The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville
Believing, Behaving, Belonging
Had you been in Belfast International Airport or Belfast City Airport on Friday 20th June, you would have seen many Mothers’ Union members (around 1300 in total) descend on the city ready for this year’s General Meeting.
Our time together started on the Friday evening when we joined together in worship at St Anne’s Cathedral where we were joined by a number of special guests including Lord and Lady Eames, the High Sheriff of Belfast and a large number of present and retired Church of Ireland Bishops.
The service began with a procession -
The sermon was preached by the Most Revd Richard Clarke where he focused on the theme of Mercy and Truth (Psalm 85:10) which he not only related to the history of Belfast but the qualities that Mothers’ Union possesses. He praised the work of Mothers’ Union worldwide. Many members commented after the service how lovely it was to be able to have the time together in worship ahead of the meeting on the Saturday.
The next day dawned bright and sunny and it was time to head to the Titanic Quarter of Belfast where the General Meeting was being held at The Waterfront Venue. Our members were greeted with copies of the new Annual Review as they took to their seats and a loop presentation displayed snippets of the projects that we have been involved in this past year. We were delighted to have The Right Revd. Ferguson start the day with some wonderful reflections and worship.
We heard a lovely speech from our Worldwide President focusing on Believing, Behaving and Belonging and how this makes up her work within Mothers’ Union and of our organisation in general. She talked about how some of our projects are having positive effects around the world and mentioned many of her experiences from travelling to visit dioceses in the UK.
This was followed by the Provincial Presidents giving everyone a brief snapshot of what dioceses were doing in their parts of the country. We heard about amazing programmes in prisons, cookbooks being produced and fun days (to name but a few) being held to raise money but also as outreach in their communities. Margaret Pope followed with some thought provoking insight of the finances of Mothers’ Union.
Chris Bennett, Chaplain of the Titanic Quarter then took to the stage to be interviewed by Reg about the fascinating work that his church is doing in the surrounding areas – he also showed us some amazing videos about the work that they have been doing with their “honesty” Cafe. Chris’s enthusiasm was catching and having spoken to members many of them went to visit in the days after the meeting.
After lunch and an opportunity to purchase some of the wonderful souvenirs we settled in to listen to a talk on the new Wave of Prayer from Lynne and Nicola Laurence who explained all of the consultation and prayer that had gone in to the new structure and emphasised that Mothers’ Union are not telling you to cut all communications with your existing links. We look forward to the launch in January 2015.
Comedian Andy Kind then provided us with 50 minutes of comedy gold (especially the interactions with Reg) but also with some lovely thoughts on how Mothers praying for their children’s faith need to have patience and perseverance because their children will get there in the end.
Reg then finished the meeting with a quick update on Bye Buy Childhood and some audience participation. “Have Your Say” was a chance for delegates to express their thoughts on issues such as advertising aimed at children and pressure from children to watch films or play video games that are meant for older children. It was interesting to see the various responses and the entire room filled with green and red card being waved in the air. We rounded up the day with some beautiful singing and prayers led by Reg.
After many months of preparation from Head Office and the wonderful team from Ireland plus the support and generosity of Visit Belfast, the General Meeting 2014 was deemed to be a real success. It was the perfect time for members to come together to partake in fellowship and exchange their experiences of the past year whilst sharing in the bigger picture of the work of our wonderful charity. Next year’s meeting will be held in Nottingham, we look forward to welcoming you there!
Summer Edition 2014