’21 in 21’ – Mothers’ Union All Ireland President’s Mid Connor Walk

A Reflection by Geraldine, VP Fundraising & Communication

‘The continual flow that gives life to a river is reminiscent of the changes of life can bring.  The world around us is always changing, yet that which is left behind whispers true tales of dynamic history that surrounds us everywhere we go’

The above description of the flow of a river was shared with the twelve walkers by Diocesan Secretary, Irene, during the third ‘21 in 21’ Connor walk.  This short reflection contains some of my thoughts on that lovely day and inspired by those words.

Thinking of the ‘changes of life can bring’ Mothers’ Union has had to change due to Covid-19.  Quoting from the hymns Diocesan President Sally used in her welcome, we are now able to take ‘One more step along the world I (we) go from the old things to the new keep me (us) travelling along with you’ and because MU has a dynamic history we will soon be again ‘Marching in the light of God’.

As we gathered to start the walk at St. Jude’s, Muckamore, car park I was delighted to see familiar faces without having to use Zoom and it struck me of the great support our clergy and MU members give to each other.  Bishop George and Archdeacon Stephen were there to do the walk and the rector the Rev. John McClure and Dean John Bond were among those who came to give encouragement.  It was a joy to chat with Paddy who has been such an important part of Connor and All Ireland’s recent history and the day was possible because of the meticulous planning by Irene.  The main reason we were all there was from an idea of All Ireland President, June, to raise money for Mums in May by walking 21kms in each of the dioceses in Ireland during 2021.  For this last walk-in Connor, I thought Sally had chosen well with the hymns as June ‘had travelled the bad and good, keep me travelling the way I should. Where I see no way to go you’ll be telling me the way I know’.

Starting off on our journey we soon entered the leafy shade of the Shakey Bridge River Walk and the world suddenly changed as the noise from the road traffic ceased and the only sound was the flow of the river.  Along the way, we stopped as Irene gave us a brief history of a particular point of interest and as we started off again the group naturally changed places and it was lovely to have the opportunity to chat with those I did not know so well. The walk took us to the Mill Race Trail and after many turns and road crossings we came to the Lough Shore and for a short time, we enjoyed the expanse of Lough Neagh.

Again quoting from the hymn ‘Round the corners of the world I turn. More and more of the world I learn.  All the new things that I see you’ll be looking along with me.’

The homeward stretch was the pleasant walk along the Six Mile Water into the Antrim Castle Gardens and with more turns, we arrived to a warm welcome at All Saints’ Church in the heart of Antrim town.

There is nothing like a good cup of MU tea and suitably physically refreshed we were spiritually refreshed by the short service led by Archdeacon Stephen.  All Saints’ Church has been described as the best Elizabethan Gothic architecture in Ireland so in the beautiful surroundings with Archdeacon Stephen’s thoughtful and appropriate words and prayers we were further blessed by Bishop George’s message.  He began by explaining that a “pilgrimage is a devotional practice consisting of a prolonged journey often undertaken on foot towards a specific destination of significance” and described the walk as a “mini-pilgrimage” where June’s long journey would benefit many people at home and abroad.

The final hymn ‘Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord, in God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice’ reflected the rejoicing hearts of those who had completed this mini-pilgrimage.

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