Churches across China held worship services to celebrate the 2023 World Day of Prayer, which falls on March 3.
According to the official website of the World Day of Prayer (WDP), this year's program is written by the World Day of Prayer Committee of Taiwan, themed "I Have Heard About Your Faith" around Ephesians 1:15-19.
It has been the second year that China's TSPM church celebrates this global ecumenical movement with its own material. Last year's WDP theme was "Contribute With Willingness" according to Exodus 35:20-35. Written by the WDP Committee of England, Wales & Northern Ireland, the official theme of WDP 2022 was "I Know the Plans I Have for You" based on Jeremiah 29:1-14.
Adopting the materials made by the Women and Youth Ministry Committee of CCC&TSPM, the events were conducted with the theme 'Reconciled in Christ' based on Colossians 1:18–20, with the testimonies of three female believers. During the services, Christians prayed for the complete reunification of the motherland, China's modernization, climate change, the protection of the environment, the Sinicization of Christianity, and the restoration of the church after the epidemic.
In the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Shanghai, which is affiliated with CCC&TSPM, nearly 200 believers and pastoral staff attended the WDP service jointly held by CCC&TSPM and Shanghai CC&TSPM on March 3, reported CCC&TSPM. Rev. Fang Ying of CCC&TSPM gave a sermon titled "Reconciled in Christ", encouraging believers to restore good relationships with God through knowing Christ, with others through preaching Christ, and with themselves through Christ.
During the service, a donation ceremony was also carried out to aid Shanghai Enguang-Home for the Aged.
Changzhou CC&TSPM in Jiangsu hosted a worship service on March 3 attended by more than 30 female members of Changzhou Church. Rev. Peng Shengjie delivered a sermon titled "Preach the Word of Reconciliation," encouraging them to spread the name of Jesus and recognize Him as supreme, followed by a commission service with a benediction, said Changzhou CC&TSPM.
Shandong CC&TSPM and Shandong Theological Seminary held activities on the World Day of Prayer (WDP), with the background of the WDP being introduced, according to Shandong CC&TSPM. Rev. He Aixia emphasized "reconciliation in Christ," reminding believers to invite Christ into their lives after knowing Him. She said walking with Jesus could enable them to live in harmony with each other, society, and nature and better serve the people and benefit society, according to Shandong CC&TSPM.
At Jingsi Road Church in Ji’nan, Shandong, Rev. Hao Ping, vice president of the Ji’nan Municipal Christian Council, March 3 gave a sermon with the title "Reconciled in Christ," exhorting believers to know Christ, experience His presence, and spread His good name, reported the Ji’nan CC&TSPM.
During the service attended by pastoral staff, the Jiangsu Road Church Choir, and believers from many churches on March 3, Rev. Dong Meiqin, director of the Qingdao CC&TSPM, delivered the sermon, guiding attendees to put Christ, the Redeemer and head of the church, first in the church, family, and lives, and to be a messenger of peace to reconcile people to God, reported the municipal CC&TSPM.
Huangjia Street Church, Jining, Shandong, held the service on March 6. Rev. Tang Li, the person in charge of the church ministry, hosted the service, conducting the proclamation, worship prayer, confession prayer, and the ceremony of forgiveness, said Jining CC&TSPM.
Yaodu District CC&TSPM in Linfen, Shanxi, carried out a joint worship service on March 4, with nearly 100 female Christians from the urban area present.
Deacon Zhu Hongli delivered a sermon titled "Reconciliation in Christ: Seeing Women's Mission from the Bible", listing the examples of wise women in the Bible who had godliness, love for God, humility, and a service spirit. In terms of the role that women in the new era should play in the family, church, and society, she demanded that they be salt, glorify God, benefit people, and spread the gospel to the unreached.
Responding to the initiative of CCC&TPSM on the WDP, Griffith Church (Rongguang Church) prepared weekly magazines, projections, banners, and arranged educational affairs before a joint Sunday service and communion service on March 5, according to Wuhan CC&TSPM.
Chengguan Church in Longyan, Fujian, held a joint worship activity for "2023 World Day of Prayer and International Women's Day," with 40 pastoral staff and believers in attendance. Pastor Zhang Guangqing preached a sermon titled "Women Who Love the Lord Become a Large Group" on March 4, urging female believers to love the Lord and serve the people with zeal, said Longyan CC&TSPM.
In Holy Word Church, Nanjing, Jiangsu, Nanjing CC&TSPM on March 2 hosted a WDP service, which was conducted the next day by other Christian organizations, such as Jiangxi Bible School, Zhejiang CC&TSPM, Zhejiang Theological Seminary, Guizhou Bible School, Shaanxi Bible School, Xiamen CC&TSPM in Fujian, Fujian Theological Seminary, and some churches in Urumqi, Xinjiang. Guangdong churches celebrated the WDP on March 4-5, and Shaanxi churches on March 3-5.
It is said in Chinese churches that female Christians account for more than two-thirds, and female pastors make up above 40% of pastors. Churches around the world attach great importance to women's ministry, establishing special women's and youth ministry committees or ministry groups in many places.
- Translated by Abigail Wu