CAPTION: This year's World Day of Prayer theme 'Build a Strong Foundation' has been inspired by Vanuatu in our link diocese of Melanesia

World Day Of Prayer 2021: Building A Strong Foundation

Posted: 26th February, 2021

One of the countries in the Diocese of Exeter’s link, Diocese of Melanesia, is to host this year’s World Day of Prayer on 5 March.

Women in the Pacific island of Vanuatu have created a service for use around the world with the theme Build a Strong Foundation.

Katie Drew, who lives in Devon and is the Executive Officer for the Melanesian Mission UK, said “Many people in Devon, know of the Diocese’s historic link to the Solomon Islands in Melanesia through Bishop John Coleridge Patteson.

This painting was created for the World Day of Prayer by Vanuatuan artist Juliette Pita

“What they don’t often realise is that Melanesia is not just the Solomon Islands, but two other countries – New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

“Often overlooked, it is wonderful to see that this year’s World Day of Prayer is from Vanuatu.”

World Day of Prayer services will be held online this year, including one at 11:30 on 5th March, led by Canon Cate Edmonds, from Exeter Cathedral, who has visited Vanuatu on behalf of MMUK.  Please email Katie at katie.drew@mmuk.net for details.

There are also prayer and service resources for churches and individuals to download as well as as video about Vanuatu.

A portrait of John Coleridge Patteson in Lambeth Palace

Vanuatu is already a victim of climate change, with rising sea levels threatening to engulf the land. It is also prone to cyclones and hurricanes.

The World Day of Prayer artwork has been created by Vanuatuan artist Juliette Pita and shows a mother bending and praying over her child during Cyclone Pam in 2016.

“I hope parishes and individuals in Exeter Diocese will be able to attend an online service and use these resources to help them learn more and pray for the people of Vanuatu,” said Katie.

Exeter has a historic link with Melanesia through Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, who grew up in Devon and went on to become the first Bishop of Melanesia.

Patteson was educated at the Kings School in Ottery St Mary, before going to Eton and then Merton College, Oxford.

He was ordained at Exeter Cathedral and did his curacy at Alfington, East Devon.

This year is the 150th anniversary of his mission to Melanesia and in September the Archbishop of Canterbury is due to visit Devon for a series of events to commemorate the anniversary.

These include a special service at Exeter Cathedral led by Archbishop Justin.

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