Seeking some winter sun, and having never been to the West Indies, I thought I randomly chose Antigua, but have become aware that God’s hand was firmly in control. I knew that Mothers’ Union in the diocese had a link with NECA. However, I did not fully understand what that meant. In fact, it stands for North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba and spans 12 islands.
E mails from NECA were exciting but intermittent depending on the internet. The islands are in the hurricane path and indeed Barbuda was devastated in 2017. I booked my accommodation in Antigua based on thinking I could reach a few points of interest easily. Little did I realise I was near one of the best of the 365 beaches. I was also very near Nelson’s dockyard, a heritage centre, and also the finishing point for the Atlantic rowing race, which provided more interest during my stay.
As I left England, I had limited contact details for Ephena Matthew the Diocesan President. However, prayers were answered and as I waited to board the plane at Gatwick, I got all the details I needed.
The day after my arrival Ephena called round to my accommodation to welcome me. I was invited to a seafood buffet supper to meet lots of MU members and even asked to preach on the Sunday. I worshipped with them each Sunday. Services last 2 hours and you have at least 8 hymns and a good half hour sermon! I also went to a choir festival featuring 23 choirs from across the island. Great fun, but some were better than others and the pews are hard. I went to meetings and socials and found out how they are organised. As Diocesan President Ephena hops across the 12 islands. Once a month they have a MU supported Sunday service. They all wear their white dresses and blue jackets.
I also had plenty of time for relaxation, reading and reflecting in the sun. I return refreshed and inspired by experiencing first hand MU worldwide and their warm welcome and love and vibrant faith.
Jill Cannings Mothers’ Union Diocesan President