Faith and Policy Unit
Role of the Faith & Policy Unit:
- To support members in their faith as it applies to the Mothers’ Union’s vision
- To research and campaign on faith and policy issues relevant to the vision and aim of Mothers’ Union
- To enable members to be active in areas of faith and policy
- To network and liaise with external organisations nationally and internationally on faith and policy issues
The 2017 theme is Faith in Action.
A homily from Penny Snowden, Unit Coordinator delivered at the Vale Of Glamorgan Deanery Festival
Why are we here? You’ll be relieved to know this is not a question that you need to put up your hands to answer. As many of you will know if you ask any questions in a primary school that are meant to be rhetorical you get a sea of hands and an extreme range of very unusual answers. Entertaining but perhaps not helpful. It’s a lesson you learn very quickly!
Neither is the question why are we here meant to be a deep philosophical examination of the purpose of life you’ll be pleased to learn.
But, why are we here? Well, we are here to celebrate. We are celebrating the life, fellowship and of course the work of the MU in our deanery of the Vale of Glamorgan. We are also here to celebrate the Eucharist and our faith together. Our badge sums up what we stand for – the cross and an image of the world. It does what it says on the tin.
Sadly, our numbers here are dwindling and we now have three branches when not so long ago we had seven and we must recognise that we may soon be an endangered species. We hold so many memories of past festivals and the characters who inhabited them. But we won’t be downhearted.
So, let’s think about the important question what are we the MU for? Well this year the theme has been Faith in A
tion. We can see our faith in action here tonight – we show this each time we meet. We may be small in number but we are responsible for great things. Every time we pay our subs, buy a raffle ticket, make a cake meet and pray together amazing things happen and they happen worldwide.
Our prayer upholds millions of members around the world. They are uplifted and energised by that prayer. Our financial contribution is spent in important and diverse ways – to give a struggling family a holiday in our diocesan caravan, to support prison visits by entertaining the children, to buy hens for women to start up a business and gain independence, and to fund literacy initiatives so that women aren’t cheated when they go to market. The list is endless. And remember importantly because we have MU workers on the ground across the world we know that the money reaches the places where the need is.
Why are we here? Well we are part of a global Christian charity – membership 4 million strong, providing a support network for families since 1876. We campaign for policies which strengthen family life, focus on ending gender based violence, and gender inequality. We lobby against the commercialisation of childhood. Phew! We are working as ambassadors for Christ and our goal is to see all people enjoy loving, respectful and flourishing relationships.
Now that’s truly amazing.
So, the quite small things we do together can amount to truly big results. We are divided into branches and some of them are quite small in relation to the MU mighty oak but we are all important – the smallest branches grow leaves and without branches the tree will wither.
But hang on you might be thinking as we celebrate tonight where do I fit in? Well each one of you does fit in. Even the smallest pebble dropped into the lake will cause a ripple at the edge.
I have taken on the role of unit coordinator for the Diocesan Faith and Policy Unit a rather long title and I have a badge to prove it! So, let’s think about our faith – it’s in my job description! But also, yours obviously. Last year we celebrated our faith in our anniversary year and we have been praying around the diocese to celebrate our faith and our geographical spread. So far, we’ve been to Porthcawl, Aberdare, Ystradyfodwg and will be going to Neath in November. We don’t get large numbers but the idea is to focus our prayer and have a time of reflection in an area near each of our branches. It’s like a reaching out of our hands. We also do this also in our wave of prayer and in our quiet day in the in Cathedral, in our Archdeaconry Eucharist in the Cathedral, in our Advent Carol Service and in our branch meetings. All expressions of our faith in a God who loves and cares for us all.
So why are you here? for some of us our membership of the MU can be traced back in our families through our mothers and grandmothers and when you look back to our origins and to the world Mary Sumner inhabited and forward to the world now we see what huge changes have occurred and this is true even in our lifetime.
Our object and aims remain the same but what is family now? How do we define family and how can we change and adapt to be relevant to that model? Just one example is our parenting workshops. I leave you with that big question to ponder.
But as well as all these big initiatives and projects and policies, alongside it all and perhaps the centre heart wood of the oak tree is what drives us as individuals. It is the heart of each one of us. It is our love for one another, our fellowship and nurturing of each other and our prayer, that Mary Sumner gave us, is to touch as many lives as possible for God whether through the words we speak, the prayers we breathe or the life we live.
LLANDAFF DIOCESE MOTHERS’ UNION PRAYER DIARY 2016
Please find a copy of the 2016-17 PRAYER DIARY here