St. Macartin’s Cathedral recently hosted a special guest when the Mothers’ Union (MU) Worldwide President, Sheran Harper, addressed parishioners during a recent service.

The service held on Sunday, November 6 marked the visit of Mrs. Harper, and the All-Ireland President, June Butler, to the Clogher diocese. 

The service included the Commissioning of Heather Ellis as Clogher Diocesan President, and of Debbie Davidson as Armagh Diocesan President.

Mrs. Harper was born in the UK and grew up in Guyana. She has been a member of Mothers’ Union since 1987, and from 2001 devoted herself to serving Mothers’ Union at parish, diocesan, provincial and worldwide levels.

Her address focused on transformation and some of her work abroad with the Mothers’ Union. She said: “At the Lambeth Conference earlier this year, we saw the great need for transformation in God’s church for God’s world. The Mothers’ Union global theme for this triennium is ‘Transformation’.

“I am sure we all agree that there is need for transformation in a changing world, a world torn apart by conflict, a hurting world where the challenges of climate, poverty, and injustice are overwhelming, and in all this, we have been tasked with the great responsibility as Christians to ensure the love of Jesus Christ reaches the corners of the earth, and the transformation generated by amazing acts of love and kindness are experienced by all.”

Speaking following the event, Mrs. Ellis, MU Clogher Diocese President, said: “It was a wonderful event.”

When asked by this newspaper if it was unusual for a Worldwide President to install a Diocesan President, Mrs. Ellis said: “It would indeed be unusual – we are the first Diocesan Presidents she has installed since Covid-19.” 

Speaking about what she is looking forward to, Mrs. Ellis said: “It is a three-year term, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting younger people into MU, and getting people to think about MU in a different way.

“I want to build relationships with other organisations and charities, whether they are in or out of the parish, because nowadays, we can’t really stand alone.

“We have 644 members in the diocese across 34 branches; we are also cross-Border, which is a unique challenge [engaging with different agencies].”

Speaking about some of the MU’s work that goes on outside the parish, Mrs. Ellis said: “I think in the past it has been difficult to get the message out about what we do on a worldwide basis.

“We work a lot with literacy projects worldwide; we have been active on speaking out on modern slavery and human trafficking, especially now around this time with the FIFA World Cup. We also work in prisons across Ireland.”

Other issues that the MU have worked on recently include the ongoing cost of living crisis, a ‘Menopause Matters’ campaign, and the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

The Clogher Diocese MU will host a cross-community walk on November 26 at Colebrooke Estate as they launch a ‘Come Together to End Domestic Abuse’ initiative.