What a very special day Sunday, 28th February was for me, one of those occasions in life that we always remember and treasure. When Archbishop Barry arranged for my commissioning to take place during Evensong at the Cathedral, he could not have known how delighted I would be. Traditional Evensong has very sadly been lost in many Churches today but it is definitely my favourite service. The words of the Magnificat, Nunc Dimitus, Psalms, Apostles’ Creed and prayers cannot be beaten and takes me back to Sundays growing up in the Parish of Aberdare and singing evensong every Sunday evening in the choir of St Elvan’s Church (there was a certain Diocesan Secretary in the same choir!!).
I was fortunate my family, who have always fully supported me, were able to share the occasion with me, husband Roger, children Ami-Jayne and Andrew and their partners, and our two precious little grandchildren Branwen and Iwan, who were impeccably behaved throughout the service. I really appreciated so many of you coming to the service to show your support, thank you so much I was very touched. I was particularly delighted that joining Archbishop Barry and Bishop David was Bishop Huw Jones and his wife Gwyneth they have been friends of our families from way back when Bishop Huw came as a young curate to Aberdare.
One hundred and forty years ago, Mary Sumner founded this wonderful Christian organisation, which has spread throughout the world. Family life has changed drastically in that me but what has not changed is the Mothers’ Union Christian commitment to support and work with families of all faiths or none. We can be very proud in this Diocese of all we have achieved in the past and will continue to achieve in the future with the many projects we support. As you know, our main project is the caravan at Porthcawl and I cannot thank you enough that this support continues year on year. If you have visited the caravan during our open days and read the comments in the Visitors Book, you will know the difference a week’s holiday can make to a family. There are many challenges ahead, Mary Sumner House are marking this anniversary year with a number of events and many of you will be holding events in your own branches to celebrate.
It is important that we spread the news about all we do and to let everyone know who we are and what we do. The Trustees have discussed ways of how we can achieve this and how we can celebrate this special year. As a Diocese we have two events planned both of them happen to be in October. On the 2nd October, we have someone running for Mothers’ Union in the Cardiff Half Marathon and towards the end of October we are organising a celebration concert where all the entertainment will come from the talented young people we have in our Church Schools and Parishes. Each Deanery is being asked to find at least one ‘act’, it is hoped to have a good varied programme of entertainment, so if you know of a talented young person do get in touch with your Deanery Leader. More details will be sent to Deanery Leaders shortly on how we can all support these two events.
May in our Diocese is traditionally Deanery Festival month and I have already been able to attend two. Over the years, I have had the privilege of visiting many festivals, in many churches and it always amazes me how each service differs. Unfortunately, this year I shall not be able to be at every one as some are falling on the same day but I certainly hope that over the next three years I will be able to meet many of you at the Cathedral Deanery Eucharist and get around to visiting each branch.
Let us make this anniversary year special, may we continue to make prayer central to all that we do so we can ensure this wonderful organisation continues, as Mary Sumner would have wished, supporting marriage and family life.
With my love and prayers,