Tag Archives: Prayers

Off to Green Island 綠島 Lyudao, Taitung, Taiwan with the Taiwan Episcopal Church 台灣聖公會2018年蒙恩得福家庭生活營!

Ah, Green Island.  What a place it is.  For some in Taiwan it evokes memories of their youth and a taste of freedom as they rode motorcycles around the island enjoying the scenery.  For others, it evokes terrible stories of grim horror and nightmares, of stories told in secret, whispered between family members.  An island of such immense beauty, and yet, also such immense tragedy.

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Ironically, the most immense beauty is so well hidden that you only really get to see it by immersing yourself in the sea and either snorkeling or scuba-diving your way through the coral reefs, or by traveling in a semi-submersible glass-bottomed boat.  The fish and the coral are truly amazing.  We went snorkeling and it was really the highlight of the trip, and indeed of any trip to Green Island.  But my camera doesn’t work underwater, sorry about that, so all I can do is recommend you check out this You Tube video of someone who did go snorkeling in Green Island here, our experience was just like his. Which means we had a really fantastic time watching all sorts of fish of every different colour and size, all swimming so close.  And the really wonderful snorkeling coach turned out to be one of our students here at St. John’s University on a work placement as an intern for his last semester before he graduates next month.  He was great.  And he made the snorkeling so relaxing and enjoyable, even for our group who ranged in age from 13-83!  Here we are getting all dressed up….

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Green Island (綠島: pronounced as ‘Lyudao’ in Chinese) is “a small volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean about 33 km (21 miles) off the eastern coast of Taiwan”, originally inhabited by the Amis people.  The first Chinese arrived about 200 or so years ago and the only traces of Amis habitations these days are some ruined homesteads.  Most of the people live along the northern and north-west coast of the island, and are served by 2 elementary schools and one junior-high school, a small airport, a harbour, a Baptist Church, Jehovah Witnesses Meeting Place, lots of temples, one 7-Eleven, one Family Mart, one big 2-story Duty-Free Shop, restaurants and BBQ places galore, several soft drinks shops, many government buildings and a huge number of hotels and diving / snorkeling centres.  Tourism is the main business of the island. The harbour is lined with motorcycles for rent, ready for the passengers disembarking from the passenger ferries that make the one-hour journey to Taitung maybe 5 times a day in each direction.  Tourism big time!

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Every year, Bishop David J. H. Lai and Mr. Di Yun-Heng from St. Paul’s Church, Kaohsiung organize a 3-4 day trip for members and friends of the Taiwan Episcopal Church to visit some wonderful scenic places.  In November 2017, we went to Wuling Farm in Taiwan’s central mountain range to see the beautiful autumn colours (see that report here).   This year, we went to Green Island from Tuesday to Thursday, May 8-10.  Sadly Bishop Lai was unable to come with us due to an important meeting, but 33 of us joined Mr. Di to go along.  It was great!  This is the first group photo…

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Church members and friends from our churches in Taipei, Chungli, Taichung and Kaohsiung joined the trip.  The northern group met early on Tuesday morning at Taipei Rail Station, where we had tickets for the 6:50 am train to Taitung. I had stayed overnight at the diocesan office hostel so as to be there on time, and Bishop Lai not only took me to the station, but also came in to meet everyone and pray for us all.  And he gave us some tea, which we were to enjoy drinking together on the trip.

The southern group traveled over from Kaohsiung, and the Taichung group joined them, and we all met at Taitung Train Station soon after 11:00 am ~ off we went for lunch and then to the ferry.  Actually I didn’t eat any lunch, in preparation for the ferry – which is renowned for being a rough ride.  Glad I didn’t, as it was rough, and many people were seasick.  Enough said.  It was only an hour.  I survived, many didn’t!

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The weather forecast was for the plum rains to come on Tuesday night.  In fact they had already come to Taipei on Monday night, but Tuesday was a mostly sunny day on Green Island.  We made the most of it.  The rain was coming.  Actually it didn’t really hit us until Wednesday afternoon when it poured down for several hours.  That cooled the temperatures nicely.  Green Island is famous for its high summer temps.  And for its deer meat.  And for its sea food. We had flying fish!

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We were staying on the northern coast in a hotel just near the sea, and we enjoyed all the views.  It really was so convenient.  Early morning walks around, and a half-day tour meant that we saw most of the island.  Even if it was in the rain!

One of the highlights was the Lyudao Lighthouse, which we managed to visit just before the rains started: “On 11 December 1937 the Dollar Steamship Company luxury ocean liner SS President Hoover ran aground in a typhoon on a reef at Zhongliao Bay. All 503 passengers and 330 crew survived and were safely brought ashore. Over the next few days the cargo liners SS President McKinley and SS President Pierce took the survivors off the island, helped by boats provided by the Japanese cruiser Ashigara and an Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer. Dollar Lines sold President Hoover’s wreck to a Japanese salvage company, which spent the next three years breaking her up in situ. In response to the wreck, members of the US public gave money through the American Red Cross for a lighthouse to be built near Zhongliao village. Lyudao Lighthouse was designed by Japanese engineers, built by local islanders in 1938 and is 33.3 metres (109 ft) high.”  And of course, it’s a great place for photos!

We spent Wednesday evening having a short service, led by Rev. Lily Chang, using the Ascension Day liturgy, in preparation for the next day which was actually Ascension Day. Lily shared about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ‘Thy Kingdom Come‘ Project, an international and ecumenical global wave of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost.  We spent time each thinking of 5 people we were going to commit to praying for over these 10 days, and spent a few minutes praying for them in small groups.

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And then we drank Bishop Lai’s tea.  Here we are making the tea and talking to him on face-time!

Green Island is beautiful.  Green.  Very green.  And very beautiful.  But unfortunately it has also seen a huge amount of tragedy.  And that tragedy cannot be ignored.   Green Island is a prison island.  There are three prisons in total, although only one is in use today.  That prison was within walking distance of our hotel.  The outside walls are decorated in 3D wall paintings, and there is a small field with goats there, plus all sorts of touristy things for people to do on a prison theme.

The other 2 prisons are no longer in use and are open to the public, located near the village of Gongguan on the NE side of the island.  I visited the place on the first afternoon, and also walked past early one morning.  Then we went as a group for a short visit on our afternoon tour – in the pouring rain.

The whole of the bay there is filled with prison buildings and prison property.  It is now known as the ‘Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park’ and is managed by the government department called the ‘Preparatory Office of the National Human Rights Museum‘, who also manage the Jingmei Human Rights Memorial and Cultural Park 景美人權文化園區 in Taipei.  I went to Jingmei a few weeks ago, partly in preparation for coming to Green Island (my report about that visit is here).  The Jingmei Human Rights Memorial and Cultural Park is the site of the former Jingmei Military Law Detention Center of the Taiwan Garrison Command (1968-87) where political prisoners were incarcerated, indicted and sentenced during Taiwan’s White Terror Era ~ the suppression of political dissidents following the February 28 Incident in 1947. Martial law in Taiwan lasted from 1949-1987. Many went on to serve their lengthy prison sentences at the prison on Green Island.

The leaflets handed out at the Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park give a brief introduction, as follows, “The park was originally home to 2 prisons built to accommodate political prisoners during the time of the White Terror.  First was the New Life Correction Center (1951-65), operated by the Taiwan Security Command, reflecting Taiwan’s isolated position in the global Cold War.  Later came the Ministry of National Defense Green Island Reform and Reeducation Prison (1972-87).  It was also the time of the rising tide of the human rights movement, when overseas human rights activists came to the rescue of Taiwan’s political prisoners.  The postwar history of the repression of human rights in Taiwan finds its concrete expression in the relics and exhibition activities of this park.”

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The New Life Correction Center (1951-65) at its peak had 2,000 prisoners, divided into 12 squadrons, and from 1951-54, there were also about 100 women.  With staff included, there were about 3,000 people in total.  Conditions were harsh.  Hard labour involved clearing land, breaking up rocks and coral, constructing walls and buildings.  The authorities made certain that the inmates were kept fully occupied with hard labour and thought-reform instruction so as to tire them out physically and mentally. But every evening, prisoners were allowed an hour of ‘free’ time, and many used that time very constructively.  Today, some of the buildings remain derelict, but in others, the museum has tried to recreate the situation of the inmates.

One exhibit shows the translation of the ‘Life of Jesus’ that one of the prisoners, Mr. Tu Nan-Shan secretly completed, from Japanese into Chinese, with 9 revisions, during his time here.

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Another shows the violin that enterprising prisoners made from wood collected from a shipwreck, with the strings taken from wire from discarded electrical cable.

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Next door to the New Life Correction Center is the ‘Green Island Reform and Reeducation Prison’ (1972-87), better known as ‘Oasis Villa’ 綠洲山莊.  The main area of prison cells is in the shape of an ‘X’, for better control from the central area.  Lots of famous prisoners were incarcerated here, and “after their release, many of the prisoners jailed between the late 1940s and the late 1980s went on to establish the Democratic Progressive Party, most notably Shih Ming-teh. Cartoonist Bo Yang also served his prison terms here.”

In a separate heavily-gated section there is the solitary confinement area.  Some have padded cells.  Some are completely dark, others have only one small window at the top.

Finally there is the Human Rights Monument, where the words of Bo Yang are written in Chinese, translated as: “In those times / How many were the mothers / Who, for their sons / Imprisoned on this island / Wept through the long night?”  The names of all those who were incarcerated here are given, along with the dates of their imprisonment or death.

But the tragedy of Green Island is not just restricted to the prison area.  Even street art has appeared all over, some related to the prison.

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On my final morning, I went as far as Swallow Cave, which is at the far end of the bay where the prisons are.  Past the graveyard for the 13th Squadron, ie those who died from sickness or suicide.  Inmates, officers and troops were all buried together.  On the same site.  What irony.

Swallow Cave is dark.  Dark physically and very dark spiritually.  I prayed the whole time I was there.  Local people don’t go there.  It was the place where the prisoners were forced to rehearse and perform their thought-reform plays, paint their backdrops and cremate those who died.  Swallows were flying in and out.  Water was dripping from the roof.   It is a natural cave, but the black volcanic rock makes it even darker.  I hated it.  But I went.  Fortunately there were also many beautiful plants growing nearby.

The 2 Green Island prisons are not easy places to visit.  Nor the cave.  Nor any of the places where terrible things happened to the prisoners.  Even on the beach, where they had to break up the rocks and use them to build things.  It is all horrible.  Man’s inhumanity to man is indescribably awful.  And seen on Green Island in all its grisly reality.  The government is doing a good job of restoring the prisons and opening them to the public with so many helpful notices around the place, plus a lot of research and work on oral and written history of the prisoners.  It needs to be done, the truth needs to be told.  Even if it is uncomfortable and terrible.  If you are sensitive to this kind of thing, make sure you pray before, during and after your visit.  And pray for the people who were imprisoned on Green Island, or those whose family members were imprisoned there.  The evil and suffering experienced on Green Island did not just disappear when a prisoner was released or the prison closed down.  Healing, release, freedom and peace are not just needed physically, but mentally and spiritually too.  For individuals, for families, for the whole of society.  For now, and for generations to come.

May God have mercy on us all.

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And so to Thursday morning, and we went back to the harbour for our return trip to Taitung.  The ferry trip back was much smoother than the one coming, that was good news.

And I met 2 RC sisters at the Green Island harbour.  They turned out to be Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross 聖十字架慈愛修女會 who had been in Green Island doing some ministry there, and who are the same order as the sisters in Shangwu Village 尚武村, Taitung ~ who St. John’s University annual charity bazaar supported at Christmas 2016.  We had visited the sisters in Shangwu to present the money we raised, and I stayed overnight (my report of that visit is here).  Now these 2 lovely sisters were pleased to report that the work we had donated to, that of transforming their kindergarten into a day care center for the elderly, is now complete and the grand opening is in mid-June.  Wow, thanks be to God!

And so to Taitung, where Fu-Gang Harbour is full of blue fishing boats!

Green Island is an island of such great contrasts.  Well worth visiting.  Well worth snorkeling or seeing the underwater sea life from a glass-bottomed boat.  Well worth visiting the prisons and learning more of Taiwan history.  And well worth walking or biking around the island to take in the beautiful scenery.  Must go, must see!

This was my second trip to Green Island. The first was in July 2003 with friends from St. James’ Kindergarten, Taichung, including many small children, when we went round on motorcycles.  That was fun.  But a little hot!  This time it was much cooler. Also great fun!  Thanks to Bishop Lai and Mr. Di for all their planning, support and leadership.  To all the group of friends and church members who came along and shared in such a good time, and so many laughs, and to all who took photos and shared them with us.

And thanks be to God for an amazing trip!

Updated May 18, 2018: The Taipei Times is reporting here on yesterday’s official opening of the Human Rights Museum on Green Island by President Tsai Ing-Wen, “The opening of the museum yesterday marked the 67th anniversary since political prisoners were first incarcerated on Green Island on May 17, 1951.”

Praying for World Peace….

Where to start with world peace?!

A few weeks ago at St. James’ Church Youth Group in Taichung, we had the challenge of praying for the world.  Challenge accepted!  We prayed for the 16 countries officially listed as being located on the Tropic of Cancer, of which Taiwan is one (see that post here).  This past Saturday was part 2, this time with a focus on world peace.

We prayed for countries where war is a current reality.   Wikipedia’s List of ongoing armed conflicts is very extensive, so we focused on 16 of the worst-affected countries.  Not all are ‘at war’ in the traditional sense – the list includes the Mexico Drug War, as it has one of the highest number of causalities in recent years.  And of course, just because a country is not officially listed as being ‘at war’, does not mean that it is at peace.  Nor does it mean that a country is not involved in wars elsewhere.

Each of us was responsible for praying for one country at war.  More specifically, using paper people, each of us made our paper people into a family of 4, covering 3 generations, and researched how the people in ‘our’ family could be affected by the war.  Then we prayed and sang and committed all families in war-torn countries to God.

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Partly inspired by the Gospel reading for yesterday when Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection (Luke 24), saying, “Peace be with you” ~ and that “repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Repentance and forgiveness.  We need a bit more of that in the world.  A lot more, in fact.  And in countries affected by war, it’s a particularly big challenge.  So, pray on!

Praying for the World…

But where to start?!  It’s quite a task to take on ‘praying for the world’ ~ so on Saturday night at the St. James’ Church Youth Group in Taichung, we started with, well, where else to start, but, of course, Taiwan!  And we prayed around the Tropic of Cancer for all 16 officially-listed countries, one of which is Taiwan.  Interestingly, many of those countries are very arid and dry ~ the Tropic of Cancer actually passes right through the middle of the Sahara Desert.  And the highest mountain on the Tropic of Cancer is …… (drum roll here)… Yushan in Taiwan!

Anyway, each person took a paper out of a box, with the name of one of those 16 countries on it.  We re-ordered the circle so everyone was sitting in order of their country’s location on the Tropic of Cancer.  Then we spent a very quiet 15 minutes absorbed in our cellphones finding out info to share about that country and using that info to write our own prayer ~ and so we prayed around the circle, each country lit by a candle…  I had the Bahamas, and y’know it’s quite some country, and I knew nowt much about it beforehand!

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Partly inspired by the Chiayi Lantern Festival, which also takes the Tropic of Cancer as a theme with all the 16 countries listed and their locations…. and partly related to today’s Gospel reading which includes John 3:16: “For God so loved THE WORLD that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”  Hey, that’s good news for us and for the whole world!

So pray on, and pray for the world!

Reconciling the World with God: Holy Week and Easter Reflection

It’s Maundy Thursday, and there’s an air of anticipation in our chaplain’s office here at St. John’s University as our students get ready for the service tonight ~ many have volunteered to take part in the foot-washing, and they’re excited!

Excitement in Holy Week?! OK, it’s also the birthday of the leader of the student fellowship, and they’re all trying to keep their plans secret, but he knows something’s afoot and, well, we’ll just wait and see what happens!

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While I was in the UK last year, I was given a copy of the CMS publication, ‘365 Days of Yes’, subtitled ‘Daily Prayers and Readings for a Missional People’ (2012).  Yes, I admit the bright and beautiful cover was the key attraction, but having got it back to Taiwan, the next challenge was to start using it. So on January 1 this year, I dutifully launched forth on a whole year of readings and prayers.  And y’know, I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s really quite good!

A big surprise was to come across my own name in the book a few days ago with a story from one of my past CMS Link Letters.  But an even bigger surprise was to come when I looked ahead to the reading for Easter Day; unbelievably CMS has chosen another one of my stories.  And I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and spent some time looking up the original story.  Turns out, the original was a reflection I included in my Link Letter in May 2008, which started as an experience I had during a church service on February 17, 2008 during my first – and so far only – visit to New Zealand.

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On February 23, 2008, our church here at St. John’s University, Taiwan, held a special Thanksgiving Service for the new stained glass that had been installed in the church roof over the previous few months.  The stained glass depicts Christ the Light of the Dawn, inspired by the name of the church, Advent Church, and the association of Advent with the coming of Christ and the light that He brings into the world.  The glass is eight-sided, as is the baptismal pool at the main entrance to the church.  Numbers are important in Taiwan.  Our chaplain and rector, Rev. Lennon Chang is also Professor of Mathematics here at St. John’s University and his specialty and great passion is Calculus, so he loves to explain the significance of different numbers. Eight (八 Pinyin: bā) is an auspicious number in Chinese culture (which is why the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm local time) and the digit 8 also matches the mathematical symbol of infinity ∞.  In the Bible, the eighth day of creation was the first full day of the newly-created world, and circumcision was traditionally carried out on the eighth day.  New creation, new beginnings, new hearts!

It’s now 8 years since I was in New Zealand, 8 years since the stained glass was installed and dedicated in Advent Church, and 8 years since I wrote the following reflection:

Reflection for Holy Week and Easter 2008

“Over Chinese New Year, I had the opportunity to visit New Zealand. On the last Sunday I joined my friends for worship in their home church in Paraparaumu (that’ll test your Maori pronunciation!). The church itself is built right next to a small airport, used mainly by light aircraft. The large window behind the altar was of clear glass, and through the window there was a view of trees, hills and sky.

That Sunday morning, as we were praying the final post-communion prayer (the one where we are sent out into the world in the power of the Spirit, to live and work to God’s praise and glory), suddenly through that altar window I saw in the distance a helicopter plummeting head-first towards the ground, followed by pieces of wreckage. The few of us in the congregation who saw it knew that a crash was inevitable, with almost certain death for the pilot. Later we discovered that a light plane had collided in mid-air with the helicopter, both then crashed onto neighbouring houses and shops, and all three people onboard died.

Six days later, I was back in Taiwan, and attending the Thanksgiving Service for the new stained glass. The artwork is magnificent, full of blues, yellows and reds; with a Jacob’s ladder sculpture hanging down towards the altar from the centre.  The altar itself is of marble, and usually left bare, reminding us of the stone that Jacob slept on when he had his dream of the angels ascending and descending the ladder. The top of the sculpture, the flat part of the ceiling, is covered in mirrors, giving an impression of never-ending ladders, going on and on, up and up into eternity.  The whole artwork vividly depicts the glory of God and the light of Christ, with the ladders calling us to come closer to God in prayer, joining heaven and earth in one glorious whole.

What a huge contrast between those two images. One glass window invites us to look out at the world; the other invites us to look up at the glory of God.  Through one window I saw images of death and destruction; in another I saw images of the glory of God and light of Christ. Holy Week and Easter!  Yet in both church services I heard words of how God sends us to take His light out into the dark world, and I also heard words of invitation to bring the concerns of the world to Him in prayer.  We are indeed called to do both, to do our part in reconciling the world with God, and God with the world.”

I can still remember that helicopter crash and that service, in fact my New Zealand friends reminded me about it only a few weeks ago. There’s an official account of it here. I remember the gasp of shock and horror which echoed round the church from the few of us who had our eyes open and saw what happened.  The others who saw it were mostly the youth group who were sitting up high on the balcony at the back of the church.  I remember the news reports at the time and the tragic images of the crash site, and I remember the vicar calling later to ask if I was OK.  It was tragic, horrific and kind of bizarre all rolled into one.

And now we’re in Holy Week 2016, and sadly death and destruction once again dominate the news reports. Our screens are filled with tragic tales of grief and despair, of missing loved ones, of broken hearts and shattered lives in the city of Brussels, the heart of the European Union.  Our hearts and prayers go out to them all.  We do not understand why and how people could willingly bring about such death and destruction.  All we can do is to cry, pray and plead with God for mercy, justice and peace to prevail.  All we can do is to hold onto the promise of Easter, the promise of the resurrection, of death being conquered, of new life in Christ, of reconciliation with a loving God who cries with us in the pain and the brokenness.

In ‘A Maryknoll Book of Inspiration’ (Orbis 2010) the reading for today, March 24, is from ‘The Violence of Love’ by archbishop and martyr Oscar Romero (assassinated during Mass on March 24, 1980, his feast day has since been declared as March 24) ~ ‘Everyone can contribute much that is good, and in that way trust is achieved.  The common good will not be attained by excluding people. We can’t enrich the common good of our country by driving out those we don’t care for. We have to try to bring out all that is good in each person and try to develop an atmosphere of trust, not with physical force, but with a moral force that draws out the good that is in everyone, especially in concerned young people. Thus with all contributing all can build the beautiful structure of the common good, the good that we construct together, and that creates conditions of kindness, of trust, of freedom, of peace.’

And so the reading for Easter Day in the ‘365 Days of Yes’ finishes with the prayer, ‘Lord, on this resurrection day, send us out again, inspired, refreshed, renewed to do our part in reconciling the world to you. Amen’.

Amen indeed, and blessings for Holy Week and Easter to you all.

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

The Church of England’s Holy Week and Easter short film of Psalm 22….

“My God, My God why have you forsaken me ?” The words spoken by Jesus on the Cross from Psalm 22 inspired our new JustPray video for Easter. The film follows on from The Lord’s Prayer advert launched by the Church last Christmas which was banned by cinemas for its religious content.

The stars of the film have struggled with drug addiction, crime and homelessness on their journey to faith. Find out more about their stories here: http://www.justpray.uk/Psalm%2022/  Visit www.justpray.uk to learn more about prayer and to share your own prayers.

So do check the Just Pray website here and especially the background stories of the people in the film, and their Saturday Night Gathering…. brilliant!

Cinemas refuse to show Church of England advert featuring Lord’s Prayer | The Guardian

You must check this out – watch the ‘Just Pray’ video and then read the articles on the BBC and Guardian websites – and find out why it’s being banned as an advert in British cinemas at Christmas, links given below…..

The irony of a prayer that Jesus taught us being banned as we prepare to celebrate his birth…

The Church of England says it is “disappointed and bewildered” by the refusal of leading UK cinemas to show an advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer.

Source: Lord’s Prayer cinema ad snub ‘bewilders’ Church of England – BBC News

Church of England says it is bewildered by leading chains’ stance on advert that was intended to play before new Star Wars film

Source: Cinemas refuse to show Church of England advert featuring Lord’s Prayer | World news | The Guardian

Prayers of the People @ General Convention

For the last 10 days, June 25 to July 3, the 78th General Convention of the US-based Episcopal Church has been meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The Diocese of Taiwan is one of those dioceses present, and Bishop Lai led a group from Taiwan to take part in it.

Last year during Advent, many of us took part in a highly successful social media project – like a global Advent Calendar – called Advent Word, where we posted a photo a day on an Advent theme, organized by SSJE, the Society of St. John the Evangelist.  I loved it!

SSJE were invited by the General Convention to organize another social media project for the duration of the General Convention, described here:

At the request of the General Convention Liturgy Team, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist is offering a social media initiative called  #prayersof.

#prayersof invites everyone from around the globe to add prayers in words and images to The Prayers of the People at the Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention. Each day, a number of submitted prayers will be incorporated into the spoken liturgy of that day’s General Convention worship.

Adding a prayer is incredibly simple. By using the hashtag #prayersof on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, anyone posting a public prayer in words or images will have that prayer included in the prayer website at General Convention – prayersofthepeople.org

#prayersof is based on the seven classic forms of prayers identified in the Book of Common Prayer: thanksgiving, praise, intercession, adoration, oblation, penitence and petition. Themes of life and celebration have been added as there are nine days of General Convention Eucharists.

So this has been my humble contribution these last 9 days, all photos used were mine, taken in the last week or so, and well, minus the Instagram filters!

Day 1: Life

God of Life, may our lives be transformed into something beautiful for you.

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Day 2: Thanksgiving

God of Grace, your presence sustains us in the storms of life.  Thank you that your grace is sufficient for us, for your strength is made perfect in weakness.

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Day 3: Praise

God of Glory, however we honour our earthly heroes, it is you alone who is worthy of the highest praise, honour and glory.

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Day 4: Adoration

God of Love, as the flowers enjoy the warmth and light of the sun, may we lift up our hearts and minds to you and enjoy the warmth and light of your presence with us.

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Day 5: Penitence

God of Forgiveness, when we fail in our calling to shine as lights in the world, have mercy.

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Day 6: Intercession

God of Compassion, we pray for those who travel on the journey of life with us, especially for those struggling with pain, grief, loneliness and fear.

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Day 7: Petition

God of the ages, help us to be bridge-builders, reaching out to others, bringing unity where there is division.

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Day 8: Oblation

God of vision, our lives are often complicated and it’s a challenge to stick together. We offer to you our challenges, relationships and lives, for the building of your kingdom.

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Day 9: Celebration

We celebrated this day with a huge water fight! God of joy, may we celebrate, proclaim and share your love with those around us.

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As the General Convention concludes today, we pray for all their discussions, announcements, elections, results, decisions, conversations, meetings ~ and for the ongoing ministry of the Episcopal Church, and the Presiding Bishop-elect, Michael Curry.