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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Christmas 2017 issue

MU AGM, Edinburgh 2017

In February 2017 around the time of our birthdays, Wendy and I decided we should attend the Mothers’ Union General Meeting scheduled to be held in Edinburgh in late September. Some of the Portsmouth diocesan members attending chose to holiday on after the meeting, whereas ours almost had the ring of a business trip. We flew from Southampton on the Friday and returned home on Sunday and stayed overnight in a central Premier Inn to all intents and purposes close to the Conference Centre.

What was the motivation? We attended the immediate previous one held in Basingstoke and would thus be familiar with the format which is largely a listening one. For me, Edinburgh has impacted throughout my life, carries family history and large measure of nostalgia. My parents in 1919 were medical students at the University as indeed was my maternal grandfather. On my father’s side, my grandfather was a master tailor, with an apprenticeship with Stewart Christie George Street in Edinburgh and to have his own premises and team in Whitehaven. Whitehaven holds a special place in the coal mining industry, since the seams of coal extend seven miles out under the sea. My father’s elder brother was a qualified mining and land surveyor, who was gassed in WW1, never to return down the mine. He removed to Edinburgh to take an appointment with the Edinburgh City Fathers as a land surveyor. No one can surely fault me with my deep seated connections with the City compounded with visits to Murrayfield for Rugby International matches and the much appreciated Edinburgh Tattoo.

Being creatures of habit, Wendy and I, with perhaps at least 15 years experience of cathedral worship, greatly enjoyed the Festal Evensong at 17.30 attended by at least 1,000 visitors. The organ playing and the contrast in volume between, say, the Magnificat and the concluding Organ Voluntary Dupré Ave Maris Stella was thrilling. The choir with mixed boys and girls voices were superb.

Others were less enthusiastic claiming there was little congregational participation, except for hymn singing. We arrived at the cathedral by taxi around 5pm to find the nave full and only limited space in a side isle, from which we were able though to see the pulpit. The service notes explained that St Mary’s has Episcopalian roots that emerged through the turmoil of the Scottish Reformation. The sermon was preached by the Most Revd Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and a committed member of the Anglican Communion. He departed immediately after the service to catch the night sleeper and attend next day the primates meeting. As for us, when we came out of church, it was raining. We struggled to hail a taxi getting nowhere until we found a rank in the area of the Haymarket Station. It was home to dinner in our hotel.

General Meeting, Mothers’ Union 30 September 2017 commencing at 10.30 am

We were able to walk to the Conference Centre in the dry, presenting paperwork to gain admittance, quite an undertaking, since an estimated 1,400 members filed in. Wendy and I queued for one of the lifts, which we shared with the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Rt Revd John Ames to whom we were introduced, though only by chance, by the Provisional President of the Mothers’ Union in Scotland, Jean McPherson-Richardson. The Centre embraced a full range of hall management facilities with members sitting in numbered seats in tiered rows that commanded an excellent view of the platform. Morning and afternoon sessions were held framed with three acts of worship each supported with piano music.

Keynote speaker Canon Sarah Snyder, addressing the attendees of the MU General Meeting

The Worldwide President Lynne Tembey spoke about her year of travel visiting some hot spots such as South Sudan and Rwanda; she also saw work in Africa. In her view, the Worldwide MU is very much on the front line. Last year, she had made a pledge and succeeded to carry out an activity with her parish church in Marske, Yorkshire. I must say she came across as a very warm, capable person.

Lynne Tembey, MU Worldwide President

Bev Jullien, MU CEO

The Chief Executive Bev Jullien made her contribution and is too clearly very capable and on top of her game. She explained the MU aimed to raise £140,000 for our anniversary year. We actually raised 1.5 million pounds.

A new constitution is being developed which will be based on a modern framework tailored for the age in which we live. It is due to be approved in March 2018. We aim to reach out through conversation and we must ask ourselves Who do we serve? Who do we leave out? What do we do best? What is unique about us? Who can help? Our new word is MULOA

MU Listens – to God and others

Observes – needs

Acts – to help others and transforms lives

We currently pray that God will walk with us and redress the maintenance system which is unjust. The Mothers’ Union touched 100,000 people in the UK last year.

The loss of membership was reduced to 3% last year as against 6% previously. Five dioceses have grown in size and ten dioceses have remained static.

MSH (Mary Sumner House) will have a new website in the spring where it will be easier to find resources.

The Keynote Speaker was Canon Sarah Snyder, on the staff of the Archbishop of Canterbury with responsibility for Peace and Reconciliation. Some of her neighbours at Lambeth Palace were introduced and demonstrated it is very commodious. For example, 20 plus participants were on a course she was conducting. Delegates included an Israeli and a Palestinian; they talk freely and were amazed how nice each is. She explained she is an MU member as indeed other members of her family are. MU excels in offering hospitality and she said it is one of the most powerful tools for reconciliation but not just to friends but please to others from outside our comfort zone. She wants to promote the concept for members to become ambassadors of reconciliation in their families, communities and beyond as a voice for women around the world. MU is a movement on the ground in 83 countries. Some serve in risky places often referred to as “the front line”.

The day ended with a service and an announcement that the next General Meeting will be held in Swansea, Wales on 17 and 18 September 2018.

Andrew Clark