Llandaff Diocese welcomes Sheran Harper, Worldwide President

We were delighted to welcome our Worldwide President Sheran Harper to our diocese on Friday 6th September. Our aim was to demonstrate to Sheran the range and diversity of our projects across the diocese and for members to have the opportunity to listen to and meet her.

HM Parc Prison Play Area
The day began with a visit to HM Parc Prison to witness the work of Mothers’ Union in supporting family life through facilitating a play area during visiting times. We are so grateful to Jodie Taylor, Vice President for organising the visit and for her dedicated work each week at the Prison. Jodie has been volunteering at the Prison for over 11 years. We were so moved by the many interventions undertaken by the Parc Supporting Families Team in their work in helping families and significant others.
During the visit our Worldwide President presented a box of 1,000 Christmas cards to the Prison, so that prisoners can send their loved one’s cards. This is a new initiative from Mary Sumner House that we were able to facilitate in time for Sheran’s visit.

Lunch with Board of Trustees and Past Diocesan Presidents
Following the visit to the prison, the Worldwide President enjoyed lunch with the Board of Trustees and Past Presidents at the Grove Golf Club, Porthcawl.

Away From It All (AFIA) Caravan, Porthcawl
Our next visit was to our Away From It All (AFIA) caravan in Trecco Bay, Porthcawl. This was planned as a site visit as we did not want to impinge of the family holidaying in the caravan that week but due to unforeseen circumstances the family was not able to take the allocated week. This allowed us to show Sheran the caravan and explain how members support the Action and Outreach unit by preparing the caravan each Saturday, with changing the beds, providing the welcome pack of food and essentials, supplying a knitted toy and wet weather bag for each child holidaying there but most of all the impressive fundraising of members so that this project can be provided.

Cymanfa Ganu at St David’s Church, Neath
The final event was a Cymanfa Ganu at St David’s Church, Neath with an exhibition of the many action and outreach projects across the diocese. The Cymanfa Ganu was developed by our Mothers’ Union Chaplain Rev Sandra Birdsall, the Rector of St David’s Rev Lynda Newman, Ian Hopkins, Conductor and Mark Ritzmann, organist. The singing of Welsh hymns and hymns to Welsh hymn tunes was spine-tingling and so moving- Cwm Rhondda, Rachie, Aberystwyth, Gwalchmai and Calon Lan to name a few. Our thanks to Ian for telling us the stories of each hymn, the composers and poets and for leading us so effectively in our singing.
During the service our Worldwide President, Sheran Harper gave an inspiring and moving address of her work in Guyana in delivering the parenting programme. She reassured us that Mothers’ Union is flourishing and making a difference in our diocese. She stated that at her commissioning Archbishop Justin Welby challenged her to make the work of Mothers’ Union known so that it is not the ‘Anglican community’s best kept secret’. She was so impressed with the work of each and every member, stating that members are Christ’s hands and feet in meeting the needs in our community. All present in St David’s were moved and inspired by her talk.
The Diocesan President, Sue Rivers, presented Sheran with a Miner’s Lamp. The Province has decided that a love spoon would be given to Sheran to commemorate her visit to Wales and that each Diocese would present a gift that reflected the uniqueness of the Diocese. We decided that a Miner’s Lamp would represent the unique heritage of the Diocese.
The collection taken at the event for the AFIA caravan raised over £650.
Following the Cymanfa Ganu, Sheran was able to view the displays of projects and initiatives from branches, deaneries and the diocese. She took photographs of each display to record the different projects she saw and was so impressed with the range and diversity of action and outreach.
A cake was made to commemorate the visit of the Worldwide President to Llandaff and was enjoyed by all. Sheran was able to meet and talk to many members over refreshments and was a lovely end to a wonderful day.
We would like to thank all who made the visit possible, HM Parc Prison, Parkdean and the AFIA team, the Rector Rev. Lynda Newman, the PCC, the Parish Administrator Helen Bennett, the Cimla branch of the Mothers’ Union for the use of St. David’s Church and for organising the refreshments, arranging the flowers and allowing the display of projects to be exhibited.