A giant cake will take pride of place in Ripon Cathedral next Tuesday (November 24th) at 1pm when a historic celebration service will mark the end of the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds Mothers’ Union – and the start of a new chapter for its 1100 members as part of the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales.
The service makes the end of a 130 year chapter for the Diocese of Ripon branch, one of the first ever diocesan branches of the Mothers’ Union, the Anglican organisation set up by Mary Sumner to support young mothers whose first Patron was Queen Victoria.
With sixty parish branches, past and present, each branch will each be contributing a section of the giant cake – with different flavours and ingredients but each the same size. Later, the cake will symbolically be cut up and each branch will take home a different section of cake to be shared with their members.
The Celebration Eucharist service will be led by Mothers’ Union Chaplain, and Leeds vicar, the Revd Fiona Harrison-Smith and the preacher will be the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd James Bell. The former Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, and his wife Mrs Barbara Packer, a former President of the Mothers’ Union will be among many returning chaplains and guests for the historic event.
The Ripon and Leeds Mothers’ Union has more than 1100 members, and the diocesan branch flag will be brought forward and laid up for the last time, as Ripon & Leeds joins with Bradford and Wakefield to form a new West Yorkshire & the Dales diocesan organisation with more than 3500 members.
The celebration will end with a procession of votive candle lights representing each of the sixty branches past and present. Every member has been invited to write a personal memory of the Mothers' Union and their hopes for the future on cards which will be presented during the service.
Mrs. Ros Dobbin, Mothers’ Union Joint President, said, “It is amazing how much Mothers' Union has done in our area to support families. I think we are well placed to move forward with renewed resources and ideas. We continue to be inspired by our vision of Christian values helping family life to flourish.”