I WONDER what you think when you see a nun walking around Southsea?
Perhaps you think we’re a bit strange? Perhaps you think we’re serious, or strict, or out of touch?
Perhaps you know that we take certain vows, but don’t quite know what they mean?
Well, we’re a group of women who have committed ourselves to prayer.
That means praying for individuals, for churches, and for what’s going on here and throughout the world.
So we have to keep in touch with the latest news, to help us pray.
Of course, there are many things happening across the world for us to pray about at the moment.
We’re also a place where local Christians can go to spend some time in silence, or in prayer, or to study the Bible.
We have lots of visitors who find it helpful to take time out of their daily routine to be with us.
The Sisters of Bethany have been doing this for 150 years, and we’re celebrating our anniversary next week with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby.
He’ll lead a service at Portsmouth Cathedral, from 11am on July 29, marking the occasion with hundreds of our friends and supporters from across the country.
We’ll share a simple lunch afterwards. If you’d like to come, just let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We won’t just be looking back at our history. We’ll be looking at our role in society today, as a place of prayer and service, and at our future.
The presence of the Archbishop will confirm his commitment to the vital role played by religious communities within today’s church.
The Archbishop doesn’t accept every invitation, so we are grateful that he has accepted ours.
He has already met the leaders of many religious communities and has expressed how important he thinks they are.
He has said the church needs religious communities in order to be healthy – it needs people living contemplative, prayerful lives.
To be honest, I think our whole society needs people who are committed to prayer and service too.
So next time you see one of us around Southsea, why not ask us why we think prayer is so important?
I can guarantee that we won’t be strict or too serious – and that we’ll have the time to talk to you and pray for you.
Go to sistersofbethany.org.uk