Hilary Moran, immediate past Provincial President, gives her impressions of the events
around the General Meeting held in Edinburgh on Saturday 30th September 2017.
The evening before the meeting, members and friends worshipped as a capacity crowd
in St Mary’s Cathedral and a substantial overflow congregation in St. John’s church.
I was privileged to have been asked to read one of the readings at St. John’s, as
I’m the Past Provincial President. This wasn’t as easy as expected as I had Revelations
5 v 1-14 to read, just check it out!
Bishop Gregor had been invited to present the sermon. It is a beautiful church on
the corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road and with a full choir we really lifted
off the roof at our choral evensong.
The General Meeting was held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre a beautiful
contemporary space, big enough for the 900 delegates.
I had been asked to bring my shoe exhibition which highlights domestic abuse, so
all 70 shoes we set up first thing available to view before the meeting started at
lunch time and afterwards.
You can read more about the shoe exhibition and reaction to it on the Scottish Interfaith
Group on Domestic Abuse website. Click this link to go there.
The welcome address and opening worship, was led by the Bishop John, of Edinburgh.
He didn’t want us to label people, which so easily happens as soon as we start to
apply negative labels to others, a little bit of poison seeps into our souls.
Lynne Tenby, our World-Wide President, gave a presentation, introducing - Mothers’
Union Listens to others and Observes need and Acts to help others [MULOA]. Lynne
shared her visits over the past year to the ‘front line’ from Sri Lanka to Truro,
Ireland, Leeds, Hull, United States, Australia, and Tasmania.
Beverley Jullien, CEO, gave her presentation about the way forward through MULOA
challenging domestic violence, embracing differences in relationships, building community
cohesion, responding to crisis, helping refugees from conflict and connecting Church
with the community and examples of each from around the Country.
The keynote speaker, who spoke before and after lunch, was Canon Sarah Snyder, the
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor for Reconciliation who was also an MU member.
The first part was about the Biblical call to Reconciliation focusing on Abraham
and Sarah. We are Christ’s Ambassadors to show love to our difficult neighbours -
we should see them through God’s eyes. Questions to consider: What are we already
doing in our Community? What else would we like to see MU doing in our community,
across the UK and Ireland and Internationally?
The long lunch break gave opportunities to look around the Community Hub with examples
of MU members working hard to encourage peace and support reconciliation in different
ways, as well as opportunities to purchase mementoes.
Part two of Sarah Snyder’s talk began with being able to love ourselves and how as
God’s heirs and ambassadors we are called to speak out against injustice. We were
challenged with three difficult questions:
Who are the difficult people to love in your community?
Who lives on the margins rather than the centre of your attention?
If they were in the room what might they say are the greatest obstacles to loving
Bev brought the afternoon to a close with ‘Our Commitment’ - Mothers’ Union call
to action with next year’s theme ‘in Mary Sumner’s footsteps’ to shape the future
of MU. Lynne added that we should be inspired, encouraged, and motivated to put our
faith in action, challenging injustice, and changing lives forever, walking in Mary
After thanks from Jean McPherson Richardson, Provincial President Scotland, Bishop
Andrew our central Chaplain concluded the afternoon with worship and spoke about
our call to be Ambassadors and by coming to the foot of the cross every day, knowing
we are deeply loved and forgiven and it will transform us, relationships, and MU.