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Women's World Day of Prayer: 2 March 2012Women’s World Day of Prayer 2012

Malaysia at St Peter’s

As you can see from the pictures below, it was no ordinary Friday afternoon at St Peter’s!

On 2 March, a good-sized crowd gathered as women from nine PACT churches shared in the leading and presentation of the service prepared by Malaysian Christians for the 2012 Women’s World Day of Prayer.

Colourful, sweetly-smelling candles, bright Eastern dresses, heads bowed and hands palm-to-palm in greeting introduced an hour of song, prayer and a passionate call for Christian involvement in society.

“As citizens of our country,” we heard, “we believe it is our vital duty to raise our voices.” Accordingly, we saw women fighting for justice in our own history as well as learning about today’s Malaysians. Carrying striking banners and dressed for the part, four women took on the roles of real and representative women seeking justice.

One Malaysian was a social worker who has braved official persecution to expose the terrible conditions of immigration detention camps. A second worked with the most vulnerable and marginalised, like trafficked women.

For the UK, there was a suffragette from a century ago and one of the Ford Dagenham workers from the 1960’s, whose protest against injustice hastened the law on equal pay.

Rev'd Sylvia Roberts, who had chaired the planning, led the event and welcomed Buriton’s parish priest, Rev'd Judith Bee, who gave a thoughtful address. The Bible readings underlined the importance of social justice in our faith and the necessity of perseverance in the struggle to achieve it.

After the service, many people stayed behind to enjoy the refreshments. Ladies of the host church of St Peter’s had prepared an impressive array of Malaysian goodies to accompany the jasmine tea – although a traditional cuppa was also available!
The event was very well-received, not least thanks to the decoration of the church, featuring butterflies supplied by Messy Church and genuine Malaysian artefacts. Altogether, it was a fascinating glimpse of another culture, a challenging call to get involved in social justice and a very practical expression of the ‘togetherness’ of the Petersfield area churches.

Equal Pay for Women Melanie and Judith with one of their posters
A Messy Church Butterfly Malaysian Flag and Food
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