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"Make Yourselves Known"

by Michael Ford last modified 07 Mar, 2019 12:19 PM

In a colourful and packed Southwark Cathedral that contained members of our Diocesan Mothers' Union, the new Worldwide President of the MU was commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Right Revd Justin Welby.

"Make Yourselves Known"

Archbishop Justin Welby leads a round of applause after Sheran Harper is commissioned- original photo by Rosie Stiven

Commissioning Mrs Sheran Harper, Archbishop Welby told those gathered, who represented a membership of 4 million worldwide:
"In many places you will have to bear the cross of other people’s suffering. Whether it’s in Burundi, the DRC, Guyana, South Sudan, Nigeria or in towns and cities and slums, whether it is domestic violence, whether it is loneliness, whether it is spiritual emptiness, the Mothers’ Union is there bringing hope and a future. So, make yourselves known."

Congratulating Mrs Harper "for the trust the members have bestowed on you in electing you as their Worldwide President," Archbishop Welby said:
"There is only one Mothers’ Union! It is the world’s oldest and largest women’s movement. It is one of the Anglican Communion’s greatest gifts to the worldwide church."

Referring to the readings from Romans, the Archbishop spoke about the simplicity of the New Testament and how, once called by God, He "takes us by the hand and takes us on the greatest adventure that there is, the adventure of Christian discipleship. That adventure has taken Mothers’ Union from Mary Sumner in the countryside of England to a worldwide organisation on which people can depend."

Guests arrived at Southwark Cathedral yesterday to a calypso from the Nostalgia Steel Band, reflecting Sheran’s Guyanese roots.

Archbishop Welby spoke of the "powerful force" that is Mothers’ Union to the congregation of more than six hundred friends, family and Mothers’ Union members, many of whom flew in from around the globe and closer to home for the occasion.

The service was also attended by the High Commissioner of Guyana, His Excellency Fredrick Hamley Case and a representative from the High Commission of Rwanda.

"I feel overjoyed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support I have received," Mrs Smith said.

"I am so very grateful to everyone who travelled from far and wide for this special day in the history of Mothers’ Union. Thank you everyone who came and those who were unable to but were lifting me up in their prayers."

Both the Archbishop and Mrs Harper thanked outgoing Worldwide President Lynne Tembey for her all her years’ service.

The new global Trustee Board was also commissioned by the Archbishop. They are: Nikki Sweatman (South of England), Rev Libbie Crossman (Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Australia, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea), Canon Catherine Hilton (North of England), Jennifer Barton (Wales), June Butler (All Ireland), Thembsie Mchunu (Central Africa, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Southern Africa), Kathleen Snow (Canada, South America, USA, West Indies), Roshini Mendis (Korea, Myanmar, North India, South India, Sri Lanka), Paul Hindle (Scotland), Deaconess Mary Kamwati (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Jerusalem and the Middle East) and Marie-Pierrette Bezara (Burundi, Congo, Indian Ocean, Rwanda, West Africa).

Mrs Harper said:
"I especially thank Archbishop Justin for his encouraging words. We are indeed a unique and extraordinary gift from God. Mothers’ Union is at a very important point in history when our Trustee Board now reflects the truly global nature of the movement. Our recent global conversations, with emerging themes are setting the tone for the future of our work which will be even stronger in meeting the needs of the communities we serve in a life-changing way."

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