13th March 2024

If you were asked to talk about “movers and shakers” you know personally, or have known, who would you choose? Following on from International Women’s Day last week, I was drawn back to a piece written by my mother about her friend Clarice Morgan.

Clarice, born in 1919, grew up attending Kensington Baptist Tabernacle in Bristol. As a conscientious objector in World War 2, she took on duties at Frenchay Hospital, which she described as ‘character forming’! Clarice, married to Cyril, a Baptist minister, became involved in the European Baptist Women’s Union (EBWU) and the Baptist World Alliance amongst other organisations.

I was also delighted the other day to stumble upon old articles that Lesley (who also writes these ‘Thoughts’, and who also knew Clarice) wrote when she was with BMS in Congo, encouraging women to take a full role in church life (e.g. Baptist Missionary Herald, 1975, p72).

Their “women’s work”, on one level, feels like it belongs to another era. However, I was struck by the impact of forging meaningful relationships across continents. For Clarice, this included the bridge building and peace-making of the EBWU in post-war Europe. There also seems to be something quite powerful about what women have achieved working together, even without great visibility or status in society.

In a letter thanking her for a speaking engagement, Clarice is described as a “living letter” allowing people to “learn what God is doing to build his kingdom all over the world”.

I’m challenged to think about how best we might connect and build relationship with others across the world today, and what that building of mutual trust, understanding and friendship might achieve.

Ruth Allen