Added on 26/09/2012
‘Mothers’ Union is about Christian compassion, love and courage,’ the congregation at the service to celebrate 125 years of the organisation in Ireland was told. The anniversary service took place on Sunday 23 September at 3.30pm at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Pictured right: The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne; the Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, the Right Revd Kenneth Clarke; incoming All Ireland President of Mothers’ Union, Phyllis Grothier; current All Ireland President of Mothers’ Union, Ruth Mercer; the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson; and the representative of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Edie Wynne.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Kilmore Elphin and Ardagh, the Right Reverend Kenneth Clarke, said that Mother’s Union was having an impact right around the globe.
Mothers’ Union branches from all over the island of Ireland were represented at the service of choral evensong. Having arrived from all corners of Ireland, members filled the cathedral. In his welcome the dean, the Very Reverend Dermot Dunne, pointed out that the organisation had a special place in the cathedral as the All Ireland Mothers’ Union Chapel was located in Christ Church.
Bishop Clarke said that people sometimes looked at Mothers’ Union and wondered what it was all about. He said there was sometimes a perception that it was for people in the latter stages of life. Others saw Mothers’ Union as a tea–making service, he said. Still others viewed the organisation in the past tense. However, the Bishop pointed out that there were over four million members of Mothers’ Union throughout the world. A total of 49 percent of members were in India and 48 percent were in Africa. Just two percent of members came from the British Isles and Ireland, he stated. ‘Mothers’ Union is actually making an impact in many countries and is a vital lifeline in many churches,’ he said.
In answer to the question: What is Mothers’ Union about?, Bishop Clarke said the organisation was centred on Christ. Detailing the history of the organisation’s founding by Mary Sumner, a vicar’s wife, he said she sought to have Christ at the centre of Mothers’ Union. ‘Mothers’ Union is Christian in its roots and Christian in its shoots or branches,’ he said.
He said that Mothers’ Union was also about compassion for people expressed in serving people and helping them and this love and compassion could be seen in branches throughout Ireland. But he added that there was also a ‘Holy hate’ – a hatred of injustice, greed, the over commercialisation and sexualisation of children and a hatred of seeing children missing out on childhood.
The service concluded with the dedication of the new lights in the Mothers’ Union chapel.
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