Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

The first prayer at Parliament for 2014 highlights community and PHL participation in Wellington, New Zealand

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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 the first Prayer @ Parliament for 2014 held at the Grand Hall of the Parliament of New Zealand on 20 March 2014. 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. Representatives from various parts of North Island attended the gathering.

his first Prayer @ Parliament for 2014 focused on the bicentenary of the gospel in New Zealand and the general elections to be held on 20 September. The ALC Worship Team gave a moving rendition of the National Anthem of New Zealand, Member of Parliament for New Plymouth Jonathan Young led the opening prayer, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West Tim Macindoe and Pastor Rasik welcomed everyone present on this special occasion. This was followed by the readings from the New Testament, Romans 1:1-5, 16, 17 by Ms. Maura Young and Romans 13:1-7 by Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez. Individual and group prayers followed Prayer Track 1 on the nationwide Hope project presented by Mr. Dave Mann, Prayer Track 2 on a Christian’s civic duties with input from Pastor Rasik Ranchord and Prayer Track 3 on challenges facing the Members of Parliament with input from List Member of Parliament for National Alfred Ngaro and Member of Parliament Tim Macindoe. Pastor Hamish Thomson, the Senior Pastor of ALC gave an update on the annual Capital Prayer Breakfast to be held at the Parliament later this year and Mr. Brian Caughley from the Intercessors for NZ shared the highlights of the Farewell Service for the late Catherine Hollister-Jones who used to fly from Tauranga to attend regularly the Prayer @ Parliament in Wellington. Everyone read together the prayer she has written for the Leaders and Members of Parliament of New Zealand.

“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 which has become an altar of worship and a haven for prayers and fellowship 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 also said that in January 2014, President Benigno S. Aquino III attended the first prayer gathering of Christians held at the Malacañan Palace grounds. Ambassador Benavidez thanked Pastors Rasik and Lalita Ranchord and the Members of Parliament for the honour and privilege of participating in the regular series of the Prayer @ Parliament since she arrived in New Zealand more than two years ago.

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