Prayers said for Slovenia

The World Day of Prayer, prepared by Slovenian women, was held in hot weather at Cummins on Friday, March 1, at the Uniting Church.

Jan Phelps and Judy Hurrell coordinated the morning prayer.

More than 50 people attended, including three local church ministers, women and men from different churches, and guest speaker Pastor Franc Ahlin from the All Nations Baptist Church in Seacombe Gardens and his wife Wendy.

Leonie Phelps, Marg Phelps, June Leedham, Beryl Taylor and Rosemary Pearson all told the stories of the lives of women living in Slovenia.

The Bible reading taken from Luke, Chapter 14 Verses 15-24 was read by Lee Slater.

We are all asked to invite the poor, homeless, lonely, refugees, migrant workers, the elderly, ethnic minorities and those devastated by alcohol to come to the Lord's banquet table.

Pastor Franc Ahlin spoke about Slovenia being a beautiful, but poor country.

He gave a brief family history, with his mother being from a wealthy family and a father who was a peasant.

Slovenia merged with Yugoslavia and was mainly Catholic, they had a unique language and culture that was repressed during World War II.

Pastor Franc's dad was imprisoned and almost executed several times, he even survived a firing squad as he fainted.

He was released about Easter time but became ill and was hospitalised to recuperate. Others who were released were killed.

While in hospital, as food was scarce, he used to sneak out and raid the seed potatoes from the farm nearby, cooking and sharing them with other patients.

As a displaced person, Australia eventually offered him a placement here.

He survived to become a modest dad, who did not really understand love, but cared for his family.

Pastor Franc and his father's relationship broke down as he was unable to get his child baptised a Catholic, because the priest refused to allow it.

Pastor Franc realised God loved him and was calling him to ministry.

He met his wife, Wendy at university and they married.

When his father was recovering from cancer, he rang Pastor Franc and asked if he could come to live with them for a while.

As he stayed there and recovered, his father realised that his son's family was better than his.

He could see the love of God they had, and understood people could find God in many places.

Pastor Franc said God wanted to intertwine with us in our lives, but it was up to us to accept His invitation to come to the banquet.

An offering was taken up and accepted and prayed over by Pastor Stephen Albrecht.

A generous collection of $437.70 will go towards the World Day of Prayer Australia-wide project, to encourage and support women in Slovenia who experience trauma.

Ian Pearson played the organ for the hymns, and prayers of thanksgiving and intercession were said before the commissioning for the 2020 service, for Zimbabwe, to be held in the Catholic Church.

Diane Secker and Marg Phelps came forward to accept the role of coordinating the 2020 World Day of Prayer Service.

Pastor Stephen Albrecht gave a final blessing on those who attended before morning tea - which included the Slovenian National cake, Potica, made and donated by Michael Agnew - was enjoyed by all.