The Mothers’ Union has embarked on ‘16 days of Activism’, a campaign against Gender-based Violence which is both global and local.
Mothers’ Union branches across the Diocese of Leeds are joining with others, globally, to raise awareness and call for an end to gender-based violence in all forms and in all societies.
The campaign started on International Day Against Violence Against Women, November 25, and continues until International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Parishes are holding prayer vigils and special services during the 16 days of activism. Among them are the Mothers’ Union Group from the Upper Holme Valley (pictured below) which met together at Holy Trinity Church Holmfirth for a service of prayer and reflection.
The Revd. Di Ellerton reminded members that abuse is often hidden. Each member was given a small stone to carry with them for the 16 Days of Activism to help remember the sense of coldness and despair that abused women and girls have to endure.
“As we touch the stone in our pockets we pray for them and for those who have damaged them,” said one member.
Other Mothers’ Union initiatives in our diocese include support for a family who experienced a murder within the family group by enabling them to have a short break away helping them to move on from their experience and find some closure. Members are supporting refuges for women and for men across the Diocese by providing personal items, clothing and food.
In the parish of St Mary's Barnsley with St Paul's, Old Town, Mothers' Union members are taking up a special collection to be given to the Women’s Refuge in Barnsley. The Mothers' Union in Barnsley regularly makes monthly donations of food and other essential items, which are given to the women’s refuge, to help women and their families who are victims of domestic abuse in the area. To help raise awareness of gender-based violence, sermons based on the subject will also be given at St Mary’s by the Rector of Central Barnsley, the Rev Canon Stephen Race.
The Mothers’ Union Diocese of Leeds has a Campaigns Officer who attended a recent conference about Awareness of Modern Slavery.
Meanwhile, a Mother’s Union celebration Eucharist is taking place at Wakefield Cathedral on December 6 at 1.30pm to mark the first triennium as a new Diocesan MU. The speaker will be Jane Poggo who works across the Anglican Communion especially with women on Peace and Reconciliation.
In the New Year, a Commissioning service will be held at Ripon Cathedral, Saturday 19 January at 2pm. Trustees and President for 2019-21 will be commissioned, Bishop Nick will lead and Bishop Helen-Anne Hartley, the Area Bishop of Ripon, will preach. During the service, Bishop Helen-Anne will be enrolled as a member of Mothers’ Union.
The Diocesan Mothers’ Union is also launching a Books for Schools initiative. MU branches are working with primary schools in their parishes to help children who have suffered bereavement, divorce, death in the family or of a pet. A folder containing four suitable books aimed at children will be given to schools and families may borrow the books as appropriate.