Women are the heart, hands, and feet of the Anglican Communion: Sheran Harper on how the ministry of women around the world strengthens the Anglican Communion

Sheran Harper is the Worldwide President of Mothers’ Union, a global, women-led movement of 4 million which aspires to stop poverty, injustice, and violence in the communities where they live. She spoke to the Lambeth Conference team about what inspires her about the ministry of women around the Anglican Communion.

As Worldwide President, I meet regularly online with women leaders from across the Anglican Communion in prayer and fellowship, and I also travel extensively for fellowship and to support all women in person.

This gives me the opportunity to connect with great women of faith, who are passionate to do God’s work in God’s world, driven by the belief that they have been called, chosen, and set apart by God to give hope, reaching even the deepest, darkest corners, to make His love visible and known to the four corners of every Province.

My heart expands with each Provincial visit, and I am inspired by the strong belief of women, that with God nothing shall be impossible. Even when they have so little, they give generously to transform the lives of the marginalised and vulnerable; and they sacrifice so much to make a difference wherever it is needed.

Their willingness to share, learn from one another, and lift each other up is demonstrated through community programmes, for example, the Mothers’ Union Literacy Ministry which is led by volunteers, and has helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world to find the means to support and educate their families.

Creating safe spaces for prayer and encounters with God is a way of life for women as nothing is done in our own strength. Every midday we link hands across the oceans to pray for each other and our work through our wave of prayer. We believe that our strength and success in the mission and ministry of the church and wider community lies in our close connection with God, our dependence on him, and our understanding of his purpose for our lives.

This enables us to show our faith through action in our communities, whether through prayer, fellowship, or practical support for those in need – Indeed women are the heart, hands, and feet of the Anglican Communion.

There is so much going on in our world today and we see very often that in times of conflict, women are the peacemakers and bridge-builders in the home, community, and beyond. They create safe spaces for different perspectives to be expressed; showing each individual that they are valued and appreciated; ensuring love can be shown to the most needy of our brothers and sisters.

In the face of challenge, women are motivated and determined to do whatever it takes for their families to survive. On my recent visit to Madagascar, women come together and grow crops to mitigate climate issues, to support their families and the community. Even after another devastating cyclone, they are not afraid to step out, work together as a team and rebuild all that was lost.

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This article is being published as part of the Being Anglican series. For more information on our next webinar about Being Anglican and the Lambeth Call on Anglican Identity click here.

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