Dialogue Sketch for the Clyne Deanery Mothers’ Union Festival,
After the Magnificat and Second Reading (Matthew 28:16-20), three speakers come to the front (and turn on their microphones)
Of the three, A is an enthusiastic Christian, rather unsure of Mothers’ Union,
B is committed to MU but open to new ideas, and
C has just discovered the Aim and Objects, and is quite taken with them
A. Isn’t that a wonderful reading! It really sets our priorities – to get out into the world and make Christian converts. I’m not sure about where Mothers’ Union comes in, but it’s done me good just to hear that. (turns to B) Don’t you think that’s our first priority?
B. (slightly embarrassed) Well, oh dear how can I put it, – I think we all know that we need to stand up for our faith, but we’re not all that confident. I don’t really like people who ask me lots of personal questions, or preach at me. I want to live out my faith, but without making a great fuss, if you know what I mean.
C. Maybe that’s where Mothers’ Union can help. I was listening to the Aim and Objects we had read out, and they really seem to fit.
A. How do you mean – I thought Mothers’ Union was all about ladies meetings?
C. Well, listen to this: the second object says “To encourage parents to bring up their children in the faith and life of the Church”. That’s something most families struggle with, so if there’s help and experience available, it can’t be bad.
A. You might have a point there
C. And then there’s object 3 “To maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service.” Imagine how much we could learn from families around the world – some like us, some very different. If Mothers’ Union can keep us in touch, and help us pray for one another, wouldn’t that be good?
B. Oh yes, some of the stories we get in “Home and Family” are very helpful; I think some people read them on the website, as well. They encourage your faith, but also help you see things more deeply. I think that’s important. We know we have to help people find a faith, – but after that they need to go on, to grow their faith into something strong and lifechanging, and to let it adapt as they get older and face new challenges.
A. I have to agree with you, but it hasn’t always happened, has it? Some people have come into church, and gone on attending services, but seem to have got stuck.
C. How do you mean, “stuck”? There isn’t a pile of them in one of these cupboards, is there? (looks around slightly nervously)
A. I don’t mean stuck in the church building, I mean the faith doesn’t seem to work for them – they don’t get any joy out of worship, and seem to have no desire to serve God in any practical way.
B. Even as Christians, we are still all sinners. But Mothers’ Union has helped, you know. I’m quite shy, but when I became a Branch officer, I had to take a part and push myself a bit. A year or two later, I even gave a talk – I never thought I would, but the branch members were so kind that I did it again, and now I’m a Speaker.
C. I wonder how many other people have discovered their gifts as speakers and leaders in Branches? It must be a good number over the years. That started a long time before “lay participation” became fashionable.
A. I am learning things tonight! I really hadn’t seen Mothers’ Union as pushing forward Church life, but clearly it has made a contribution. Is there anything else?
C. Well, object number 5 impressed me, “To help those whose family life has met with adversity”. We all know people whose relationships have fallen apart, and Christians are supposed to try and help, but this makes it clear.
B. I suppose we tackle it in things like the Prison Crèche, helping families deal with a prison sentence, and Away From It All holidays. Trying to give the sort of help that is needed at the right time and in the right way.
A. That’s encouraging, and practical, too!
B. Yes. We had a PCC Day recently – we took a day to think about what we were trying to do and where we hoped our church would go – and the speaker talked about some of the changes in society. They were things that we couldn’t change, like the way people spend Sundays now, or where and when they go on holiday. We can’t change them, but they mean that we have to adapt the way we organise church, and even Mothers’ Union.
C. That links in with object 4, “To promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children.” You’d think everybody would want that, wouldn’t you?
A. I wish they did, but some of the changes in shop hours have meant that mothers work through the evening and don’t have time with their children. I hear its getting more and more difficult to find volunteers to work with children’s groups, as well. We need someone to work on this sort of thing at the top level. I think you’ve almost convinced me about Mothers’ Union being a good thing, but is there anything about Jesus in these objects?
C. Didn’t I say? Number one reads, “To uphold Christ’s teaching on the nature of marriage and promote its wider understanding.”
A. Right, I’m for it. (Looks at the other two). What do I do now?
B. (slightly puzzled) I’m sorry, what do you “do”?
A. You’ve convinced me, Mothers’ Union has something to offer. So do I sign up, pay a subscription, buy a hat – what?
B. (light dawns) Oh – you want to become a member! Wonderful! Um, we haven’t had a new one for a while, and I’ll have to check. Come with me and we’ll ask the Secretary. (B & A move away)
C. One down, now (looking at congregation) it’s over to you. Can you advertise Mothers’ Union as a practical help to living the Christian life – and then make sure that its fellowship and activities really do that?
(998 words. – 10 minutes) (Click here to return to the Index of Sketches)