First Worldwide President from outside the British Isles
Sheran Harper was elected by members from around the world
In a colourful and packed Southwark Cathedral last night, Mrs Sheran Harper, was commissioned to her office as Worldwide President of Mothers’ Union, a movement of four million members worldwide, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Right Revd Justin Welby.
“There is only one Mothers’ Union! It is the world’s oldest and largest women’s movement. It is one of the Anglican Communion’s greatest gifts to the worldwide church,” Archbishop Welby said.
Guests arrived at Southwark Cathedral yesterday to the sounds of Calypso from Nostalgia Steel Band, reflecting Sheran’s Guyanese roots.
Archbishop Welby spoke of the “powerful force” that is Mothers’ Union to the congregation of more than six hundred friends, family and Mothers’ Union members, many of whom flew in from around the globe and closer to home for the occasion.
The service was also attended by the High Commissioner of Guyana, His Excellency Fredrick Hamley Case and a representative from the High Commission of Rwanda.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Guyana Right Revd Charles Davidson, the Bishop At Lambeth, Tim Thornton, The Bishop of Southwark, Bishop Christopher Chessun and Bishop Anthony Poggo also took part in the service.
“I feel overjoyed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support I have received. I am so very grateful to everyone who travelled from far and wide for this special day in the history of Mothers’ Union. Thank you everyone who came and those who were unable to but were lifting me up in their prayers,” said Sheran.
She continued, “I especially thank Archbishop Justin for his encouraging words. We are indeed a unique and extraordinary gift from God. Mothers’ Union is at a very important point in history when our Trustee Board now reflects the truly global nature of the movement. Our recent global conversations, with emerging themes are setting the tone for the future of our work which will be even stronger in meeting the needs of the communities we serve in a life-changing way.”
The new global Trustee Board was also Commissioned by the Archbishop. They are Nikki Sweatman (South of England), Rev Libbie Crossman (Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Australia, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea), Canon Catherine Hilton (North of England), Jennifer Barton (Wales), June Buter (All Ireland), Thembsie Mchunu (Central Africa, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Southern Africa, Kathleen Snow (Canada, South America, U.S.A, West Indies), Roshini Mendis (Korea, Myanmar, North India, South India, Sri Lanka), Paul Hindle (Scotland), Deaconess (Mary Kamwati (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Jerusalem and the Middle East) and Marie-Pierrette Bezara (Burundi, Congo, Indian Ocean, Rwanda, West Africa).
Referring to the readings from Romans, the Archbishop spoke about the simplicity of the New Testament and how, once called by God, He “takes us by the hand and takes us on the greatest adventure that there is, the adventure of Christian discipleship. That adventure has taken Mothers’ Union from Mary Sumner in the countryside of England to a worldwide organisation on which people can depend,” he said.
He spoke of the challenges that many Mothers’ Union members face in their work of supporting the communities in which they live and serve, “in many places you will have to bear the cross of other people’s suffering. Whether it’s in Burundi, the DRC, Guyana, South Sudan, Nigeria or in towns and cities and slums, whether it is domestic violence, whether it is loneliness, whether it is spiritual emptiness, the Mothers’ Union is there bringing hope and a future. So, make yourselves known,” he said.