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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Prayer and Worship; Love and Service

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Oct, 2018 10:11 AM

Embroidery, rockets and farewells: an update from Rosie Stiven, Diocesan President of Mothers’ Union - August and September 2018

I don’t know how many of you have visited Mary Sumner House recently but I certainly enjoyed the Open Afternoon which was held on our Founder’s Day, 9 August. The afternoon provided a golden opportunity to meet with Lynne Tembey, our retiring World Wide President, with Bishop Andrew Proud, our Central Chaplain, and many of the staff at our headquarters. I find a visit to our beautiful Chapel particularly comforting and reassuring, especially now, as we are coming to the end of the current triennium, with so many changes about to take place.

Something I had not seen before was the collection of Diocesan embroideries made for the tapestry commemorating the World Wide Council of 1998. The tapestry was on display in the Conference Room, where it covers an entire wall. I was delighted to see Salisbury, represented by the words ‘Prayer and Worship; Love and Service’.

Open Day- Full_Tapestry [Aug 2018]  Open Day- Salisbury Piece_Detail [Aug 2018]

Pictured above: the entire wall, with Salisbury detail on the right

For me, that was a very poignant and inspiring moment, particularly after the tragic events which have taken place in Salisbury this year. Prayer and Worship; Love and Service – the embroidery, made with so much care and devotion, says precisely who we are and what we do. Thank you to those members who made it – over 20 years ago now – your work continues to inspire.

Now, I know you are all looking forward to hearing about our Sidmouth holiday which took place from 18 to 25 August. Naturally, yours truly went along for a bit of fun and this year we were joined by just under 70 guests from across the Diocese. Our theme for the holiday was ‘Space’. Once again, David and Enid were our hosts at the Hotel and they guided us through our morning and evening worship, as well as providing so many of the activities – check out those water rockets!

Launch Pad [Aug 2018]  The Team [Aug 2018]

Left: launching water rockets. Right: the team of volunteers, with Rosie Stiven front left and Ian Bromilow front centre

Ian and Wilma Bromilow led our team of 13 volunteers. I am so grateful to them, as they really are an amazing couple and do so much for this holiday, which they organise down to the last teddy bear. And speaking of teddy bears – yes, they came along too and they’ve now moved on to their new homes with some very happy boys and girls.

Our members have been so generous – not only did we have donations of beautiful teddy bears but also, donations for ice creams and of course, once again, St John’s, Upper Studley, provided a gift box full of beautiful ‘Cross in your Pocket’. The families are always blown over by these Crosses – they have never seen them before and they are such lovely reminders of the holiday, for the families to take away. Thank you to each and everyone who has contributed to this holiday.

We had an amazing time checking out the donkeys, designing space ships, making sandcastles, racing snails and ‘doing crafts’ at the Sidmouth Museum – a first time visit for all of us. The Museum made us very welcome and some of their volunteers came up to the Hotel later in the week to run another craft session.

The sun shone and it was a real delight to see the families being able to relax and enjoy the comforts of the Hotel and the fun of the seaside. And yes, you guessed, The Red Arrows did their ‘fly past’ on the last evening – it was just for us, wasn’t it?

But holidays must come to an end and what a lovely way to begin the autumn season with an inspiring Sherborne Archdeaconry Eucharist at St George’s Church, Fordington led by Revd Pam Rink. Thank you for inviting me to join you at this beautiful Service which was both inspiring and affirming. To be able to join with members in worship and fellowship is a very special and vital part of what we do and for me, it is a great privilege – so thank you for that opportunity.

Archdeaconry Service, Fordington [Sep 2018]

Gathering at St George's, Fordington

On the following day, I joined the Prayer and Fellowship Group at St Francis, Salisbury, for their Eucharist Service which was followed by a Ploughman’s Lunch. Once again, I experienced the importance of worshipping together and having the support of each other as we come together in the family of Christ. I would like to thank Carole Long and her team at St Francis for giving me such a warm welcome and for inviting me to share in their worship.

Some of you took the opportunity for a few days away in Wales last month as we headed to the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea for the Mothers’ Union General Meeting. Our brothers and sisters in Wales gave us a very warm welcome and we had the pleasure of listening to The Most Reverend John Davies, Archbishop of Wales, and The Reverend Rachel Carnegie, of the Anglican Alliance, who spoke to us during the meeting.

However, the star of the show was our WWP, Lynne Tembey, as this was her final General Meeting before retiring as President. Lynne and her husband, were made to be thoroughly embarrassed by a ‘This is Your Life’ presentation from the communications team. Needless to say, all was taken in good part and at the end, Lynne received a standing ovation from an audience of circa 900 members. Lynne, thank you so much for all that you have done for our wonderful organisation over the last six years. You are an inspiration to us all and we will miss you. May your retirement be full of blessings.

General Meeting, Swansea [Sep 2018]

General Meeting at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea

Before I close, I would like to highlight two very important dates which are coming up before the end of the year.

On Thursday 29 November, we are having a charity stall at the Salisbury Christmas Market. This is a first time for us and an ideal opportunity to promote MU at a very high profile event. I am looking for volunteers to look after the stall – perhaps for just an hour or so. Please contact the Office and let Jenny know if you would like to do this.

On Tuesday 4 December at 12noon in the Cathedral we are having our annual service as part of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender Based Violence. We shall be collecting items for the Salisbury Women’s Refuge so please come and support us in this.

We are now looking forward to our Autumn Council at Durweston Village Hall on Saturday 13 October. Bishop Robert Martin and his wife, Sue, have kindly agreed to come and speak to us about their time in Marsabit, Kenya. Ian and Wilma Bromilow will be sharing their stories about the Sidmouth holiday also. So, see you in Dorset!

Here is just a reminder of some very important dates coming up –
13 October          AGM/Autumn Council at Durweston Village Hall, Durweston
23 October          Service of Holy Communion at 12 noon in the Cathedral
22 November      Trustees’ Meeting
27 November      Service of Holy Communion at 12 noon in the Cathedral
29 November      MU Charity Stall at Salisbury Christmas Market
4 December        16 Days of Activism Campaign Against Gender Based Violence
                            Service in Salisbury Cathedral at 12 noon
15 January 2019 Trustees’ Training at SP2 in Salisbury
1 June                  Mothers’ Union Festival Service in Salisbury Cathedral at 11am
                             (timing tbc)
17 to 24 August    AFIA Holiday in Sidmouth, Devon
16/17 September General Meeting in Portsmouth

I look forward to seeing you at some or all of these events!



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