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"There is much to celebrate!"

by Michael Ford last modified 11 Jun, 2019 05:42 PM

A special Festival Service has been held in our Cathedral celebrating the work of the MU in this Diocese and commissioning its membership to keep supporting the vulnerable who otherwise would "fall through safety nets".

Welcoming Mothers Union members to the service that commissioned Rosie Stiven as Diocesan MU President, Jacqui Clark as Diocesan MU chaplain and the Board of Trustees for the coming three years, Bishop Nicholas said:

"There is much to celebrate!

"The MU is the largest membership organisation in the diocese of Salisbury: 1300 members, 67 groups and 16 projects."

Read his sermon here

MU Diocesan President Rosie Stiven said:

"Every three years, the Mothers' Union may hold a special Festival Service in Salisbury Cathedral. The purposes of the Service are to commission and confirm the trustees and officers in their roles and responsibilities and for all members to re-affirm their commitment to the Aims and Objectives of the Mothers’ Union.

"In practice, we are all reaffirming our commitment to serve God whenever and wherever we can.

"It was a real privilege to have Bishop Nicholas preside at our Service and the presence of the Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, The Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, the Vicar of The Close, Canon Ian Woodward and our own Mothers’ Union Chaplain, Reverend Jacqui Clark. We were very fortunate to have the Mayor and Mayoress of Salisbury, Councillor John and Carrie Walsh with us, as well as our own Provincial President and her husband, Nikki and John Sweatman."

In his sermon, Bishop Nicholas acknowledged the work of the MU, both within the Diocese and also world wide:

"You are an amazing organisation. I am proud of the MU in this diocese."

Bishop Nicholas went on to say how important the work of the MU was in catching those who otherwise might "fall through safety nets":

"We feel in some ways as though family life is under pressure as never before. Almost half the children born in this country are to single parents or those who have not married.

"For those who do marry, and of course some get married after having children, the divorce rate in this country is extraordinarily high. But it’s not very helpful to say that family life if broken. For most, family life remains strong and many different models of family are emerging. Remember the ways God uses diversity and the variety of patterns of family life in the Bible. Mary and Joseph were not exactly conventional. What matters most is stable, loving, lasting relationships.

"It’s the poorest for whom life is toughest. It has always been so. 4.1 million children in the UK live in poverty as defined by government, 30% of our children. How extraordinary that in this country children are considerably more likely to live in poverty than adults. Growing up in poverty can blight children’s well-being and their future life chances. Children living in poverty are more likely to have poor physical and mental health and less likely to achieve their potential at school and in employment.

"That is why the MU is so important in providing support to people who in other ways fall through safety nets.

"The holidays are a really good example of giving to people who gain much more than a break in the days they have away together; and knitting blankets for children born in the Salisbury District Hospital; and the mother and baby project in schools; and the Court Café; and your adoption of the Clewer Initiative to tackle modern day slavery."

Rosie Stiven added:

"The Bishop’s words inspired and encouraged all members to continue their work. As an organisation, we are so much part and parcel of the Christian life of the Diocese. We embrace Renewing Hope, and we Pray and we Serve and, with God’s blessing, we will Grow.

"As we prayed for our global membership, our eyes were drawn upwards to the spectacular Earth model slowly revolving at the Spire crossing. How wonderful it was to reaffirm our commitment to God’s work in such a beautiful Cathedral. The glorious sunshine came through the Cathedral windows, highlighting the myriad colours of our embroidered banners, as we processed to the Font at the end of the Service for the final photographs.

"It is a huge privilege to be part of such a wonderful organisation in this very special Diocese. My sincere thanks to all who participated in making this Service such an uplifting and memorable occasion."

You can read Bishop Nicholas'sermon in full here.

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