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2019/12/17
World Day of Prayer (WDP) Taiwan Preparations under way!

Reported by Rachel Chen
Edited by Carys Humphreys

Taiwan was selected as the writer country for WDP 2023 during the International Meeting for WDP which convened on August 20-27, 2017, in Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná, Brazil. After two preparatory workshops which will be led by Rev. Rosângela Oliveira, Executive Director of WDPIC, the worship materials will then be prepared ecumenically, collectively and with grassroots women during the period 2019 until September 2021.

The first of the proposed workshops Strengthening National Committee Workshop took place from December 4 to 6, 2019 when more than 30 participants gathered at Our Lady of Providence Girls’ High School, New Taipei City, Taiwan.

The WDP-Taiwan Workshop included World Day of Prayer International Committee, Catholic Church (Taiwan Catholic), Yu-Shan Theological College & Seminary, Women's Prayer Group, the Mustard Seed Mission, the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church (Taiwan), Chang Jung Christian University (CJCU) School of Theology, YMCA of Taiwan, YWCA of Taiwan, Taiwan Lutheran Church, Taiwan Theological College & Seminary, the Garden of Hope Foundation and the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (Presbyteries/Districts).

Through participating in various creative activities and dialogue, the three-day Workshop aimed to strengthen fellowship, to build relationships, and to “brainstorm” concerning the worship materials for WDP 2023.

During WDP-SNC Opening Worship, Rev. Rosângela Oliveira, World Day of Prayer International Committee Executive Director, briefed the participants concerning the historical roots of the World Day of Prayer and how the seed was planted. In the nineteenth century, Christian women in North America were moved to action when they saw the suffering of women around the world and in their own communities. They were active letter writers, and so they wrote letters and called for united prayer and action in solidarity with women across the globe.

About 100 years later in Taiwan, more than 30 participants from various denominations were challenged to write letters for the preparation of WDP 2023 under the theme"I have heard about your faith." (Ephesians 1:15) Following a Bible Study summarizing the background of the book of Ephesians led by Rev. Dr. Wu Fu-Ya, former President of Tainan Theological College and Seminary, (Rev. Wu incidentally was the first female ever appointed as a principal of a theological institution in Taiwan!), the participants were asked by Rev. Rosângela Oliveira to think deeply about their reaction to the theme. "What is it that you have heard about her/his/their witness of faith and love?" After the open discussion, the participants divided into groups and wrote down their letters according to the structure of Ephesians 1:1, 15-16, and 17-18. Their letters touched various levels and showed their concerns about a personal health condition, Pearl Family Garden[1], the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT)’s mission, and the 2019 Hong Kong protests so on.

Prayer letter from Taiwanese mothers to 2019 Hong Kong youth protesters.

Through writing letter activity, the participants expanded their vision and identified specific categories: Women and Family, Women and Politics, Women and Health, Women and Ecological Environment, Women and Culture, and Women and Leadership. Based on the different categories, the participants began to think deeper about "What are the prayers and actions that women in Taiwan want to voice in 2023?"

During the discussion of Women and Ecological Environment, Vavauni Ljaljegean, a Paiwanese Evangelist from Mu-Lin church in Pingtung, Taiwan, told the participants a heartbreaking fact. After Typhoon Morakot, a three-day rampage from August 6 to 9 in 2009, the elder Indigenous people who lost their homes and relocated in the plains took their own life due to having difficulty adjusting to an unfamiliar environment.

When it came to Women and Leadership, it was agreed promoting equal representation of women in decision-making is important; however, the participation of women in leadership roles in Taiwan is still lacking and has a long way to go. Nancy Lin, former WCC Central Committee member (PCT), encouraged the participants to step up, lead and speak up.

In the evening of the Workshop, WDP-Taiwan Workshop organized varied presentations and activities including drama, singing, making plans, group games…etc. All of which were aimed to stimulate participants’ ideas and thoughts on framing the worship materials of WDP 2023.

For the Closing Worship of the WDP-SNC, on the third and final day, the workshop participants used the materials of the ZIMBABWE 2020 WDP program under the theme “Rise! Take Your Mat and Walk.” (John 5:2-9a)

May all the acts and efforts glorify God and let the voices of Taiwan be heard – we now look forward with enthusiasm to the second workshop!

Related Websites:World Day of Prayer/PCT Ecumenical News/TCNN

[1] Pearl Family Garden’s mission is to bring the gospel to women in prostitution and to mobilize the church for missions in the red-light districts of Taiwan.


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