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Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The Fallen and the Transformed

by Michael Ford last modified 20 Nov, 2018 04:18 PM

Autumn News from Mothers’ Union for November 2018, courtesy Diocesan President Rosie Stiven.

I don’t know about you, but Autumn is my favourite time of year. I spent a few hours this morning sweeping up the fallen leaves, enjoying the colours, the earthy smells and the beautiful birdsong which accompanied the task. Yes, the Robin was there too – just to keep me company of course. I find sweeping leaves incredibly therapeutic both physically and mentally (although I now have a lovely blister on my thumb)!

Seeing those fallen leaves, I reflected upon the last few days spent wearing a poppy and taking part in the prayers, services and gatherings, along with so many others, in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the end of WW1. Remembrance-tide is so poignant – especially this year. We pray for those who have died and we acknowledge and give thanks for their selfless service and sacrifice.

Prayer, remembrance and thanksgiving has been the focus of many of our members, especially as we think of two, very dear, wonderful and devoted ladies who have recently died;

Audrey Lovett RIP
Anne Folland RIP

How fitting it was to join the Prayer and Fellowship Group of St Francis for their morning of Prayer and Eucharist, remembering their much loved, devoted and long serving member, Audrey. And in the afternoon of that same day, to join family, friends and members of Harnham Branch in the Cathedral for a Requiem Mass for Anne, a member with over 60 years’ service. So many prayers offered for them; so much selfless service acknowledged.

As we say our farewells to Audrey and to Anne, their batons are passed on to our current members to continue in the work already begun. And in continuing that work, we will continue to grow in what we are able to do and in the new lives we are able to touch.
The green shoots are already beginning to show at St Francis’.

As members said their farewells to Audrey, they also welcomed three members to their Group. Gillian Leake was enrolled as a new member of Mothers’ Union and Carrie Walsh and Pat Pierson, who are already members, have come to live in Salisbury.

St Francis Prayer and Fellowship Group 14 Nov 2018

With growth comes our continuing hope to transform lives. In my previous article, you will have read about our very successful holiday this year, in Sidmouth. Ian and Wilma Bromilow gave an inspiring talk about the holiday to our members at Autumn Council last month. From the photographs, we could all see the families begin to bloom and flourish during the week in Sidmouth.

Also at Council, Bishop Rob and Sue Martin joined us to tell us about their time in Marsabit, Kenya and how lives have been transformed through education in that part of east Africa.

The other day, a team of enthusiastic volunteers spent a very enjoyable time down at our holiday home at Rockley Park, Poole. No, we weren’t there to make sandcastles – our task was to clean and close down the holiday home for the winter. Of course, the enticement for all this work was a delicious shared lunch in ‘Tides Members’ Club’ at the Park. As you can see from the photos, hard work can have its fun moments!

Rockley Park Team cleaning and shared lunch 1 [Nov 2018]Rockley Park Team cleaning and shared lunch 2 [Nov 2018]
Rockley Park Team cleaning and shared lunch 3 [Nov 2018]Rockley Park Team cleaning and shared lunch 4 [Nov 2018]

The holiday home continues to be a wonderful resource for so many families who just wouldn’t be able to enjoy the relaxation and refreshment of the seaside without it. Just take a moment to read ‘a thank you note’ written in our Visitors’ Book, by one of our guests this summer –

‘Thank you doesn’t seem enough for the blessings you have given us. Despite… being ill and in hospital we were able to stay and be with him in the comfortable surroundings, fed, watered and with God’s will, be healed. What more can we say, when we are so blessed. Words aren’t enough. Thank you. God bless the Mothers’ Union’.

A huge THANK YOU to Sheila Soper and the many teams of ladies who come to clean the holiday home throughout the summer – you’re doing amazing and really valuable work which is greatly needed and much appreciated by our visitors.

And in case you had forgotten, here is a reminder of some very important dates coming up:

27 November
Service of Holy Communion at 12 noon in the Cathedral

29 November
MU Charity Stall at Salisbury Christmas Market – a wonderful opportunity to promote the work of Mothers’ Union – please come and say hello

4 December
16 Days of Activism Campaign Against Gender Based Violence – Service in Salisbury Cathedral at 12 noon – please bring your donations for the Salisbury Women’s Refuge to the Service.

With love and prayers to you all,



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