In August Leonie Toovey and I were away for a week as delegates of our Newcastle Diocesan AMUA, attending a MULOA Conference in Auckland NZ.This was one of a number of international Mothers Union Conferences, organised by Mary Sumner House (MSH) and being held across the world this year. We were joined by representatives of Dioceses around the Pacific – from all over Australia, New Zealand, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.It was a wonderful week. As you know from reading your Families Worldwide and your Mia Mias, these conferences are part of a worldwide consultation out of which fresh directions and ministry priorities for Mothers Union will emerge.
Our Zone C Trustee Libbie Crossman ran the conference, but unfortunately our Provincial President Anne Kennedy was unable to attend due to ill health at the time.
to God, to each other, to the marginalised, to external learning, creating safe space
identifying and celebrating what we have, looking to the future
taking responsibility, feeding back honestly.
Some of the questions we had to answer:
WHO? Whose lives are we, or could we, be touching?
WHAT? What difference are we, or could we, be making?
HOW? How do we, or could we, effectively make a difference?
We worked in 'family' groups of 6 or 7, small groups of 2 or 3, or one large group of about 75. The resources we used were our own Mothers Union stories of ministry, some Bible stories or teaching ( Zerubbabel, Esther, Bartimaeus, the Body of Christ), and Mary Sumner's story.
We had to listen to these stories so intently that we could re-tell them to others, recognise the helps and hindrances within the stories, point to the many different lives being touched , and identify the differences being made from these ministries in the lives of individuals, parishes and communities. Some stories from our sisters in the Pacific Islands were truly amazing! We then had to look ahead to what else we could be doing in our own environments and cultures. We commenced each day at 8.30 am and finished at 5 pm - it was full-on and hard work!But there was time for fun, fellowship and singing – and oh! the joy of hearing those island ladies break into harmony in song! We had a concert one night – we Aussies sang "We are Australian" and "Waltzing Matilda"– not so harmoniously, as you can imagine!
Leonie and I were excited to meet Helina and Edith from Guadalcanal, a Companion Diocese with our own Newcastle Diocese, and we exchanged gifts.
Back home again in our own Dioceses, we now have work to do, so you will all be hearing more about MULOA in the weeks ahead. We have to report back to MSH in January, and there will be a follow-up conference in Brisbane early next year.
You can find out more about MULOA from Mia Mia Summer 2017 pp 5,6 ; Families Worldwide Issue 1.18 pp 4-6 and Issue 2.18 pap 4,5.
Or go to https://www.mothersunion.org/resources/2019-theme-listen-observe-act-step-with-god