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Mothers’ Union at Synod – a Transformational Presence!
This July’s Church of England General Synod will have a very special place in the history of Mothers’ Union. For the first time ever, a Mothers’ Union Worldwide President, Sheran Harper, was invited to attend as an Anglican Communion guest.
Sheran started her time at Synod with an opening address, giving her the opportunity to tell all present (and those watching online) about the transformational work of our movement. She said; ‘The opportunities to know Christ and make him known are numerous wherever we are placed, and Mothers’ Union is like the fertile soil that accepts us just the way we are. It nurtures us and helps us grow and discover the gifts and talents that we never knew existed … and even better, uses them for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.’ Sheran spoke about MU activities in Britain and Ireland, such as the ‘Ministry of cake’ in Chichester, and stories from the Stories on the Street Project (now incorporated into “Metamorphosis”) which has been piloted in Oxford and Ely, as well the moving story of healing and reconciliation facilitated by MU for 160 Anglican women leaders in South Sudan. Her speech, which was said by many members of Synod to be “inspirational”, received a standing ovation. A full transcript of the speech can be found at the end of this article.
As a Communion guest, Sheran was also able to contribute a speech in two debates, one on “Mission Shaped Church and Fresh Expressions”, and the other “Setting God’s people free”. In both, she stressed the commitment of Mothers’ Union membership to mission, and the importance of clergy nurturing and valuing lay volunteers.
Alongside our strong presence within the chamber at Synod there were also lots of opportunities for networking as members of the clergy and laity alike visited our MU stand, and on Saturday evening there was a full house for our Fringe Meeting on “Metamorphosis”. This event shared the way in which Mothers’ Union has been working with clergy and fellow congregation members in parishes to grow the confidence to reach out and spread God’s love in the wider community. As well as Sheran, Susan Baker (Provincial President elect for Canterbury Province) and Canon Mike Booker spoke of their direct positive experience in Wisbech, which included how engaging with parents in a primary school had led to an adult baptism. The level of interest from clergy in particular in finding out more was high and we look forward to engaging with those interested further.
Sheran was supported by Nikki Sweatman (Zonal Trustee and Provincial President for Canterbury Province) and Susan Baker, together with CEO Bev Jullien and three members of staff.
We would like to extend our thanks to all Synod members who made the time to come and speak with us. In the words of Susan Baker; “This truly felt like a new beginning for Mothers’ Union in Britain and Ireland”.
You can watch Sheran's speech via the Church of England's YouTube page here