CLOGHER DIOCESAN MOTHERS UNION CAROL SERVICE/title>
CLOGHER DIOCESAN MOTHERS UNION CAROL SERVICE
On Sunday 6 December a very different Mothers Union Carol Service took place
in Galloon Parish Church, Co Fermanagh. The Service was organised by the President,
Geraldine Beattie and the Trustee Body.
The Rector of Galloon, Rev R Seymour-Whiteley, welcomed the congregation,
which was composed of men, women and children. Rev Seymour-Whitely also gave
a most interesting meditation. The Lessons were read by, MU members, men and
children from different parishes. There were traditional Carols, but also quite
a different pace and setting by the Rossorry praise Group. The President, sang “O
Holy Night” while, Mr Roy Crowe from Clones sang “No Room”.
Newtownbutler Primary School sang several carols and the Service was brought
to a conclusion by Alice Stubbs singing “When a Child is born”.
The organists were Mrs May Leech and Mrs Diane Whittaker
The Chaplain, Rev Canon John Stewart conducted the prayers.
The Bishop, Rt Rev Michael Jackson read the Gospel and gave the Blessing.
During the Service we remembered, Freda Allen, who had been Diocesan Treasurer
of MU. Freda was a member of Galloon Mothers Union and sadly died last year,
after a long illness patiently borne, just before the Carol Service was to
be held. As a mark of respect the MU had postponed the service until this year.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband and children.
Supper was served by the ladies of Galloon and Drummully Mothers Union.
PRAYERS used by the Chaplain:-
As the leaders of the world meet in Copenhagen this week to make decisions
which may affect our children and grandchildren, we pray for wisdom in their
deliberations. For those who are involved in ongoing efforts to bring peace
in the world we pray for God’s guidance with them.
Look mercifully, O Lord our God, upon the world of our day, and heal the sorrows
and sufferings of humanity. Save the nations from the lust of power, from racial
hatred and jealousy, from the worship of material things; and grant that in
every land the rule of tyranny may be broken, the cause of righteousness may
triumph, and all peoples may learn to serve you in the peace and freedom of
your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
For Michael our Bishop, our clergy and all involved in ministry in our diocese.
For the worldwide mission of the church.
Lord, you have called your Church to shine as a light in the midst of a dark
and needy world: bless and strengthen it in its testimony in every land for
justice, truth and freedom. May it bring help and hope to the poor and the
powerless, to the outcast and the oppressed; may it maintain a bold and fearless
witness in the face of tyranny and wrong; and may it never be ashamed of the
gospel of Christ but point to him as Lord and Saviour of the world. In his
name we pray. AMEN
As we give thanks for our families we remember in prayer those who face adversity.
Those for whom life has lost its meaning. Those who have been bereaved. Those
who have lost their jobs and who face difficult times ahead. Those who are
sick in hospital; those in Care Homes. We pray for those who live alone; we
remember our indoor members.
“Lord of the home, your only Son
Received a mother’s tender love’
And from an earthly father won
His vision of your home above.”
Lord Jesus Christ, who by your coming to us in great humility sanctified the
life of the home: we commend to you our homes and the members of our families,
near and far. Unite us in your love, and guard us by your power from all danger
and evil. Make us thankful for all the blessings of family life; and keep us
mindful of those for whom home has no meaning, for your mercy’s sake.
As we give thanks for the work of Mothers’ Union in our diocese under
the leadership of Geralding our Diocesan President and the Trustee Body, we
pray for members of the Mother’s Union in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands;
for those in Ahoada, Offa, Sokota, and Oji River (in Nigeria), those in Gahini
(Rwanda), and those members in St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane (Scotland).
O God, our heavenly Father, we ask you to bless the work of the Mothers’ Union
throughout the world, and especially in each diocese for which we pray this
evening. Bless our members in their lives and in their homes, that they, being
strengthened in love to you and to each other, may serve you faithfully to
your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
We join together in saying the Mothers’ Union prayer.
We thank you for your love so freely given to us all. We pray for families
around the world. Bless the work of the Mothers’ Union as we seek to
share your love through the encouragement, strengthening and support of marriage
and family life. Empowered by your Spirit, may we be united in prayer and
worship, and in love and service reach out as your hands across the world.
In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Sermon given by Rev. Richard Seymour-Whitely :-
Tonight we are all gathered together to celebrate Jesus' birth.
What an extraordinary event that has changed the whole meaning of life, and
the whole future of humanity. A baby was born, conceived nine months beforehand
in a young woman, called Mary, aged fifteen, sixteen maybe.
A young woman of great faith, love and obedience towards the Lord. She was
visited by an angel who gave her news that would be impossible to believe,
but for the fact that it was happening to her. Sometimes we all have news that
is hard to believe. Hard to understand. Hard to accept or to know how to cope
- What will be required of me in these circumstances?
How will other people react?
And Mary - she would have been filled with questions and anxiety - her planned
marriage to Joseph would have to be called off - how could she tell him what
had happened. Who would believe her? To all intents and purposes, it looked
as if she had committed an offence that could have had her stoned. There is
every possibility that she would have been terrified - but for the fact that
the angel had visited her, she would have had to cling on to her faith, and
her grasp of reality. This was something that had happened to her, she had
agreed to the message from the Lord, and anyway, the evidence of a baby was
beginning to show itself.
Joseph fortunately was a good man - and as we are told, in Matthews Gospel,
the angel spoke to him in a dream telling him not to be afraid, and to take
Mary as his wife.
And so, in St John's words, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That
God should become one of us is news that is almost too good to be true. To
know that we mean so much to the Lord - as tiny, as puny as we are, he is so
good to have taken on human substance himself, to live as we live and to die
for us is wonderful.
This is news to celebrate - the whole story of salvation is really present
at his birth - that he was born to live for us, die for us, to rise for us,
and to send us his Holy Spirit as a foretaste of the future, when, as we remember
this advent season, he will come again, to bring in this new heaven and earth,
that is prophesied both in Isaiah and in Revelation: and there will be a new
earth and a new heaven, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying
or pain, for the old order of things has passed away, and he who was seated
on the throne said 'Behold, I am making everything new'.