In an enchanted location on the outskirts of Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone stands Baronscourt, a Georgian country house and estate, the seat of the Duke of Abercorn. Combining great historical and architectural interest, this Grade A listed house is surrounded by ornate Italian style gardens and woodland designed by Capability Brown.
In these magical gardens, members of the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe gathered to walk the paths, pray and celebrate Mary Sumner Day.
Led by Elsie Stewart, Vice President and Lynn Greer, environmentalist, participants followed the paths around the estate, admiring the natural beauty of the gardens and woodland and stood still to pray at intervals. Under the boughs of the 250 year old cedar tree from Lebanon members reflected on the vision and mission of Mothers’ Union and its founder Mary Sumner, praying that they may follow her path to enrich family life for future generations.
Arriving at a crossroads they prayed for guidance to follow Christ’s path wholeheartedly, with obedience and faith. In the afternoon sun they listened as Lynn unfolded the secrets and splendours of God’s creation, viewed the wonderful vistas and soaked up the spiritual benefits.
At the great oak trees members prayed for strong faith to be able to minister with grace and integrity to those they met along life’s journey. Concluding the walk at the anchor they were reminded to hold fast our hope in Him with faith and obedience, following in the footsteps of Mary Sumner.
A very welcome and delicious afternoon tea, provided by Ardstraw, Baronscourt and Badoney ladies, was served in the Stables afterwards, where Diocesan President, Jacqui Armstrong, and Vice President, Elsie Stewart, who organised the event, cut the Mary Sumner Day celebratory cake.