Our very own Diocesan Mother’s Union President!
Below is a report from Mrs. Kathryn Anderson, All Saints church member and new Diocesan member of the mothers union.
I am privileged to be the new Diocesan President in Chichester Diocese for Mothers’ Union, especially in this special 140th year and the year of our Queen’s 90th birthday. I would like to tell you about my journey here. I became a member of Mothers’ Union in July 1996 in the Guildford Diocese. We lived in Dorking and as a young working Mum I enjoyed the occasional evening meeting when we discussed current Mothers’ Union Campaigns. In 2009 Andy and I had the opportunity to move to Eastbourne. Daphne , one of the local Trustees, took me out for coffee to talk to me about where I could become a Branch member and I was later introduced to Janet at St Mary’s Church, Old Town. Daphne told me about the Eastbourne Family Contact Centre and I became a Volunteer in September 2010. Just a year later I was appointed as the Coordinator. In January 2013 I took over from Janet Webber as Branch Leader until December 2015.
What a wonderful day it was on April 2nd 2016! Our Mothers’ Union Diocesan Festival Service and Commissioning of Officers for 2016-9 at Chichester Cathedral at 2.30pm. First we enjoyed a Ploughmans lunch at noon, prepared by Chris, the former Diocesan President, and her helpers from Rye, hosted by St Paul’s Church, near the Cathedral. Thank you to Heather and Mothers’ Union members of St Paul’s for their hospitality on a lovely sunny day. At the Cathedral around 300 Mothers’ Union members and guests were gathered from across East and West Sussex for my Commissioning as the new Diocesan President and that of the Trustees, Diocesan Chaplain, Diocesan Secretary and Diocesan Treasurer – my husband, Andy!
I was thrilled to be supported by all the members and my family – son George, daughter Elizabeth, my Mum and Mother-in-law – Vicar Robert and his wife Marian from All Saints’ Eastbourne, Father Tom and his wife Fiona from my home Branch of St Mary’s, Old Town, Eastbourne, Provincial President Nikki, Diocesan President Elizabeth from Portsmouth Diocese, Former Diocesan Presidents of Chichester Chris, Mary and Margaret, Director of Family Support Work Martin, Church Army Officer Graham, Union of Catholic Mothers Joan and Janet, friends Janice and Linda from All Saints’ and my former prayer partner and Mothers’ Union member Jane, from Dorking and both HM Lord-Lieutenants of East and West Sussex and Vice Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex!
Grateful thanks are due to Retired Bishop Nicholas, formerly of Blackburn, who presided and preached, accompanied by his wife Christine.
A 30 strong Mothers’ Union choir sang four worship songs beautifully during the Eucharist. I read the first lesson from Acts 4 v 13 to 21 from the pulpit. Thank you to Head Verger Howard and his team and other Cathedral Staff for overseeing the whole Service.
Thank you to all of those who prayed for us and thanks to you for all your loving best wishes. I was very moved by the whole occasion!
The Mothers’ Union is an international Christian Charity, affiliated to the Church of England, whose aims and objectives are all concerned with encouraging marriage and family life and supporting families in adversity.
There are 4 million members in over 80 countries across the world. In our Diocese of Chichester which stretches from Chichester to Rye and inland as far as East Grinstead, nearly 1500 members in 64 Branches,help with parenting courses, staff play areas in prisons, lend a listening ear and provide cake in four local hospitals for parents with sick babies, give supported holidays in a caravan in Selsey and a caravan in Winchelsea, provide cook books for new students, along with many varied and smaller projects. The members work very hard to raise money to support the Family Contact Centre, too.
All of this is to show the love of Christ by working in a practical way to help those in need. This goal is reached by regular prayer sessions and many practical and enjoyable events such as coffee mornings, lunches and cream teas which publicise the needs and provide valuable financial resources.
The name Mothers’ Union is historic as the organisation was originally started by Mary Sumner, a Vicar’s wife and Grandma aged 68, 140 years ago, to support mothers and their children but nowadays members do not have to be mothers, married or even female as anyone who shares the ideals is welcome to join. The national website www.themothersunion.org or the more specific one for our diocese, www.chichestermu.org will provide much more information.
Mrs Kathryn Anderson – Diocesan President