World Day of Prayer 5th March 2021
VENUATA is a group of 80 tiny islands, 1100 miles to the east of Australia, and is therefore one of the first countries to see the sun rise on the World Day of Prayer. This country, which most of us would not have heard of previously, has written the service for the focus of prayer for this year, on the theme, Build a strong foundation.
World Day of Prayer is thought to have been introduced to Venuata in 1946. On the 5th March this year we will be praying together with the people of these islands with their beautiful sandy beaches, coral reefs, colourful fish, lovely birds and forests; a country which is beautiful, but vulnerable to tropical storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, cyclones and tsunamis.
The flag of Vanuatu was adopted in 1980. The broad red and green stripes are divided by a gold, black bordered, Y shape, reflecting the pattern of islands. On the left hand side, set into the black triangle are two crossed palm leaves encircled by a pig’s tusk, a highly prized item in Vanuatu. The coconut palm tree is viewed as the tree of life, because all its parts are used by the people.
The islands were discovered by the Spanish in 1606 and named the New Hebrides by Captain Cook after his visit in 1774. It was named Venuata in 1980 after independence from France and the UK who jointly managed the islands. Today 113 languages are spoken, with English and French as official languages. Education is not compulsory, nor free. Malnutrition and lack of safe drinking water are problems. The economy is based on tourism, construction and offshore financial services. Today 83% of the population is Christian.
It was James Mitchener’s short stories, Tales of the South Pacific which he wrote from experiences as a lieutenant whilst on the islands during WW2, that formed the basis of the musical South Pacific.
We have recorded the service which we will make available online through Facebook. If you would like to receive a service booklet, please contact Hilary by email: email@example.com.
For more information on Venuata, visit the World Day of Prayer website
Facebook video link (when available):