I am writing to you on the eve of the 120th Anniversary of Mothers' Union here in Chester Diocese.

Although some of our branches had started life in the early 1890s, it was in October 1898 that the first Diocesan Meeting took place. It was held in a house called Woodleigh in Altrincham (or more precisely in Dunham Massey), which was the home of the newly-appointed Diocesan Secretary, Mrs Johnson. The Diocesan President was Mrs Wilbraham. The Central Secretary (from London), Mrs Matthew, was also in attendance.

It is truly amazing how Mothers' Union grew in those early years as women all around Britain and Ireland (and later the world) responded to the opportunity to meet together in their churches for worship and fellowship and to discuss the social issues of the day. Together they answered the call to share God's love through the encouragement, strengthening and support of marriage and family life.

Today we continue to respond to that opportunity and to answer that call. Everyone who saw the production of 'Chosen - the story of Mothers' Union' in Bowdon Deanery earlier this month cannot have failed to be moved by the experience and the desire to bring Mary Sumner's vision to a new generation. As I prepare to hand over to Wendy in the New Year, I feel sure that I can speak for both of us when I say that Mary's vision will continue to inspire us as we move forward into the new triennium with you.

Thank you for your love and prayers which have sustained me during the last three years. It has been a privilege and a delight to serve as your Diocesan President.

With my love and prayers,