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SPIRITIUAL COMMUNION FOR THE FESTIVAL OF MARY SUMNER, 9TH AUGUST 2020. IN 1876 MARY HELD THE FIRST MOTHERS' UNION MEETING AT OLD ALRESFORD RECTORY "FOR WOMEN OF ALL CLASSES". Mary suffered an attack of nerves, so the meeting had to be postponed for a week to allow her to regain composure. From such humble beginnings came a life-changing, world-changing organisation.

✠In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Mary the Mother of Jesus said: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord;

let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

When we have failed in our obedient service of the Lord,

let us confess our sins:

I confess to almighty God

that I have greatly sinned,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

through my fault, through my fault,

through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,

and all the Angels and Saints,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

THE GLORIA Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you,

we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King,

O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,

Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Faithful and loving God,

who called Mary Sumner

to strive for the renewal of family life:

give us the gift of your Holy Spirit,

that through word, prayer and deed

your people may be strengthened and your people served;

Through our Lord Jesus Christ,

your Son, who lives and reigns

with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God,

for ever and ever.

Old Alresford Place - formerly The Sumner's Rectory

FIRST READING: The Book of Proverbs, chapter 24, verses 3-4, 12-14 By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.If you say, "Look, we did not know this," does not God, who weighs the heart, perceive it? Does not the one who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay all according to their deeds?

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find her, you will find a future, and your hope will not be cut off. The word of the Lord.


Happy are they all who revere the Lord

How shall the young cleanse their way?

By keeping to your words.

With my whole heart I seek you;

let me not stray from your commandments.

Happy are they all who revere the Lord

I treasure your promise in my heart,

that I may not sin against you. Blessèd are you, O Lord; instruct me in your statutes.

Happy are they all who revere the Lord

With my lips will I recite

all the judgements of your mouth.

I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees

than in all manner of riches.

Happy are they all who revere the Lord

I will meditate on your commandments

and give attention to your ways.

My delight is in your statutes;

I will not forget your word.

Happy are they all who revere the Lord

St.Mary's Old Alresford; Mary Sumner's parish church

SECOND READING from the Letter to the Hebrews,

chapter 13, verses 1 to 5

Let mutual love continue.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,

for by doing that some have entertained angels

without knowing it.

Remember those who are in prison,

as though you were in prison with them;

those who are being tortured,

as though you yourselves were being tortured.

Let marriage be held in honour by all,

and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled;

for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.

Keep your lives free from the love of money,

and be content with what you have; for he has said,

"I will never leave you or forsake you."


Alleluia, alleluia!

Man does not live on bread alone,

but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.


GOSPEL according to Saint Luke, chapter 11, verses 9 – 11

Mary Sumner Window, St Mary, Old Alresford.,

Jesus said to his disciples,

"I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find;

knock, and the door

will be opened for you.

For everyone who asks receives,

and everyone who searches finds,

and for everyone who knocks,

the door will be opened.

Is there anyone among you who,

if your child asks for a fish,

will give a snake instead of a fish?

Or if the child asks for an egg,

will give a scorpion?

If you then, who are evil,

know how to give good gifts

to your children,

how much more

will the heavenly Father

give the Holy Spirit

to those who ask him!"

The Gospel of the Lord.


I was thrilled to be the parish priest of Old Alresford for nine years –

the birth-place of the Mothers’ Union,

the largest women’s organisation in the world.

Old Alresford Placethe place where it all began in 1876,

in the time I was there the Church linked with Old Alresford Place

to welcome MU members from near and far

in the place it all started.

In 1876 Mary Sumner, the Rector of Old Alresford’s wife,

felt decided that something was needed in the parish.

She was brought to this conclusion when her eldest daughter

gave birth to her first baby. Mary remembered her feelings of inadequacy

as a young mother charged with the terrible responsibility for a new life.

She believed that women from every class needed to understand

that motherhood was a profession and be equipped to perform it.

Her plan for a mothers’ meeting, bringing together mothers of all classes, did not start well! Having gathered the women of the parish in the Rectory, Mary could not present her ideas due to nerves. She had to call them together again a week later

to explain the objects of the new society and to give out simple cards containing practical suggestions.

Mary invited the wealthy and the poor of the village to the Rectory, and was surprised (speechless) when they all came. This was the first time that women of different social classes

had been brought together in the village to talk about their lives

and how they brought up their children. It proved to be a success.

The group met frequently, and the numbers grew at each meeting.

And it was out of these meetings that The Mothers` Union was born.

Since then the Mothers` Union has grown and changed –

Currently there are about 4 million members across 77 countries;

it is the largest non-political society in the world,

and membership is still growing.

It is a force to be reckoned with!

The Mothers’ Union was the first body within the Church of England

to challenge the church`s attitude towards divorce.

It realised that when divorce happens in a family,

that family needs all the love and Christian support it can get.

The Mothers` Union has become radically-active in the developing world

where women are courageously battling against the demons

of poverty, disease and violence.

In Africa the Mothers` Union is active in supporting AIDS sufferers

and especially their families, and the resulting thousands of orphans.

The biggest and most successful MU project at present is the Literacy Project being worked in the Sudan, Malawi and Burundi, teaching women and children to read. This has been welcomed by the various governments,

who pride themselves as having thought of it first!

The MU is the largest member of the Jubilee Debt Campaign,

and continues to work hard in campaigning to relieve third world debt.

campaigning, too, for fair trade.

I didn’t realise this, but because of the international respect there is

for the MU, I understand that the MU has its own place

with full voting rights at the United Nations,

and send delegates to all parts of the world where the UN meets.

Mary Sumner as a young woman

In this country – projects range from prison visiting, having MU branches in women’s prisons. Starter Packs (basic domestic essentials) for those going into independent living from prison, probation hostels or the like.

Emergency bags for hospitals: If you were in an accident on your way home today, you wouldn`t have a soap/ towel/ comb/ razor, a cuddly toy for a child, or anything you would need for a stay in hospital. Thanks to the Mothers’ Union, these are readily available.

The MU in it’s home Diocese of Winchester operates a Family Holiday Scheme, to provide a break for Any family needing a break from their current situation, lone parents, low income families, grandparent-led families, those who have recently been bereaved, or a family who otherwise couldn’t afford a holiday;

The Mission of the Mothers’ Union is:

  • To promote and support married life

  • To encourage parents in their role to develop the faith of their children

  • To maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service

  • To promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children

  • To help those whose family life has met with adversity

What would Mary Sumner make of all that’s happening

through the Mothers’ Union worldwide today?

Wouldn’t she be thrilled?!

Loving Lord, we give you thanks

for the far-reaching vision of Mary Sumner.

We look back with gratitude and praise for her witness,

and for all that has been achieved thus far

in the name of Mothers’ Union worldwide.

As we look forward with faith for all that is to come

help us to build a future together

which will enable the Mothers; Union to flourish

through far-reaching vision and commitment to your will.


I believe in one God, the Father almighty,maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,he suffered death and was buried,and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Faithful and loving God, who called Mary Sumner

to work for the renewal of family life:

inspire us to follow her example and respond to your call to new adventure,

new possibilities and may there be renewed vision for the work of the

Mothers’ Union around the world.

Lord of the loving initiative

we offer our lives in service to you.

Carry us past the horizons of our small dreams, and fill us with fire

to bring your justice, hope and love to all corners of the world.

Lord of love and justice

we offer our lives in service to you.

We pray for the family of the Church,

remembering that Jesus prayed for the Church

to be brought to complete unity so that the world

would know of God’s love for all.

Lord of love and reconciliation

we offer our lives in service to you.

We pray for those who have no peace in places of violence and bloodshed

in a world terrorised by greed, bigotry and fundamentalist opinion.

For those whose homes are places of conflict rather than harmony,

where life is a daily struggle rather than a constant hope.

Lord of love and understanding

we offer our lives in service to you.

We pray for those who are oppressed, exploited

or suffering poverty and deprivation.

We pray for those who are lonely,

who feel unloved and rejected.

Lord of love and hospitality

we offer our lives in service to you.

Living Father, as we thank you for the vision of Mary Sumner,

we pray for the work of the Mothers’ Union.

We pray for the families of members everywhere,

that their homes may be places of love and safety,

healing and wholeness.

Lord of love and family

we offer our lives in service to you.

We give thanks for all that has been in place since her time;

for individuals and communities who have formed and developed people

in the ways of Christ and in the deepening of lives in the Spirit.

We pray for all that is to come, and we place it all

under the guidance and protection of Mary, the Mother of Jesus;

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

After the example of Mary Sumner,

help us today to share your gifts of love and compassion

with people everywhere; for the sake of Jesus our Lord:

All this day, O Lord,

let me touch as many lives as possible for You;

and every life I touch, by Your Spirit quicken,

whether through the word I speak,

the prayer I breathe,

or the life I live. Amen.

(Mary Sumner’s personal prayer)

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God;

for it is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks, holy Father,

Lord of heaven and earth, through Christ our Lord.

Your love is made visible in Jesus Christ,

you bring home the lost, restore the sinner

and give dignity to the despised.

In the face of Jesus Christ your light shines out,

flooding lives with goodness and truth,

gathering into one a divided and broken humanity.

With people from every race and nation,

with the Church of all the ages,

with apostles, evangelists and martyrs

we join the angels of heaven in their unending song:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Almighty Father, give us life through your Spirit, and grant that we may be conformed to the image of your Son.

Confirm us in the bond of communion,

together with Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,

Justin our Archbishop, Norman our Bishop, Tim, Bishop of Winchester, all Bishops, Priests and Deacons, and the entire people you have made your own. Grant that all the faithful of the Church, looking into the signs of the times by the light of faith, may constantly devote themselves to the service of the Gospel. Keep us attentive to the needs of all, that, sharing their grief and pain, their joy and hope, we may faithfully bring them the good news of salvation and go forward with them along the way of your Kingdom.

Remember our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the peace of your Christ, and all the dead, whose faith you alone have known. Admit them to rejoice in the light of your face, and in the resurrection give them the fullness of life.

Grant also to us, when our earthly pilgrimage is done, that we may come to an eternal dwelling place and live with you for ever; there, in communion with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with the Apostles, Martyrs, with Mary Sumner, and with all the Saints, we shall praise and exalt you through Jesus Christ, your Son.

Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, for ever and ever. Amen.

At the Saviour’s command

and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say: Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,

graciously grant peace in our days,

that, by the help of your mercy,

we may be always free from sin

and safe from all distress,

as we await the blessed hope

and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles:

Peace I leave you, my peace I give you,

look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church,

and graciously grant her peace and unity

in accordance with your will.

Who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace.

Time to sit quietly to receive the Lord’s Presence spiritually.

“My Jesus, I believe that You are present

in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.

I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart …

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You,”

God our Redeemer, who inspired Mary Sumner to witness to your love

and to work for the coming of your kingdom:

may we, who in this sacrament share the bread of heaven,

be fired by your Spirit to proclaim the gospel in our homes

and in our daily living and never to rest content until your kingdom come,

on earth as it is in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Loving Lord , we thank you

for your love so freely given to us all.

We pray for families around the world.

Bless the work of the Mothers’ Union

as we seek to share your love

through the encouragement, strengthening

and support of marriage and family life.

Empowered by your Spirit,

may we be united in prayer and worship,

and in love and service reach out as your hands

across the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen

The Mothers Union Prayer

Silent Prayer

My dearest Lord.

Be Thou a bright flame before me.

Be Thou a guiding star above me.

Be Thou a smooth path beneath me.

Be Thou a kindly shepherd behind me.

Today and evermore.

May the blessing of almighty God,

the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,

come down upon us and remain with us for ever. Amen.


The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word. Hail Mary. Holy Mary.

And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us. Hail Mary. Holy Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ

by the message of an angel, so by his Cross and Passion

we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

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