FATHERS PRAYERS INTERNATIONAL

Dear All,

Hereby you will find the third international newsletter of Fathers Prayers. Many things have happened since the last newsletter of October 2012. We will look back at a very successful international meeting of Fathers Prayers in the Netherlands and sadly we were informed that the initiator of Fathers Prayers, Maurice Williams, had passed away on 9 May 2013. The new international co-ordination team of Fathers Prayers was present at his funeral on 30 May in the UK in order to show our deepest sympathies.
We will also introduce this new international coordination team of Fathers Prayers as Gerlo Sogtoen has stepped back as chairman of the Fathers Prayers Foundation and as country coordinator for the Netherlands. Below we will also cover some other general items and inform you about coming events.

International Fathers Prayers Meeting 15-17 March 2013 in the Netherlands

On 15-17 March around 20 men from many different countries joined this very special weekend at the retreat center "Klein Sion" in Leuvenheim in the Easter part of the Netherlands. We first explained in a Power Point presentation about the developments during the two-year period in which the Netherlands (a Dutch team of five fathers) took international responsibility for Fathers Prayers. Subsequently, the country coordinators of the various other countries made their own presentation.

We were also very glad with the two interesting lectures of Father John of the community of Saint John who explained to us more about the mission of Fathers Prayers. He explained how important it is to get back to our true identity as children of God. We as men have forgotten how it is to be children and we have too much identified us with our function in society. His lectures gave rise to a great deal of questions and was very inspiring for all of us.

The country coordinators also came together to discuss the future of Fathers Prayers and we decided amongst others on establishing a new international coordination team of Fathers Prayers for the coming two years (see for details below). Gerlo Sogtoen, had indicated that he would no longer be chairman of the Fathers Prayers Foundation and country coordinator for the Netherlands due to personal reasons. We thank him very much for all that he has done for Fathers Prayers during the past. However, he will continue to provide us with advice and he will keep coming to our weekly Fathers Prayers sessions in Houten (the Netherlands).

During the meeting we also agreed that we should not change the text of the Fathers Prayers booklets as we are very happy with the existing text. We also discussed the relationship with Mothers Prayers and once more confirmed that we need to develop further independently of Mothers Prayers. However, we must maintain in close contact with them in order to inform each other of mutual developments and see what we can learn from each other.
Again we were very happy with the kind hospitality of the people of the retreat center "Klein Sion" who made this weekend possible and enabled us to have such an inspiring weekend.
You can see the pictures of this weekend on the English pages of our homepage: www.fathersprayers.org under "weekend 2013".

New international organizational structure of Fathers Prayers

As the two-year period for the Netherlands as internationally responsible party for Fathers Prayers had ended we discussed how we would continue in the future. We also had to take into account that Gerlo Sogtoen had stepped back as chairman of the Dutch team internationally representing Fathers Prayers. 

We decided to invite Ivan Melo of Slovakia in our team and we decided to call ourselves the "International Coordination Team of Fathers Prayers". Although the basis is to coordinate internationally it will also involve decision making on some points such as on the contents of the Fathers Prayers booklet.
The international Co-ordination Team now consists of Ivan Melo of Slovakia and Maurice Schemkes (secretary) and Willem Visser 't Hooft (chairman) of the Netherlands. The other member of our former team of five Dutch fathers, Ger Schmeits, has become country coordinator for the Netherlands.
We are still working on defining our role as international coordination team but at the same time we trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us to do what is necessary for Fathers Prayers all over the world. We directly relate with the country coordinators which are established in countries such as the Netherlands, France, UK, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Russia. These are:
UK:                                          John Murphy
France:                                   Pierre Lecomte
Czech Republic:                      Jan Brazdil
Russia                                     Andrey Letyagin
Slovakia:                                 Ivan Melo
The Netherlands:                   Ger Schmeits

The existing Foundation of Fathers Prayers in the Netherlands will remain active in collecting funds to pay for our activities in the Netherlands and abroad.

Funeral of Maurice Williams on 30 May 2013

Sadly Maurice Williams, being the initiator of Fathers Prayers, passed away on May 9th after a long illness.
His funeral took place in his hometown of Dartford on May 30th. Ivan Melo, Maurice Schemkes and me as members of the international coordination team of Fathers Prayers attended the funeral.
During the celebration of the life of Maurice Williams in St. Anselm's Church in Dartford we listened to many eulogies of his family members which were very moving and made us once again realize what a wonderful and inspiring man Maurice was. On the last page of the booklet which was distributed during the celebration the following text was written:

'You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last' (John 15:16)

Maurice Williams certainly did bear fruit which will last in the form of the many Fathers Prayers groups all over the world. He had set up Fathers Prayers in conjunction with Mothers prayers which was set up by Maurice's wife Sandra and his sister Veronica. We are very grateful for his work for Fathers Prayers and we will do our utmost to continue the work that he has started. During the celebration we also met many members of Fathers Prayers groups in the UK.

Last but not least, during the reception after the funeral we had the chance to meet Veronica Williams and tell her about the latest developments surrounding Fathers Prayers. We were very happy to see her and she gave us a blessing for our future work as members of the international coordination team.
She spoke about some core fundamentals of our shared spirituality and we summarized this in the abbreviation: "SJOS". which stands for Simplicity, Joyful obedience and Surrender.

Fathers Prayers in Slovakia

From May 17 - 18 a national group coordinators meeting was held for Slovakia. Approximately 24 men were present representing around 20 Slovakian FP groups. It was very good to discuss the issues in the different groups and to pray together.

Ivan Melo also joined the New Dawn conference in Skalka in the Western part of Slovakia. Approximately 300 people joined the conference which lasted five days (June 29-July 3). New Dawn is also the conference where Mothers Prayers started in Walsingham in the UK many years ago. Among the guests was Father Pat Collins from Ireland. During the conference Ivan hosted a Fathers Prayers workshop in which he gave an introduction after which a Father Prayers session was held.

Input on new e-mail addresses and upcoming events (conferences and meetings) and testimonies for coming newsletters

We would like to ask the country coordinators (UK, France, Czech Republic and Russia) and fathers in other countries where there is not yet a country coordinator to inform us regularly of events and testimonies which we can put in our newsletter. This will also enable us to follow all the activities and carry out the necessary coordination. In addition, we would appreciate it if you can send us the e-mail addresses of new fathers joining Fathers Prayers groups in order to send the newsletter to as many fathers as possible.

Printing of Fathers Prayers booklets  

We would like to inform you that it is our policy that the country coordinators will decide on the printing of the booklets. This can either be done directly from the website or by having real booklets printed by a printing company. The international coordination team only refers to the website but does not send booklets by regular post.
However, if a country is in need of booklets and does not have sufficient funds, the international coordination team can decide to make a donation to that specific country in order to enable them to have booklets printed.

International Website of Fathers Prayers (www.fathersprayers.org)

We are still continuing to develop the website and we are aiming at using as many languages as possible such that Fathers Prayers is accessible to everybody around the world.  Due to this homepage we also receive many questions from fathers from many different countries where Fathers Prayers groups are yet to be established.

Meeting with Mothers Prayers coordinators of The Netherlands (24 April 2013)

Together with our Dutch country coordinator, Ger Schmeits, we had a fruitful meeting with the coordinators in  the Netherlands of Mothers Prayers.
We explained about our activities and they were excited to keep into close contact with us and to share information. It made us realize that although we have different ministries we share the same spirituality. We decided to meet each other at least once a year and perhaps in the future also organize events jointly.

Coming events

Fathers Prayers workshop at "Celebrate" conference in the Netherlands
At 31 July we will organize a special workshop during a Dutch Christian (Catholic) weekly conference called "Celebrate" in the northern part of the Netherlands. This yearly conference is attended by approximately 700  people and we hope that many men will attend this workshop. It will be conducted by Maurice and Willem and we pray that it may inspire many fathers.  

National meeting of Fathers Prayers in Slovakia
From 11-13 October the Slovakian national meeting for all fathers will be held near the Tatra mountains. Ivan expects to welcome around 100 fathers. Willem and Maurice will try to come to the meeting. The theme of the meeting is not yet known but will be announced later.

Finally

I would like to wish everybody a very good summer and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions about Fathers Prayers as we are very glad to give you more information.
As Fathers Prayers has really changed my life, I am glad to take up this opportunity as chairman of our new team to share my experiences with many other men. I increasingly realize how important it is to pray among men and support each other. 

Once more we would like to remind you to pray the Fathers Prayers daily prayer everyday
God bless you.

On behalf of the international coordination team of Fathers Prayers 

Willem Visser 't Hooft
Chairman of the international coordination team of Fathers Prayers
General email address: contact@fathersprayers.org
Homepage: www.fathersprayers.org