The 2021 Celebration theme "Build on a Strong Foundation" has been with me spiritually since the writing process began in 2018, and especially since COVID-19 entered our lives. In the face of illness, isolation, suffering, and grief, this theme forced me to reflect on what is most important to me.
The parable of the wise builder of the house on the rock helped me cling to Jesus' teaching, to keep hope alive during the storm, and to discover the part of me that, at times, made choices more like the foolish builder. For Jesus’ invitation at the end of the narrative is indeed to listen to his words of life and to act on them.
In addition to the text of Matthew 7, which was the inspiration for the theme, the song composed during the writing workshop particularly touched me. The refrain invites the world: "Let us build up Vanuatu with love and unity. We are family, we are one. We are Ni-Vanuatu."
What a joy to see that the intention set by the first stanza has become a reality for our sisters who did not yet know each other when they arrived to the workshop in April 2018 - "It is time to get together as a nation and family. Let's forget our differences and let us work in unity. From the North down to the South, all the islands we are one. In God we stand, brothers and sisters, we are one."
The joy I felt was even greater while watching the live celebration on March 5th, 2021. I recognized all the sisters present at the same church! For me, it was like an affirmation that they had heard the invitation to work together, and that they put into practice the words of Jesus: "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). In front of my computer screen, I experienced a moment of grace that I wish for each one of you.
In the following pages of this Journal, you will discover many testimonies. Testimonies from countries or groups who may not have celebrated in person but found solutions to worship in a different way and continue building relationships. The creativity was incredible, and all the modern means of communication were used to hold a moment of prayer. You will also read that other groups were able to celebrate the World Day of Prayer in person, and that there too, the creativity was great, even extraordinary, to respect the sanitary requirements and experience a time of communion.
As the preparations for next year’s celebration, written by the women of WDP England, Wales and Northern Ireland, begins we discover a word of life given by God that we can make our own: "I Know the Plans I Have for You".
I cannot end these few lines without expressing my gratitude for the work of each woman involved. By offering the best of ourselves, wherever we are, we become witnesses of the risen Christ. This is a blessing!
- Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Chairperson