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Monday, 8 May 2017

A Season of Prayer and Praise

by glynch — last modified 08 May, 2017 11:43 PM

MU President Rosie Stiven reports on months that covered Lent, Easter, and Women's World Day of Prayer

With Ash Wednesday falling on the first day of March, that month was marked with many prayerful gatherings amongst our members.

Women’s World Day of Prayer, which this year, fell on March 3rd was celebrated by many of us throughout the Diocese. The theme was ‘Am I Being Unfair to You’ which had been prepared by the women of the Philippines and was based upon Matthew 20: 1-16. The readings and narratives encouraged us to reflect upon the agricultural and economic challenges which exist today in the Philippines.  In the Bible story, Jesus uses the landowner’s generosity in paying all the workers equally, however long they had worked, as a way to understand what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. For us today the challenge is to work together to spread a local and global culture of economic and social justice, friendship, care and compassion.[1] In Wilton, our Interdenominational Service was hosted by Revd Jonathan Greening, Pastor of Wilton Baptist Church.

Women's World Day of Prayer 2017 MU Wilton

Early in the month, the Virtual Babies had a little outing to Devizes School. They were invited (along with Mothers’ Union) to take part in an Open Evening  ‘Come and Find out about  Us’  held to showcase  voluntary and charitable organisations. There were some curious looks from visitors to the stand, but on the whole, the Babies were very well behaved in spite of it being way past their bedtime!

It was time for a cuppa at the Court Cafe for Wilton Branch who came along for their March afternoon meeting. A talk and guided tour around the various Courts was given by Andrew Wells, Chaplain to the Salisbury Law Courts and Joanna Woodd, project leader of the Court Cafe. Our Court Café is now open for 5 days a week, serving handmade sandwiches, teas and coffees. We have 20 members and volunteers on the Rota. Come and join us.

March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation – Lady Day – fell on the Saturday before Mothering Sunday – so the dates worked extremely well for combining our celebratory Prayer Service at Wilton together with creating beautiful posies made from over 300 daffodils which were kindly donated by Wilton House Estate to present to the ladies of the congregation on Mothering Sunday.

And if all this activity wasn’t enough, we closed the month with our Spring Council held at West Moors. Our Council began with a celebratory Eucharist and this was followed by an illuminating talk by the Reverend Andrew Rowland titled, ‘Islam from a Christian Perspective’.  Our day concluded with a practical workshop based on this year’s theme of ‘Faith in Action’ led by Joanne Triffitt.

You may remember that in my previous reports, I wrote about Sarah Condry’s Pilgrimage to Canterbury, ‘Maisie’s March’. Sarah, with her friend, Patsy, together with their two dogs, Maisie, the intrepid terrier and Diesel, the bouncy Irish terrier, are making a pilgrimage to Canterbury from Salisbury, thereby raising funds for MU in Salisbury Diocese.

The second phase of Maisie’s March began on Monday 24 April at Alton Railway station. Here we were greeted by Caroline Scull, Diocesan President Winchester, together with her Chaplain, Margaret. Margaret led us in our Pilgrim Prayer and together we set off in the direction of Farnham. The weather was dry and pleasant and the path clear. It was so good to be joined by friends from Winchester and the day was full of love and fellowship. Maisie and Diesel, together with their Mums, continued on to Guildford that week.  They are now busy planning the next phase which will be a little more tricky, as Maisie lives in Warminster and Diesel in Canterbury – I guess their Mums will just have to work it out!

The other piece of good fortune was that as the holiday season opened up at Rockley Park and our team there, swung into action to get the holiday home ready for our first visitors over Easter, we received two large donations towards the replacement of the holiday home, which is now eight years old. Together with the part exchange of our existing one, we have taken ownership of a brand new, 6 berth holiday home set on a beautiful standing which has a sea view! The new holiday home is all set up and ready for our summer visitors. (Insert photo 7)

Whilst all this was going on down at Rockley Park, volunteers from the AFIA holiday in Sidmouth came together to run a reunion for those families who had stayed in the Sidholme Hotel last August. This is an annual reunion and was held at the Community Farm in Salisbury on 22 April. It was a beautiful sunny day - just ideal for the barbecue and family activities. Between 60/70 people came back for the reunion and a fantastic time was had by all. Our AFIA holiday in Sidmouth this year will be from 19 August to 26 August.

As April drew to a close, I had the pleasure of visiting members at St John The Evangelist Church, Upper Studley, Trowbridge where their leader, Helen Cash, made me very welcome.  It was a lovely evening but tinged with some sadness as our members said farewell to their Priest in Charge, Revd Selina Deacon who is retiring. Thank you to all your members who made me so welcome that evening.

Finally, another family will be able to enjoy a week at Rockley Park this year, as a result of the funds raised at the Wilton Branch Spring Coffee Morning held on 29 April. Well done Wilton and thank you so much for your generosity.

Please don’t forget to join in our Global Moment of Prayer led by our World Wide President, Lynne Tembey on 31 May at 2pm from Hull, which will be streamed on our Central  Mothers’ Union website, as Mothers’ Union joins in ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ Prayers  from 25 May to 4 June.

Rosie Stiven 

[1] Taken from Women’s World Day of Prayer Booklet, 3 March 2017, p.32, published by Footprint Innovations Limited.


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