Connor Mothers’ Union Festival Service – ‘an uplifting occasion’

The annual Connor Mothers’ Union Festival Service took place in Belfast Cathedral on Sunday 21st April.

The service began with a procession of colourful diocesan branch banners, with the Diocesan Banner and the Cathedral Banner – carried by Moira, Vice-President Fundraising and Communications Unit and a former Diocesan President, and Diane, Cathedral branch secretary, respectively – received by the Dean of Belfast, the Very Revd Stephen Forde.

The service included the commissioning of Cathy as Fundraising and Communications Unit Co-ordinator and a member of the Trustee Board by the Ven Dr Stephen McBride, Connor Diocesan and All-Ireland Chaplain.

Cathy also read the Old Testament lesson – Exodus 16: 4-15 – with Melanie, Young Member Contact, reading the New Testament lesson – John 4: 5-30.

The Intercessions were led by Valerie, Worldwide Contact and East Connor Area Chair, and Roslyn, North Connor Area Chair.

The theme of the service was Transformation – Now! and worship was led by the Cathedral Choir, conducted by Jack Wilson, Master of Music, accompanied by organist Stephen Hamill.

Sally, Connor Diocesan President, read the Mothers’ Union Aims and Objectives.

The special speaker was June Butler MBE, All-Ireland President, who is in the final year of her six years in office.

In her address, June applied aspects of both the New Testament reading of Jesus giving the Samaritan woman water at Jacob’s well and the Offertory Hymn, Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, to the current Mothers’ Union theme of Transformation – Now!

She pointed out that many lives were transformed by the “testimony, judgment and intellect” of the nameless woman, despised and outcast even by her own people.

June said the encounter of the woman with Jesus presented Mothers’ Union members with a model to exemplify Christ in transformative work in words and actions, even in apparently very simple ways.

In conclusion, June referred to the hymn, Guide me …, the words of which, she said, held a deep personal meaning for her. She used some short prayers based on the hymn’s three verses to illustrate further the possibility of members effecting transformation in many areas of life.  

Coincidentally Sally is also in the final year of her six years as Connor Diocesan President. Speaking after the service, she said it had been, as always, “such an uplifting occasion”, adding that it represented “the high point of the Mothers’ Union year, bringing members together in worship, thanksgiving and fellowship from across the diocese in a lovely setting”.

With grateful thanks to Revd Clifford Skillen for this report.

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