The 62nd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) takes place between March 12th and 23rd and for the second year running Mother’s Union will be sending a delegation of members and staff to attend. The theme for this year is “facing the challenge of empowering rural women and girls”. As an organisation with around 4 million members, many of whom are rural women themselves, our delegation is well placed to be able to contribute to the discussions representing our members worldwide. That is why we’re sending a delegation of members and staff who will share their experience and unique knowledge with the forum.
The issues facing rural women are many and complex. As a member from South Africa wrote “poverty… bears the face of a woman” highlighting how the burden of poverty disproportionately falls on the rural poor, especially women. Mothers’ Union have produced a statement for UNCSW based upon responses from over 250 members from around the world on the issue. Our findings proved that is that issues such as isolation are universal across countries worldwide. However is emphasised that when rural women gain skills such as literacy and numeracy there are numerous positive outcomes including reductions in domestic abuse.
The UNCSW is an important opportunity for our members to discuss these issues with representatives from their governments. One of our delegates this year, Leah Chipepa, told us how she plans “to engage with Zambia’s Minister of Guidance and Religious Affairs using the outcomes document as the basis for discussion on how Mothers’ Union can work with governments.”
Through these discussions we hope that more women and girls than ever before will be given access to infrastructure, education and be more widely represented politically.
This political participation is particularly important not only for women’s futures but also for peace in general. Studies have shown that peace agreements rarely even mention women, and even fewer have female negotiators and signatories. Despite this it has been shown that peace and reconciliation efforts that do provide for women, and involve them at the top level are far more likely to succeed. This is why we feel that it is so important that Mothers’ Union are representing at UNCSW so their voices can be heard.
Finally, although challenges exist for many rural women, rural communities can also be some of the most tight-knit, empowering and supportive and should be preserved when this is the case. The UNCSW will also discuss the problems facing all women, including those living in urban areas. Throughout the week we will share live updates on twitter – follow us @MothersUnion. You can also find out more about Mothers’ Union, our delegation and read the full statement to the UNCSW on our website:
Services were disrupted during the week of the 26th February as a consequence of adverse snowy conditions and serious transport
difficulties. The Swedes were calling the cold
weather “the Snow Cannon”, The British called it “The beast from the East”, the Dutch called it “the Siberian bear”. In Scotland it was just another day!
The Thursday morning Service and the 8am service on Sunday were cancelled due to the conditions. The 11am service went ahead as planned with over 20 hardy souls in attendance including our organist. The service from the reserved sacrament was well led by
Linda Brownlie and with the organ available a full quota of hymns was included.
[Photos: Carpark, Viewfield Ter., Gill clearing front gate]
Last month, on Saturday 17th February four of us took Alison’s car down to Birmingham and stayed there to attend her Licensing service on the next day. There was a lot of laughter on the journey down and I think, at times, Stuart maybe thought he had made a mistake travelling with three chatty women!!! However he still joined us for a meal in the evening so he was obviously a glutton for punishment and of course we went for a curry – it was Birmingham after all.
On Sunday the four of us met up with Oliver and Joan and also Pam and Gordon from St Margarets for the service. The church is late 1960’s build with quite a big space and no pews. We were all welcomed very warmly by the congregation and also by the Bishop, who is from Inverness. The service was in places very spiritual and in others extremely informal with the Sunday School (about 12 in number) sang a couple of songs and +David had the whole congregation joining in a reprise of the second one including all the actions! The headmaster of the attached CofE primary school had only moved there at the beginning of January and it turned out that his wife had been Alison’s sister Rosemary’s bridesmaid. What a small world.
After the service, we were all extremely well fed with a hot buffet lunch held after some speeches when Alison and Peter were presented with a cake and a bouquet of flowers.
The rectory is very close to the church being on the same plot of land and although we have been told it has its security shortcomings it all looks fine in the middle of the day. We had a bit of a tour round as +David carried out a blessing of the house which also contained some amusement. I must say we did ask +David if he fancied a move back up to Scotland. All too soon we had to leave to catch our train for the journey home but I think that all of us who had gone down to support Peter and Alison felt it had been a good decision. We wish them both well as they settle into their new home.
Brendan Grimley found this interesting reference to our “fine and richly carved organ case” in a recent issue of the Rhinegold Publishing Choir & Organ Magazine. The feature is titled Border Patrol by Chris Bragg of the University of St Andrews and it describes his visit to Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute to view the house, it’s marble chapel and the Mount Stuart organ. Holy Trinity Dunfermline gets this mention:
“The Mount Stuart organ is housed in one of a series of fine and richly carved organ cases by Rowand Anderson, including the spectacular short-lived (1893-1914) example which accompanied his restoration of Dunblane Cathedral, and the surviving case (1895) housing Charles Hamilton’s organ at (Anderson’s) Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, with which the necessarily shallow Mount Stuart example shares obvious similarities.”
If you have not looked recently take a moment to study the casing which was recently cleaned during the extensive 2017 Organ renovation works.
If you would like to read the complete article at Click Here.
The first attempt at electing a new Bishop for our Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dumblane was unsuccessful. A second mandate has now been issued by the Primus and at the first meeting of the Electoral Synod held on Saturday 24th February, +Kevin confirmed the various relevant dates for this process.
Advertisements will be placed in the Church Times on 2nd & 9th March with a closing date for nominations of 15th March. If sufficient suitable nominations are received and a short list of not less than 3 candidates and not more than 5 can be made this will be declared on 25th April with members of Electoral Synod meeting the candidates on 26th May and voting on 2nd June.
Please hold everybody involved in your prayers and if you know of any suitable candidates for nomination please access the nomination form on the Diocesan website. As +Kevin said “the more suitable nominations there are, the more chance we have of finding a new Bishop”. There is a prayer from the church which I did pass on last August but I have included it for use below.
Linda Brownlie, Lay Representative
Prayer for an Episcopal Vacancy
Let us pray that a faithful Pastor may be given to this diocese:
Almighty God, the giver of every good gift, bestow at this time, we pray, your especial blessing upon the clergy and lay representatives of the Diocese of St. Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane and grant them in their deliberations the spirit of wisdom and understanding, that they may be guided by you to the choice of a chief Pastor who shall minister before you to the glory of your holy name, the good government of your flock and the welfare of your whole Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen