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Reconnecting and rebuilding confidence – MU looks to future as new Diocesan President commissioned

Reconnecting and rebuilding confidence – MU looks to future as new Diocesan President commissioned
Canon Leonard Ruddock, newly commissioned Diocesan MU President Ada Lawson, Archbishop Michael Jackson and the Revd Dr Norman Gamble.

Mothers’ Union members from Dublin & Glendalough turned out in force on Friday evening (March 25) to celebrate and support their new Diocesan President. Ada Lawson was commissioned by Archbishop Michael Jackson at a service in her home church of St Brigid’s in Castleknock. Members joined the service both in person and online.

The congregation was welcomed by the Revd Dr Norman Gamble who is currently taking care of the parish. He noted that the preacher, Canon Aisling Shine, could not be present but her sermon would be read by Canon Leonard Ruddock, the diocesan MU chaplain.

Introducing the sermon Canon Ruddock said he hoped to do Canon Shine’s words justice. He added that Castleknock and Mulhuddart with Clonsilla was also Aisling’s home parish and she is a member of its Mothers’ Union branch who are very proud to have Ada as president.

Canon Shine said that when Ada took up the post of president in January, it looked as if Covid was on the wane and Europe was at peace. “We live in a different world even from then. A world that has forced change upon us,” she said.

She addressed the 2022 Mothers’ Union theme ‘Transformation Now’. She said that in 2020 and 2021 Mothers’ Union members had shown great resilience. Now was the time to build on that by transforming themselves personally and spiritually and to transform the communities they operate in to reflect Christ’s Kingdom while also reforming Mothers’ Union to reflect 21st century life.

She said that Ada saw the starting point of transformation being in connecting and reconnecting – individually and among branches. In Ireland, members of Mothers’ Union often saw their role as supporting those in need and the vulnerable, she stated. While this would continue, members were being encouraged to look inwards to themselves and see how they were doing.

During the pandemic members may have found themselves in the uncomfortable position of being the marginalised and the vulnerable, Canon Shine observed. “Many of us have had to admit that as we lived with a different sense of dependence and isolation, we found ourselves on the receiving end of care and concern. That’s not us as Mothers’ Union members, we want to be givers and carers. We are Marthas. Give us a job and we’ll be happy,” she said.

She said members now needed to focus on their ‘Mary’ sides to metaphorically sit at the feet of Jesus, to connect and to receive and to heal. This depended on honesty to admit personal needs and to face them. Living out faith is about connections and reconnections because it involves relationships. She warned against making reconnecting a blame game, suggesting that people should not focus on whether or not they had heard from friends during the pandemic. But she asked that people draw a line under their upset and reconnect one cup of coffee at a time.

Speaking after the service, Ada thanked everyone for coming to the service and thanked the choir for singing the anthem. She also thanked Karen Nelson, who she succeeds as Diocesan President, for her leadership over the last six years. Stepping into the role of Diocesan President, Ada said she was excited for the challenge ahead. She noted that Covid–19 is still with us as we journey through yet another variant and urged members to remember the people of Ukraine and Afghanistan as their lives have been turned upside down.

She outlined her vision for ‘Transformation Now’ saying that members should start by meeting each other and reconnecting to build hope and confidence. She encouraged members to take baby steps. For the coming three years she wants to ensure MU does a lot of communicating. She commended the use of technology in bringing branches forward.

“We all have to look at ourselves and really work at this because this is going to be a journey for the next three years. Our society is going to change completely when we have lots of people coming in… we will all have to think about what we do over the next three years,” Ada stated.  


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