culture, and faith, as well as the islands’ susceptibility to natural disasters. Artist Juliette Pita, born on the Vanuatu island of Erromango, depicts a mother bending and praying over her child. The waves crash over her, but a palm tree bends protectively over them.
The woman’s skirt is modeled after the traditional clothing on Erromango, and on the horizon there are small crosses representing the lives taken by Cyclone Pam in 2015.
The online service starts at 1 p.m. on March 5, and can be accessed via Zoom; go to http://bit.ly/3uloxCX (meeting ID 818 5855 0240; passcode 369695). You can also dial in by calling 1-778-907-2071 in Canada. To access the service after March 5, go to http://www.kamloopssalvationarmy.ca/.
For more information on the event, contact Joy Gothard at (250) 372-5594 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find information on the World Day of Prayer website at https://worlddayofprayer.net/index.html.