In September, 2 special visitors from the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) visited the UK, starting in London and Lambeth and then heading to Yorkshire in order to build stronger links with churches and schools in the area. As part of the Diocese of Leeds Link with Sudan, the Most Revd Ezekiel Kondo, Archbishop of Khartoum was asked to nominate people to make the journey and he chose 2 leading members of the ECS Mothers’ Union; Mama Hewaya, Sudan’s Provincial MU Coordinator and Mama Samira, its provincial MU Leader. Both are key national leaders of work with women and are based in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan which has recently seen unrest.
Mama Samira and Mama Heweya were hosted by Revd Anne Russell, Team Rector of the Ingleborough Team of parishes. Arriving in the UK, they met Archbishop Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, at Lambeth Palace and had a meeting at the MU headquarters, Mary Sumner House, in Central London before travelling to Yorkshire. During their visit to Leeds Diocese, they encountered an abundance of harvest celebrations, schools & Mothers’ Union groups, both locally and in the Bradford area.
On arriving in Yorkshire, they were greeted by local MU President Jean Thurman. “We want to get to know our visitors so that we can offer prayer support and they can take back to Sudan an understanding of our churches and what we do to engage in mission and ministry,” Jean said.
“They have already shared their prayer requests with us and we realise how different our lives are, but we are all sisters in Christ. The Mothers’ Union here want to connect with them and share how we work in this Diocese and how we can learn from them.”
Towards the end of their visit, Mama Samira and Mama Heweya met with the Sudan Link group in Bradford to review the visit and discuss project proposals and fundraising for the remainder of 2019 and 2020. Discussions covered a range of exciting proposals, many centred around the central role of women in Sudanese society. The Sudan Working Group recognised that there will not be political change in Sudan unless women are at the table and that women leaders have a strong and important role to play in the country’s future. With so many women playing a key role in the church in Khartoum in particular and the success of recent MU literacy training, it was felt that there was potential for a women’s centre to be initiated in nearby Omdurman. This will be looked at more closely in the coming months, along with other possible projects.