Philippine Ambassador participates for the third time in the prayer at parliament in New Zealand
As the Philippine Embassy continues to cultivate closer people-to-people ties and deeper friendship, solidarity and understanding between Filipinos and New Zealanders and in response to the invitation extended by Hon. Chester Borrows, Member of Parliament for Whanganui, Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez attended for the third time the final Prayer @ Parliament for 2013 held at the Grand Hall of the Parliament of New Zealand on 26 September 2013. Pastor Rasik Ranchord, Convener of the Interdenominational Christian Prayer Gathering and Founding Pastor of the Abundant Life Church (ALC) in New Zealand, holds the Prayer @ Parliament three times a year, every March, June and September to pray for the government, leaders, business, church, youth, family, media, sport, education, various sectors of society of New Zealand and prevailing developments, issues and concerns affecting the multi-cultural nation. Since its inception eight years ago, Ministers and Parliamentarians have participated in the prayer gatherings open to all people from different denominations and places in New Zealand.
For the third Prayer @ Parliament for this year, the Filipino Wellington Community Choir sang a moving rendition of the National Anthem of New Zealand, Ambassador Benavidez led the opening prayer, Member of Parliament Peseta Sam Logu Iiga and Pastor Rasik welcomed everyone present on this special occasion. This was followed by the readings from the New Testament, 1Timothy 2:1-8 by Member of Parliament Asenati Lole-Taylor and Ephesians 2:11-22 by Member of Parliament Su’a William Sio. Individual and group prayers followed the three prayer tracks. Prayer Track 1 focused on the Local Government Election with input from Mr. David Major, a former Wellington City Councillor; Prayer Track 2 focused on New Zealand: Multicultural Nation with input from Pastor Rasik Ranchord; and Prayer Track 3 focused on the Capital Prayer Breakfast to be held on 17 October 2013 at the Banquet Hall, Parliament with Mr. Chris Clarke, CEO, World Vision and on Members of Parliament with input from Member of Parliament Jonathan Young who spoke on challenges that Members of Parliament face.. The Filipino Wellington Community Choir sang “The Prayer” and the closing praise song of “How Great Thou Art.”
“By GOD’s grace, the Philippines had the honour of being part of this prayer gathering again at the Parliament which is of utmost importance in obeying GOD’s Word to pray for all those in authority and for the nation. To be able to join in individual and collective prayers right at New Zealand’s seat of government transformed into an altar of worship is a moving, meaningful and memorable way of demonstrating the Christian heritage of the Philippines and the Filipino people’s solidarity and togetherness with the people of New Zealand in praying for their country and leaders,” Ambassador Benavidez stated. She thanked Pastors Rasik and Lalita Ranchord and the Members of Parliament for the honour and privilege of participating in the annual Prayer @ Parliament since she arrived in New Zealand two years ago.