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Monday, 21 November 2016

Latest News from Mothers’ Union

by Michael Ford last modified 21 Nov, 2016 04:25 PM

By Diocesan President Rosie Stiven

Isn’t Autumn such a wonderful time? The colours of nature have been just magnificent this year. I think it must be the weather because over the last two months, our members have been so busy it takes me all my time to keep up! You have already seen the photos and read about Wilton Branch celebrating 50th Anniversaries of 3 members on 14 September at St Peter’s, Fugglestone and the Evening Branch of West Moors celebrating their 40th Anniversary on 18 September. What I also want to tell you about is the fantastic 140th Celebratory Service which took place in Winchester Cathedral on 22 September.

This was a national celebration and as so many of our members wanted to attend, two Services were held on the same day. The Right Reverend Nigel Stock, Bishop of Lambeth, presided at the morning Eucharist and The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, presided at the afternoon Eucharist. Our Patron, HM The Queen, was represented by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mr Nigel Atkinson. The Mary Sumner Choir, who had come all the way from Zambia, enhanced our worship with some of the most uplifting singing I have heard in a very long time and our World Wide President, Lynne Tembey, read the Gospel.

This was an amazing occasion – so full of celebration and love. Her Majesty, The Queen, sent a special message to us all:

‘I send my sincere thanks to all those who have contributed to Mothers’ Union over the years and I send my best wishes, for the continuing success of a charity that has given hope and strength to so many.’

One of our members, Beatrice Smith of Wareham, was so inspired by the day that she wrote the following poem:

‘Winchester Cathedral awaited; bathed in golden light, Mothers’ Union members gathering for a day of sheer delight.

Entertained, as we waited by ribbons and by dance, the music and the rhythm set to entrance.
Inside awaited the wonderful Zambian choir - voices in such harmony filled by the Spirit’s fire.

Banners and clergy processing up the aisle, to begin our Service, in reverence and style.

Prayers and hymns then Neil stopped us in our tracks. Opening his heart, showing past cracks – before a MU holiday brought Christ to light – now telling others how the Christian path is right.

The Archbishop took us back to our roots, showing how 140 years had produced so many shoots-

Spreading worldwide, lovingly helping families grow, giving God the glory as Samuel to Israel did show.

More Zambian singing praises to our Lord – remembrance at His table; all of one accord.

Drawing ever closer to the mystery of our faith, bringing the Spirit closer – real not a wraith.

Voices once more singing of the greatness of our God, leaving with the challenge to walk the path He trod’.

Thank you Beatrice, for your lovely poem which beautifully captures the spirit of that very special day.

Our AGM for all members took place the following day in Basingstoke. We were all delighted to watch the Saltmine Theatre Company perform the premiere of a short play about Mary Sumner’s life. It is planned to make a DVD of this play which will be available to all dioceses.

At the beginning of October, we held a special day for our Volunteers to thank them for all their work and support. The day was brilliantly masterminded by Joanne Triffitt, our Community Development Coordinator, and involved talks and workshops as well as a pantomime afternoon! All great fun and we were delighted to have Bishop Edward Condry join us briefly in order for us to thank him for his support of the day. 

Our Treasurer, Suzanne Waters, has been very busy organising two Treasurer Training Days in the Diocese. I am most grateful to her for setting this up as our Treasurers do fantastic work. It is important that they are given the opportunity for not only training but also for a good get together as well!

Our Autumn Council was held in St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Wilton, my home church. This was a golden opportunity to welcome our Provincial President, Nikki Sweatman, and her husband, John, who have moved into the Diocese recently. Nikki provided us with a most interesting update of Mothers’ Union matters both in this country and overseas. Thank you for coming and speaking to us, Nikki, and we hope that you will both be very happy in Salisbury Diocese.

Before I close, I want to draw your attention to a very special Eucharist Service which is taking place in the Trinity Chapel of Salisbury Cathedral at 12 noon on Tuesday 29 November 2016. The Service is part of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign Against Gender Based Violence, a campaign that has been strongly supported by Mothers’ Union for many years. The Service will bring our members, their families and friends together in order to pray for an end to this dreadful violence. As members of Mothers’ Union we wish to demonstrate our solidarity with all who suffer in this way.


Rosie Stiven


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