CELEBRATING THE PAST AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
It was almost 120 years ago this week, that the first Bishop of Wakefield, Bishop Walsham How invited Augusta, Dowager Countess of Dartmouth to make Mothers’ Union a diocesan organisation.
And on Wednesday, around 250 past and present members of the historic Wakefield Diocesan Mothers’ Union – including five past diocesan presidents - gathered together in Wakefield Cathedral to mark this historic occasion: to commemorate the end of the old Wakefield Diocesan MU and look forward to the new West Yorkshire and the Dales Mothers’ Union.
The service at 1pm was led by the Area Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson who said: "For 120 years The Mothers Union in the Diocese of Wakefield has been at the heart of the outreach and mission of our diocese. In this service we are celebrating a great past and then looking forward to how the MU will continue its valuable work in the new diocese."
Cynthia Osborne, the last president of the historic Wakefield Diocesan Mothers’ Union said they had specifically chosen that date as it was very near the date when Mothers’ Union in Wakefield held its first Diocesan Council.
A plate issued to mark the centenary in 1995 reads: In 1894, Bishop Walsham How invited Augusta, Dowager Countess of Dartmouth, to make Mothers’ Union a Diocesan Organisation. On 7th October 1895, The First Diocesan Council was held at her home, Woodsome Hall, Huddersfield with Mrs J. S. Brierly as secretary.
Said Cynthia: “Many changes have taken place during those 120 years but none like the one which will take place on 1st January 2016. “
On that date Wakefield Diocesan Mothers’ Union will formally become part of West Yorkshire and the Dales Mothers’ Union as we join with Bradford and Ripon & Leeds.
“This is a time for celebrating these past 120 years and remembering all that has happened in that period and we are lucky to have five past diocesan presidents with us along with many past vice presidents and many, many members.
“We are looking both backwards at our past and history, and forwards to an opportunity for developing Mothers’ Union in the Episcopal Areas of Huddersfield and Wakefield and in the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales as a whole,” she said.
Pictured here are MU members running a tea and cake tent for the party in the precinct outside Wakefield Cathedral.
On each seat in the Cathedral, alongside the service booklet, was a photograph of the present Diocesan Banner which was laid up at the end of the service.
Also on the seat was a small bag of ‘Celebration’ chocolates. Owing to alterations taking place in the Cathedral there was no room to provide refreshments so the chocolates were meant as a small recompense.
Past president Monica Dodds read the lesson and the Diocesan Chaplain Geoff Garside read the Gospel.
Cynthia Osborne, and Jean Thurman and Eileen Warburton, Vice Presidents, led the prayers of thanksgiving.
Members felt sad at the end Wakefield Diocesan Mothers’ Union but also a sense of achievement at what has been accomplished over 120 years as well as excitement at what is to come in the new diocese.
The top photograph shows the following Presidents of Wakefield Diocese Mothers' Union:
Monica Dodds (2010-2012); Sheila Crosby (1998-2003); Celia McCulloch (1995-1997); Angela Byram (1989-1994); Margaret Stears (2004-2009); and current President Cynthia Osborne