As I was researching the theme for this year’s World Day of Prayer, I remembered times when I had, in a small way, experienced church traditions in different countries or from different denominations. I recall attending Roman Catholic services when working at a children’s holiday camp one summer. It was interesting to hear The Lord’s Prayer in French and by the end of my time there I could recite it from memory. A few years later I crowded into a small church with fellow skiers one Christmas Eve. There was only room to stand but there was a very special atmosphere at the service that night.
I have visited a few churches in France and Italy, some of them very grand, highly ornate cathedrals and some in small villages that had little decoration. I like to sit and think for a while and to pray about the things that come to mind.
In New Zealand there is a famous little stone church on the shores of Lake Tekapo in the South Island. It was built in 1935 as a memorial to the early settlers. It has an Anglican tradition but is used by various denominations. I loved the fact that there is no stained glass in the windows behind the altar but a spectacular view across the lake to the snow covered mountains towering up into the blue sky.
It can be easy to forget as we meet for worship in our small village in the centre of England that others are also meeting together across the world, in different climates and situations and at different times throughout our day.
The World Day of Prayer service on Friday 3rd March at 10.30 a.m. in St John’s Hall Ansley Common will give the opportunity to learn something about life for Christians in Taiwan. If you cannot join us at St John’s there will be many other churches marking this day or you could search World Day of Prayer 2023 on the internet to find out more. D.K.