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Willesden Area Lady Day Service 2018
30 Jan 2018
Retreat 2018
30 Jan 2018
"In Mary Sumner's Footsteps"
16 Jan 2018
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence
05 Dec 2017
What happened at the General Meeting - Edinburgh 2017?
24 Oct 2017
St Nicholas Shepperton Car Booting to raise funds
12 Oct 2017
Stepney Area Dinner & Dance 18th November 2017
12 Oct 2017
How is MU helping around the world?
14 Sep 2017
Action and Outreach Day on 17th October 2017
14 Sep 2017
Stepney Area Open Meeting on 23rd September 2017
31 Aug 2017
Willesden Area Quiet Day on 7th October 2017
Liz Holmes AVP
09 Aug 2017


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What happened at the General Meeting - Edinburgh 2017?

24 Oct 2017

Edinburgh here we come!

This year 20 members from London Diocese attended the General Meeting held in Edinburgh and it was lovely that Lyn Reading from Australia was able to join us again. Our party of 6 was staying at the “Angels’ Share” hotel well situated near St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Festal Evensong of St. Michael and All Angels and the General Meeting at the International Edinburgh Conference Centre.   
 
Angels seem to be the order of the day as the first hymn was Ye Holy Angels Bright sung by a packed Cathedral of MU members and The Most Revd. Mark Strange started his homily with “If you think you are an angel you’re not.  Angels come with a message from God and are gifts from God but we may be angelic and need to be like Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Following a very inspiring service we made our way back to our hotel and enjoyed dinner with Sheila Waring who was the editor of In Touch before she moved to Cornwall and husband Simon joining us. We found out that the hotel got its name because there was originally a Whisky distillers on the sight and the vapours that were extracted from the vats as they rose in the air were called the “Angels’ Share”.
 
The next morning we made our way with 2,000 other members to the Conference Centre, a very impressive modern building. The theme of the Conference was “Peace and Reconciliation”.
 
The Bishop of Edinburgh, The Rt.Rev. John Armes, opened the meeting with Worship and spoke about how labels on goods can be removed, although sometimes with difficulty, but when people are labelled this can marginalise them causing harm.  Jesus befriended the “labelled” society of the time, unclean or sinners.  
 
Bev and Lynne updated us in their travels over the past year and it was great to hear that even though times are hard the target for the 140th Anniversary last year was 1.4m and we surpassed this by raising 1.5m and the decline of membership has slowed down from 6% to 3%.  Bev introduced the new initiative MULOA – MU Listen, Observe Acts and told us that our Mothering Sunday worship for 2018 is being compiled by the students from St. Mellitus College in conjunction with Jane Williams.
 
The keynote speaker Canon Sarah Snyder, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor on Reconciliation, called on Mothers Union members to be Ambassadors of reconciliation.  She spoke of her work around the world explaining that one of the most powerful tools for reconciliation is to show hospitality – not just to our friends, but to those outside our comfort zone'.  She gave an example of sharing coffee at gatherings and only when agreement is reached do you drink the coffee.
 
She asked us to share our exciting work in 6th forms and teacher training colleges, to go out into our communities and encourage them to join us. She challenged us to extend our wonderful hospitality and build on this strength in our families and community and also extending our reach beyond our comfort zone to be ambassadors of reconciliation.
 
MU must a voice for women around the world serving as ambassadors in risky places and as a network of women and mothers, answer Gods call, to serve as His ambassadors and His ministers of reconciliation.  It is hard to love our difficult neighbour, but we must love and pray for our enemy, including the enemy that lives within us. If we understand Gods love for us that will enable us to love our neighbour.
 
Following on from Sarah Snyder, Bev Jullien issued a “Call for Action”
“We, a global movement of 4 million members, many of whom have experienced directly the impact of conflict on the lives of women and children, and are actively involved in peace building, call for women’s voices to be heard, and their needs represented, in all areas and at all levels. Members are committed to putting their “Faith into Action”  by nurturing and supporting those in need; working within their communities for lasting and sustainable transformation be enabling people to gain the skills and resources they need to take control of their lives. Together, members touch the lives of over two thirds of a million people each year, of whom over 100,000 are in Britain and Ireland – so the 'comfort zone' is already quite wide. 
 
In Britain alone we support prisoners and their families in over 85 prisons and in other countries feed prisons who would otherwise go hungry, help reduce domestic violence and abuse, work to reduce gender-based violence,  aiding reconciliation within families visit the sick and elderly and deliver healthcare programmes.  As a movement, in response to the relative exclusion of women's voices, we are calling for them to be heard and their needs represented, in all areas and at all levels of peace building and conflict resolution”  What a challenge !!!! 
 
Members work in the heart of their communities for example in South Sudan where our work focuses on literacy, financial education, and the setting up of savings and credit groups in communities. Programmes include men and women, irrespective of religion. Nearly 17,000 men and women have become literate and numerate through this, but perhaps most importantly in such a conflict-torn environment, these practical measures have resulted in increased resilience within the communities. External evaluators have commented: 'Mothers' Union is uniquely placed because it is "under the radar"... its emphasis on family relationships makes it acceptable and potent.   Its gentleness of approach means that it can address questions which are "hard to touch" – they do not go away. They do not close their offices. Building peace and resilience within their communities is part of their ministry.'
 
In Britain, members are also addressing areas of need. They are offering holidays to disadvantaged families affected by Grenfell Tower – not immediately, but as and when families are ready, matching the type of break to the family's need.

The foundations are already very strong! Over the coming 18 months, inspired by Bible stories, members across the world will be reflecting together on those strengths and the needs in our local communities, to step up to the challenge and ensure that we can continue to be ambassadors for Christ supporting families, the marginalised and disadvantaged, whoever and wherever they are.
 
A very inspiring meeting and great to hear how Mothers’ Union is answering God’s Call in this very troubled world.  It was very apt that we should finish the meeting singing “Let there be peace on earth” and YES let it begin with us.
 
Next year we will meet in Swansea, South Wales, 17th and 18th September 2018.  Hope to see you there.

If you would like to read The Rt. Revd. Dr. John A Armes Homily or look at some of the fantastic MU community projects featured at the Community Hub or look at the programme booklet for the day which includes our worship then please click on the below link:
 
http://www.themothersunion.org/general-meeting-2017
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