OUR NEW LINKS

As you all know we now have 4 new links instead of our former 7 links – and there are still some of you who want to know why we’ve said goodbye to
Vanuatu and Temotu in Melanesia
Antsirinana and Mahajanga in Madagascar
Rejaf in Sudan
Umuahia and Niger Delta West in Nigeria.
There are several reasons for this but the main one is that there were over 100 dioceses with Mothers’ Union members who had no overseas links, and rather than stick them on to already existing links, thus making the Wave of Prayer somewhat unmanageable, they have been evenly distributed amongst all 580 dioceses worldwide! Over the years many dioceses have been split, that is why there are so many more.
And, and this is a big change, not all of these dioceses are now linked with the UK – which, in my opinion, is a big improvement. We here are no longer the important Big Mummy looking after our sisters and brothers who live mainly in the developing world, and so our relationships are all on a more equally based level. After all, the work and activities of many Mothers’ Union members in other parts of the world far exceeds our own and set us wonderful examples!
So on to our new links. And they are…..?
Pretoria in South Africa.
North Mbale in Uganda
Oke-Osun in Nigeria
Barbados in West Indies.
Have a look on the map if you’re not sure where they are. There is also some information and photographs about these links.
Communications with our new links has been somewhat mixed – I have heard nothing from North Mbale, sadly, nor from Barbados, despite emails and an Easter card, but I have some information from MSH. However I have had quite a lot from both Oke-Osun and Pretoria.
North Mbale is in Eastern Uganda where roads are almost non-existent so communications is difficult. The majority of the dense population relies on subsistence farming and there is much poverty. The Diocesan President is Mrs Esereda Masereje and there are 1,500 Mothers’ Union members in the diocese. Their aim is to provide Christian care for families with seminars on leadership skills, income generating projects, HIV/AIDS awareness and teenage pregnancies. Projects include bee keeping, dairy cattle, growing crops of bananas, coffee and passion fruit.
Barbados is a tiny island on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. Unemployment is high and many parents cannot send their children to school because they can’t afford the uniform. Under the guidance of Mrs Iris Harewood, their President, Mothers’ Union members raise funds to provide stationery and uniforms for the most needy children. They also run Parenting Programmes, raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and Gender Violence. They run breakfast programmes for school children and are planning a membership drive with activities that would interest younger women – providing care for their children so that they can attend meetings. They are promoting an ‘Adopt a child/family programme’ for orphans and families under stress.
Oke-Osun is a relatively new diocese, inaugurated in 1993, and is in the Osun State of Nigeria. It is mainly rural concentrating on farming, trading and teaching. The Diocesan President of Mothers’ Union is Mrs Chrisfianah Akinlalu and activities mainly seem to include educating members with talk on infant baptism, women’s ministry, empowerment of women and ways of improving productivity. They have, with the help of other women’s organisations, started nursery and primary schools, for which stationery and other equipment is needed. They also run clergy wives’ retreats and camps for girls and youth education. Problems in the area – and I quote – ‘relationships with in-laws’ and high unemployment. Much of this information was sent to me by Mrs Omobolade Adeagbo, the Link Secretary.
Pretoria is one of three capital cities in South Africa and the diocese consists of urban, semi-urban and rural areas. Mrs Beauty Pitso, the President, has emailed me with lots of information, as has Ms Tsholo Diale, the CDC. Mothers’ Union members strive to reach out to rural areas sharing information and leading health education talks. Funds have been raised to renovate a rural church and the Bishop has donated towards a Mothers’ Union fund to assist needy children with school requirements. Some of the problems facing them is lack of transport over quite a wide area, and a shortage of funds to sustain their projects.
If any of you have links or contacts with any of these dioceses, or know someone who does, do let me know – it’s the personal information that is so important.
A brief word about the Wave of Prayer. Our dates are from 10th -12th September and you will have copies of the service in your branch packs. Our theme is ‘United in Prayer’ and if you Google that on the Mothers’ Union website you will find all sorts of material including a full length service which you might want to do as a deanery. I have tried to give each deanery the appropriate amount of time depending on the number of branches in the deanery – with the exception of Kenn – so I hope I won’t have too many moans about times and days!
I can’t stress too much the importance of including a slot in your programmes for the talk on the theme for the year – it’s all about all of us praying for all of us! A lot of thought and time goes into the preparation of these Mothers’ Union talks so, if you still have a gap, fill it with ‘United in Prayer’.

There has been no direct news from neither Barbados, nor North Mbale –this was not surprising from the latter as the situation in North and East Uganda is very unstable due to the terrorist organisation of Boco Harem who are linked to Alquieda.  Please pray especially for Christians in this area.

More news has been promised from Oke-Osun soon.  The banner shown at the autumn council was given to us, from Birmingham Diocese, at the recent Worldwide Council.

Information about the links was displayed. This year’s theme ‘United in Prayer’ was based on our new links – hopefully every branch or deanery has already invited a speaker on the subject.