Mothers' Union: Calling for an end to gender-based violence and abuse
By Julia Tum, Mothers’ Union branch leader, St John the Divine, Rastrick
The sun shone and Simon Day, the chair of Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group, took us on a wheelchair accessible walk around the reserve pointing out the many different flowers, butterflies, birds and little animals that were there. Many mammals and amphibians have made Cromwell Bottom their home.
By standing still, and listening, and watching we were able to see bullfinch, dunnock, woodpeckers, robins, redpoll and many more. Slightly less hard to see were kingfishers, oystercatchers and curlew. On the nearby canal we could see gathering cormorants as they roost at the end of the day, fed fit to burst from the many fish in the canal, river and nearby lake.
Everyone was enchanted and surprised by the wealth and variety of creatures that we saw. All because we stood still for a while and listened. Can we do that as well in our daily lives? Can we see past the outward covering of those who we meet to see if they are hurting or need help in any way or who would just welcome a smile of support? Do we look at ourselves to see how we are feeling and what worries we could pass over to God in prayer?
The Mothers’ Union is a hub of prayer and support, and is involved in reaching out to others less fortunate than ourselves, locally and internationally. On Saturday, November 25 across the world the 16 Days of Activism will start. That day is known as the MU Global Day of Prayer. There is a wealth of organisations who work alongside women who are abused providing support and shelter. By peering under the surface, I have come across groups who support women who are fleeing from their homes or who welcome emotional support and understanding.
These groups are coming together on that day in St Peter’s Church on Byram Street, Huddersfield at noon providing information and reaching out to others. At 12.30pm there will be a service focusing our prayers on victims, survivors, and perpetrators and on those who work in this field. At 1pm we will encircle the park to the left of the church on Byram Street, standing proud against this injustice, in silence for three minutes. Join us! Be there! Be visible!
Why three minutes? Our “No More 1 in 3” campaign highlights the fact that one in three women around the world suffer from some form of abuse throughout their lifetime. The MU raises awareness of this and calls for an end to gender-based violence and abuse.
In churches around Huddersfield and Halifax there will be different services and exhibitions highlighting these often-hidden injustices. At Halifax Minster, November 18-26, there will be a display entitled The Souls of their Shoes which tells the challenging stories of women who have fled their homes. A similar exhibition will be held at St John’s Church in Rastrick. The Holmfirth MU Branch are holding a service on November 24 in their parish church at 10.30am. On Monday, November 20 in the afternoon, they are meeting to fold paper and to create wonderful doves of peace.