Monday, 14 January 2019

Consolation, Peace and Hope

by Michael Ford last modified 14 Jan, 2019 01:42 PM

New Year news from Mothers’ Union for January 2019.

A very Happy New Year to all our members and a warm welcome to the new Triennium. I hope the Christmas season has brought you much happiness and joy and just before we move into 2019, let us re-cap on those final events of 2018.

I am most grateful to all those helpers who came forward to look after our Charity Stall on Salisbury Christmas Market. This was a first time for us and of course, it had to be a really wet day too! Nevertheless, £75 was raised in total. Not a huge amount I grant you, but - more importantly - our Stall provided a Christian presence on the market. And I think it is fair to say that those who came to help enjoyed a bit of fun as well.

MU Christmas Market Stall [Dec 2018]

For our members at West Lavington, Christmas began with present wrapping - no, not for themselves! These were Angel Tree Presents (and I believe, 18 were wrapped on the day). The gifts were destined for the children of prisoners in HMP Erlestoke. We had a wonderful gathering in the Community Centre and after all that hard work, we concluded our day with a celebration of Communion and tea. 

A similar wrapping day for Angel Tree had taken place the previous week in Sturminster Newton led by Brenda Birt and her team. Those presents, this time about 25 in all, were for the children of prisoners at HMP Guy’s Marsh. The Angel Tree project takes place every Christmas and we work in close partnership with Prison Fellowship. A big thank you to all those who took part in the planning, purchasing and wrapping of the gifts.

Present wrapping at West Lavington [Dec 2018]

Once again I had the privilege of attending the HMP Guy’s Marsh Carol Service. There I met with representatives of the Friends of Guy’s Marsh and Prison Fellowship. It is always such a joy to sing with the staff and prisoners at this wonderful Service. That well known carol, ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night’ was presented by the prisoners this year in the form of a little play. The story of the shepherds was very well acted out – if with a little tongue in cheek!

This year, the Heytesbury Deanery Carol Service was held in the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Mere. It was a particularly special occasion as the members of Mere MU Branch were celebrating their 100th Anniversary. The beautiful Carol Service was followed by a delicious lunch celebration which brought together friends and supporters of many church communities from all over Wiltshire and Dorset. Congratulations to Mere MU - keep up the good work!

Mere MU cake [Dec 2018]Mere MU gathering [Dec 2018]

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without going along to the Women’s Refuge Crib Service. It is a real privilege for me to be invited to this beautiful occasion. Revd Penny Joyce led the proceedings with readings and prayers. All the children took part in acting out the Christmas story and everyone joined in singing the Christmas Carols. Thank you so much for a really lovely afternoon and the cakes were so delicious!

As a thank you to our members who give so much of their time to help us in the Office and the Diocese throughout the year - we enjoyed a festive Christmas lunch at Sarum College.

Christmas lunch at Sarum College [Dec 2018]

But of course, with so much joy around it is very easy to overlook the sadness which is never very far away in our lives. During December, we said farewell to two much loved and amazing ladies, Enid Barton RIP and Betty Rogers RIP. The families of Enid and Betty gathered together for the funerals of their loved ones just before Christmas. Both women had been devoted members of Mothers’ Union for most of their lives and will be greatly missed by so many. Please pray for Enid and Betty’s families.

May the Christ Child who, once again, has brought light and love into the world, bring consolation, peace and hope to us all throughout the coming year.

Love,

Rosie Stiven

 

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