Shake off the dust and put on the heavenly, Archbishop John told Swansea and Brecon Mothers’ Union at a packed diocesan festival at Brecon Cathedral.
The service saw the commissioning of the new diocesan president Sally Freedman, vice-president Ella Thomas and honorary life vice-president Rev Kay Warrington.
Rev Julie Wagstaff was also commissioned as the Mothers’ Union diocesan chaplain.
Referencing the reading from Genesis 2:7-8 Archbishop John said: “It says something very profound, something very remarkable, to us about our purpose and our nature.
“The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, so human beings are earthbound. But then breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, the love divine of which we celebrate and without which we remain creatures of the earth.
“Our other reading, Paul’s second letter to Timothy, sets us within the context of an earthly family. Paul writing to Timothy about his granny and mother. Those from who you were schooled in the faith, who took you beyond being earthbound, who took you beyond being creatures of the dust, and who gave you a glimpse of what it is to be part of the family of heaven.”
That, Archbishop John said, tells us something very important about the role of the Mothers’ Union.
“Those who are going to be invested with office this afternoon and commissioned for work among you, are effectively being given what we might call dusty, earthbound honours. They’ve been rewarded for the abilities they possess, for having certain gifts which might be useful to the Mothers’ Union in our diocese as part of the institution of our diocese.
“But that leaves it at the earthbound level, at a functional level. But we’re here to celebrate the heavenly level, the level of faith, outreach, mission, ministry and evangelism. So to those who are being incorporated into a particular role, my wish for you, my prayer for you, is that you take a bit of time to find silence from time to time, and in that silence remember that, while you may be part of an earthly organisation, your purpose is one that is essentially heavenly.
“You need to step beyond the institution and be open to the love divine, the breath of life that comes from God. I pray that will give you the strength of character, the determination and the will to see to it that the Mothers’ Union is never perceived as an earthly, earthbound organisation, but always perceived as part of the heavenly family with a heavenly message of the grace and truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Shake off the dust and put on the heavenly.”
Beryl Evans, Moira Bibby, Rachel Wells, Jeanne Hughes, Ailsa Howells and Helen Jones were commissioned as general trustees.
Four deanery leaders were also commissioned: Ruth Roberts (Afon Tawe), Jill McPherson (Greater Gower), Margaret Blake (Greater Brecon) and Alison Lawrence (Radnor/Builth).