Over 30 members from around Scotland (plus one or two who joined us at the hotel)
enjoyed a few days in Weston-super-Mare and Bath during the week of the General Meeting,
held at the The Forum in Bath on Wednesday 12th June 2013.
The trip, organised by Linda Brownlie, Provincial Sec & Diocesan President for St
Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, started early on Monday morning in Dunfermline and
picked up members along the route all the way to the border at Gretna.
The hub for our stay was the Arosfa Hotel in Weston-Super-Mare, where thanks to the
care of our driver, Maurice, we arrived in plenty of time for dinner, despite hold-ups
on the way, caused by roadworks and our own tardiness at some of the stops
Tuesday offered a range of activities either in Bath or Weston, which was a bit of
nightmare for Linda trying to make sure that everyone who intended to be on the coach
for each of the four single journeys between Weston and Bath was in fact there! The
main choices were going to Bath all day until after the General Meeting Service that
evening staying in Weston and going to the service later. You can imagine the rest.
The main service was held in the Forum. Based on the theme for the year, The Seeds
We Sow, the 3 themes of the service were Seeds that Flourish through Commitment,
Seeds that Flourish through Sacrifice and Seeds that Flourish through the Spirit.
The address was given by The Rt Revd Peter Maurice (Bishop of Taunton -above). He
said that since he was going to address the Mothers’ Union, he ought to have a look
at Families First (May/June Edition) and he read the article Hell, gay marriage and
the death of a dog by Adrian Plass. The Bishop said it had made him think. We often
are less than Christian in our attitudes to people and that we needed to let go and
let God lead us. Often our ideas are ‘us based’ rather than what God wants of us.
We need to ask ourselves ‘What would Jesus do?’
After the service we returned to Weston arriving rather late in the evening. However,
the hotel had laid on a very welcome late buffet, which most of us tucked into!
The following morning we were off early to head to Bath for the General Meeting itself,
arriving just in time for the start at 10.30. The Central Mothers’ Union report of
the day can be read here.
Here are some of our own recollections from the day.
1500 members were welcomed by the Deputy Mayor and the opening worship included a
Refection from The Rt Revd. Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading. There were Midday Prayers
before the lunch break. During the break there was the opportunity to buy souvenirs
of Bath & Wells, Cheddar Cheese, mugs, apple juice, CDs, etc.
Adrian Plass (above) gave a particularly encouraging and moving address. He said
we should use the 3 Ls, Laughter, Listening and Love and cited ways in which this
had made a difference in the lives of people, particularly those who are bereaved.
Christians are supposed to be full of joy, but joy is not an automatic response for
people who are hurting. It was perfectly normal to feel angry at God when you are
hurting. God can take it! He listed the ridiculous things people say to those who
are bereaved and how many would even cross the road to avoid speaking. He added his
own responses to the long list of things people say (e.g. I know just how you feel.
How can you, you’re not me!). He also highlighted how God can move in very mysterious
ways. In one case Adrian and his wife were praying with someone in great distress.
They were going to stay silent unless they felt God wanted them to say something.
After a long period of silence Adrian felt an urge to say something, but thought
it wasn’t appropriate. The urge just wouldn’t leave him so eventually he said it.
His wife thought he was mad! It seemed so outrageous. However, he found out later
that it was just the right thing to move the person into a different frame of mind
that started the healing process.
There are more photos of the events of the day in our photo gallery (click here).
Thursday was another day for sightseeing. We took in Stonehenge and Salisbury, returning
via Cheddar, past the fruit stalls loaded with freshly picked strawberries - no time
to stop and buy them!
Linda made a presentation to our driver at dinner on Thursday, to thank him for all
his efforts, and Doreen Esnol made a presentation to Linda on the coach as we were
leaving on Friday, to thank her for all she had done to make it a wonderful trip.
It was a wet journey home most of the way, but it eased off at Carnforth, where we
stopped at 3.30pm for a 2 course Carvery tea at the County Hotel.
We’re now looking forward to next year’s meeting. "Sowing the future together" will
be the theme for 2014. . . . . . As we think about our challenge and look to the
The General Meeting 2014 will be held in Belfast on Saturday 21st June. Linda said
she wasn’t going to organise another trip, but there were signs she might be persuaded.
Watch this space for news of developments!