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Deanery Festival at Ketton

MU members from Oakham, Uppingham and Ketton met in Ketton Church on 13 April to celebrate 140 years of service to Families and Communities by the Mothers Union.

Staff and pupils of Ketton Primary School opened the Service with hearty singing of a selection of hymns and songs. Our thoughts were centred on the parable of the mustard seed. The Curate at Ketton, Don McGarrigle, based his talk on this. A mustard seed is essentially small.

Mary Sumner’s vision began in a small way, but, that is all that’s necessary to get started in horticulture – – – – small beginnings and perseverance. The MU exists to promote the profession of Motherhood. This was a radical idea 140 years ago, and how relevant also today. Mary Sumner’s vision was well received. It became a local, national and international movement, slowly, like a germinating plant. The aim was to provide the less fortunate with protection, and a place of safety.

Returning to the seed analogy, we were reminded that faith, hope, and love are produced by our seeds, in the field of life. Our speaker urged us to take courage, when the Church is sometimes seen as irrelevant, past its sell-by-date, and with an average age of over sixty. There are fresh “sprouts” of the Church everywhere, e.g. Alpha, Messy Church, New Horizons, Street Pastors.

The cycle is repeated, season by season. There is also a time to wait. A seed waits for the rain, for feeding and further watering. As the Curate pointed out, the waiting is not a dead time, but a time for prayer and encouragement. There is no limit to what a plant can achieve, if the right nutrients are there. We need to follow the example of Jesus’s teaching in the parable of the mustard seed. We have the potential to make the world different, and to make it better. Our past successes and future plans need to be grounded in prayer, and Holy Scripture.

Each attendee at the Service had been given a cut-out of an apple or a pear, on arrival. We were invited to write a past MU success, on the back of the apples, and a future plan for MU, on the back of the pears. These were then hung on some branches, to make two trees of reflection.

After a Service of such encouragement, it was most appropriate that the MU banners were brought back down through the Church, to the singing of “You shall go out with joy”.

A delicious 140th Anniversary Cake had been made by one of the Ketton ladies. This, together with other goodies was enjoyed with a cup of tea, and animated chat, which rounded off the afternoon.