The personal prayer of Mary Sumner
All this day, 0 Lord, let me touch as many lives as possible for thee; and every life I touch, do thou by thy spirit quicken: whether through the word I speak, the prayer I breathe, or the life I live. Amen.
Mothers` Union Lock down
Today is Wednesday March 25th 2020, Lady Day and, like so many, M.U. is in lock down. However we were still able to respond to an urgent appeal from Junction 42, an organisation that deals with prisons, prisoners and ex-prisoners. We had recently explored the possibility of working with them when I received an urgent phone call for help.
We were able to supply them with soap, tissues, toothpaste etc. which we did not need at present, but which were critical to their work at this moment.
It is good to know that even in these desperate times, M.U. was able to support a need.
Sylvia Hickey. V.P.
Read the Spring 2020 newsletter here
Shoebox Day - Friday 6th December 2019
We donated just under 500 boxes and bags and we took some of the addition socks and hats to the fishermen too. The photo (below right) with Margaret and Peter the superintendent is from the mission.
Christmas Gifts 2019
The final total of all the Christmas gifts from across the Diocese is 531.
This is made up of boxes for the homeless (including 26 to the Fishermen`s Mission) and bags for our women`s refuges.
This article was written by someone who was only enrolled into M.U. in October 2019. The Service in Leeds Minster was her first experience of a M.U. event and I felt that her input would be especially valuable. Sylvia Hickey V.P Click here to open it
White Ribbon Service November 24th 2019
On a dank Sunday afternoon in November we gathered at St Nicholas Cathedral for the White Ribbon Service. This Sunday was the nearest one to the actual White Ribbon Day which is 25th November, the U.N. International Day for the elimination of Violence against Women and the start of our M.U. 16 Days of Activism.
I had appealed for as many volunteers as possible to carry a named card to remember a woman who had died as a result of gender based violence during 2018. The actual number required was 144 and M.U. provided 50 members, each carrying a card with the name and age of a victim. Canon Clare McLaren conducted the service, the Dean the Very Rev Geoff Miller introduced and concluded the worship. The Cathedral choir sang, seated in front of the west door and our own M.U. choir sang three beautiful pieces, adding an extra special dimension to an emotional and moving service.
As the Cathedral clock struck four o`clock the lights were dimmed and the Cathedral choir sang while a long procession of card carriers moved slowly forward in pairs from the rear of the Cathedral to the Nave Sanctuary where large tea light candles had been arranged in the shape of a white ribbon. Every candle was lit by a card holder, it took over fifteen minutes to complete the task.
I did a bible reading with interspersed commentary by Canon Clare. Ruth Rogan our Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser read a very poignant poem written by a domestic abuse survivor and Chris Greene founder of the White Ribbon gave the Address.
I do not think that anyone present that afternoon could fail to be moved by the service and the issues it addressed. This was the culmination of a weekend dedicated to raising awareness of Domestic Abuse among Christians and bringing it to the attention of our respective Churches which is where help and support for victims should start. Sadly all too often this is not the case and can be conveniently “brushed firmly under the carpet”.
It is now up to us as christian women and M.U. members to be at the forefront of a campaign to stop this happening.
. I hope and pray that this special Service has inspired us to carry the work forward and, with God`s help, bring about change.
Sylvia Hickey V.P
In a recent letter from The Special Care baby unit NSEC Cramlington, members of Mothers Union were thanked for, their "kind donation of knitted items for the babies. The letter continued, "Unfortunately we are no longer able to accept mittens and booties, however we are always
in need of blankets 24 inches by 20 inches and larger premature size cardigans and hats".
It is good to know that these are still needed.
Sunday November 24th
White Ribbon Event
At St Nicholas Cathedral
A special Evensong at 4.pm. We need 144 volunteers to wear a card with the name of one of the 144 women who lost their lives through Domestic Abuse in 2018. They will form a candlelit procession into the Cathedral. Please do come and, if you can carry a card, please contact V.P. Sylvia Hickey.
M.U. is supporting this event and our choir will take part in the service
Mothers’ Union Diocesan Eucharist
St Mary the Virgin Ovingham, Saturday 20th July 2019
This year the Diocesan Eucharist was held in Ovingham in the beautiful church St. Mary the Virgin.
The Vicar, Rev’d Tom Birch welcomed everyone and reminded us that the service had to be changed to his church because of the illness of Revd Lesley Chapman Vicar of St. James, Riding Mill, the original planned venue. He prayed for Lesley and her family, we all hope and pray that she will soon be returned to full health.
We were made very welcome in St. Mary’s, by the Vicar and the Mothers’ Union members who also laid on refreshments in the nearby Reading Room.
Over 130 MU members came by coach and by car, many making it part of a summer outing for their branch.
The MU choir led the praise and the congregation were all in full voice for the opening hymn, “At the Name of Jesus”. We have come to expect great things from our MU choir and they did not disappoint, during the Intercessions they led us in singing “O Lord hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer, when I call answer me”, and during the serving of Communion they sang two anthems, “My Prayer for You” by J. Fowler and “He Leadeth Me” by James Curnow.
The Intercessions were led by the Faith and Policy Unit Co-ordinator, Mrs Jackie Moore and Corbridge Deaney Leader, Mrs Anne Cairns.
Our own MU Diocesan Chaplain Revd Dr Sarah Moon, preached the sermon: She talked of it being a time of transition for the Church and for the Mothers’ Union. We must look forward, rather than reminisce how good life was in the early days, we can celebrate all we are good at but “it is time for us to act decisively, listen to God and head towards the future”. The words of Isaiah quoted by Matthew in the Gospel reading remind us that in Jesus name we can all hope; and go on to say “He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth”.
The Mothers’ Union Vessels and Vestments were used for the communion, the MU choir led our praise and with that wonderful sermon of our Chaplain this was truly a Mothers’ Union Service. As we stood to sing the final hymn, “Shine Jesus Shine”, we felt we could boldly step out because God is behind us.
We can now say that the Diocesan Eucharist is a fixture in our annual calendar. The venue will be different each year but the joy of worshipping together as the Mothers’ Union community in Newcastle Diocese will never change.
Sheila Walker V.P.
On Tuesday 7th May 2019, our new York Provincial President June Houghton was commissioned by Archbishop Sentamu in York Minster. Bishop John Packer from our own Diocese was also commissioned as Provincial Chaplain, and our Diocesan Secretary, Sandra Davison, was privileged to carry the new Provincial banner. A number of our members attended, and Brenda Mennear, our Indoor Members' rep, carried the Indoor Members' book in procession.
The photograph, on the steps of York Minster, shows (from left to right) Archbishop Sentamu, June Houghton, Sandra Davison (with banner) and Bishop John Packer.
Planning for holidays and away days this summer?
As the weather gets Spring like many MU branches are planning holidays and away days for vulnerable people whom they know. Mothers’ Union have now added Whitley Bay Holiday Park to the caravan sites they use .There are a variety of locations which can be chosen for away days.
If your branch would like to organise a holiday or away day please contact Margaret Crawforth to get your booking in as soon as possible. Margaret can be contacted by email - email@example.com.
Mothers’ Union Diocesan Eucharist 2019
NOW to be held at St Mary the Virgin, Ovingham NE42 6BW
Saturday 20th July at 11am.
We look forward to seeing many of our Mothers’ Union members at this Special Service.
There will be light refreshments after the service. Why not make this an outing for your Branch and spend the day in this lovely area.
Further details from Sheila Walker Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mothers' Union gifts do help!
This email was received by Newcastle MU member Edna Maddison;
I just wanted to say a big thank you for the bag full of toiletries that you donated to Cramlington Hospital.
I was fairly ill (with borderline sepsis caused by mastitis) when I walked into my local casualty - and hadn't even thought about packing anything for an overnight stay.
Thankfully your kindness meant that I was able to shower and feel human again after a difficult few days. Thanks again - Laura xx
Further clarification about wool!!
Knitted Toy Guidance for complying with CE marking requirements
Every toy needs to carry a CE mark to show that it meets the essential safety requirements for the Toy Safety Directive. This includes toys made by Mothers’ Union members and either given to children or sold for that purpose.
The vast majority of teddies knitted by Mothers’ Union members in Newcastle Diocese will meet these requirements. However to comply with the conditions to attach the CE mark it is essential that any MU member or Branch wishing to make toys contact Sheila Walker, to get the approved pattern and details of approved materials. They will need to send all toys to Sheila to be checked for safety and to receive the CE mark.
Patterns and details for yarn and materials to be used can also be obtained from the website: www.mothersunion.org/resources/groups and branches/craft
If other toys are made by members in the Diocese for distribution through Mothers’ Union, advice must be sought on meeting the requirements of the Toy Safety Directive.
Sheila Walker email; email@example.com
This directive only applies to Toys, so please continue to make blankets, knit twiddle muffs and hats, all items which are so much appreciated.
Clarification about wool!
Many thanks to all the clever Mothers Union members who kindly made twiddle muffs for dementia patients. They will be given out to those in local care homes just before Christmas.
In response to queries from members, any type of wool can be used for these as the photograph shows. However Trauma teddies and other soft toys should be made “Hobbycraft“wool only. Everything else can be made using wool of your choice, Linda Benneworth
This is to help provide AFIA holidays for families under stress in mid-Northumberland, and is the first of three annual grants promised by the fund's trustees, which will make a huge difference.
The picture shows the Citation, Order of Service and the Cross of St Augustine.
Christmas shoebox collection. December 7th 2018
Welcomed by Sandra and Sheila Barbara leading prayers for victims of abuse
The People’s Kitchen open air Christmas Party December 10th 2018.
Just a few days after we had packed over 500 shoes boxes at Church House for the homeless who use the People’s Kitchen, some of us were lucky enough to see what happened to them. Ann Blight, Margaret Crawforth and I went to the open air Christmas Party under the arches near Manors Metro Station.
This annual event is organised and run largely by the Kitchen’s volunteers and on a particularly cold evening the hot food and hot drinks they provided were especially welcome. We joined in the Christmas songs, listened to the band and saw who won the food hamper donated by Holy Saviour’s branch. We saw the arrival of Santa Claus and watched him give out the shoes boxes to all those there. One very kind lady even advised us how to queue up and get a “present from Santa”.
Afterwards, we had a long wait to get a metro home and while we were on the platform at Manors several of the party goers arrived. One lady was so excited with her gift that she sat down on the platform, opened the box and gave a series of delighted squeaks as she tried on the hat, lifted up the leggings and examined the makeup bag. We went to have a look as we had not seen what was in the box. She was pleased to show us and when we said that our members had donated the box she thanked us very warmly. She was so pleased with the Christmas card and we suspected that it was the only one she had received. When her other friends arrived, they also thanked us although they were not going to open their boxes until Christmas Day.
Most members don’t meet the people who get a “present from Santa”, but please know that the gifts which you donate are really appreciated by those who receive them. Thank you from me and them, Linda Benneworth.
Mothers` Union Annual General Meeting
18th September 2018
Brangwyn Hall Swansea
Tuesday, a rather wild and windy but bright day saw the opening of the final General Meeting of this Triennium. It began with the banners of Wales and the host diocese of Swansea and Brecon leading the procession of dignitaries to the stage.
The opening welcome and worship was led by the Archbishop of Wales with a mixture of humour and devotion giving a feeling of warmth, friendship and fellowship which permeated throughout the whole two day event.
This was followed by the Lord Mayor of Swansea in full mayoral regalia, again a warm welcome and an acknowledgement that M.U. plays a vital part in addressing the many shortcomings in our fragmented society. A few short words were also given by the Provincial President of Wales and the Diocesan President of Swansea and Brecon.
Lynne Tembey took to the stage for what was her final appearance as Worldwide President at a General Meeting. Three previous holders of that office were also present in the Hall as was the President of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Be strong in the Lord” has been Lynne`s guiding principle during the past six years and she also paid tribute to Mary Sumner House staff, friends and family, above all David her husband, for all their unstinting love and support. Lynne should have added “stamina” as a prerequisite of her Office as she went on to list the huge number of countries she has visited during the last six years. They include many on the African Continent, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Tonga (where she enrolled the Princess), Barbados, Madagascar, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. If that were not enough, she was flying out the very next day to Tanzania and Uganda! She has also visited all the Provinces in Britain and All Ireland.
Lynne confirmed the new Constitution, she acknowledged the huge achievements of the Unit Committees and looked to the future of the new “Communities of Interest” carrying the work forward. She spoke of M.U.L.O.A, the need to engage with clergy, the vital part the Diocesan Chaplains can play within branches and parishes and the importance of M.U. being in the forefront of the “Peace and Reconciliation” movement. Her final challenge; live out the ministry to which all M.U. members are called, enjoy, embrace and grow strong in love and faith. The audience then watched the short but most recent film highlighting M.U. work.
Bev` Jullien, our C.E.O. then spoke, she too had travelled since her appointment in 2015. Bev` then took us “Towards a new Dawn” listing some of the changes to be developed in the following triennial. Elections, held under the new Constitution, results are expected shortly and the introduction of the new “Communities of Interest” in 2019. Included in this are the new website; a world map inviting special interest in a particular area and the opportunity to become a “Central Friend” of M.U. You will also be able to put in a postcode and find your nearest branch; there are to be extended resources and changes to Families First/Worldwide magazines (about which we already know). The M.S.H. shop has now closed but the windows have been turned into advertising/marketing space to attract interest from passers-by.
Bev` too gave a M.U.L.O.A. update, 200,000 voices being heard creating a better understanding of M.U. both inside and out, ripples moving outwards from the central pool which is M.S.H, there to support and resource. In conjunction with M.P. Fiona Bruce two new initiatives require our interest and support. a) Relationship and Sex Education and Relationship Education – Government guidance for Primary schools. b) A government review, Draft Bill on Domestic Abuse. The morning session ended with Midday Prayers.
The key speaker for the afternoon session was the Rev Rachel Carnegie, Co. Executive of the Anglican Alliance who spoke on “Faith, Hope and Love”. Everyone present received a green leaf, a leaf from the “Tree of Life”. Rachel then related those three virtues to M.U. saying that M.U. embodies “Faith in Action” and M.U.L.O.A. truly is faith in action. The M.U. “gathers” and feeds the world as Christ did when he fed the multitude with loafs and fishes. “Hope” is empowering people across the world to help themselves. “Love”, the greatest of them all, individual projects large and small, small beginnings out of which the great can grow and blossom like a tree. As a member of the Anglican Communion M.U. must talk with Church/Leaders proclaiming the good news, it must nurture and respond to need, transforming communities. We were all then asked to write a short prayer on our leaves which were then collected and blessed.
Before the final worship Daniel McAllister from M.S.H. presented “Lynne Tembey, this is Your Life”, a power point presentation recording and paying tribute to many of the events of her presidency. It showed pictures relating to many of the places and events she had experienced, some humorous pieces as well as the more serious. Lynne and husband David, whose love and support was so valued by Lynne, sat together on stage to watch and often laugh and comment!
Finally Lynne was presented with flowers followed by a standing ovation, witnessing the affection in which Lynne is held by M.U. members
The day ended with the closing worship led by our Central Chaplain the Right Revd Andrew Proud.
The overriding atmosphere both during the lovely service on Monday followed by the meeting on Tuesday was of warmth and shared fellowship. This was one of the best General Meetings I have attended.
Thank you and well done Wales!
A new initiative
From January 2019 this Diocese will have a Mothers` Union Children and Young Families Coordinator. Her name is Karoline Wellbourne, she is a mum with an adopted son and she is also a Foster Mother. Karoline and her Mother are both members at All Saints Gosforth so she is M.U. “aware”.
Karoline`s is a Trustee appointment and she will work in the Faith and Policy Unit alongside Jackie Moore.
We in M.U. value our ageing members, our diocesan and indoor members but were not, I felt, fulfilling our duty towards developing a Mothers` Union for the future. M.U. and Church alike are suffering from the same problem and we must try to work together to find a solution.
Karoline will suggest and support branch initiatives to create interest and a better understanding of what M.U. is about. She has for a long time, been keen to work with young families though Mothers` Union and by initiating this post, we are giving an enthusiastic young mother the opportunity to take this forward.
We must however be realistic, there is no “quick fix” to engaging with young women and creating new and younger members either in Church or M.U. but we must make a start and try, as Mary Sumner did, to find a way to show families that we care and can be flexible in accommodating the needs of today.
The Liverpool Diocese has a similar process already in place and I have had discussions with the Liverpool Diocesan President (who becomes York Provincial President in 2019) and Karoline`s counterpart in that Diocese. Both Sheila and Barbara also met her when we were at Swanwick in July.
Please give Karoline a warm welcome in this new role. Her name and all contact details are already in the 2018 Directory as I had found her a temporary (now not required) post as Diocesan Publication Secretary (see page No. 1)
Remember Karoline in your prayers and ask God`s blessing on this new venture. “Chosen” on October 12th reminded us of Mary Sumner`s amazing success across the world, we are only trying to meet the challenge in one Diocese and, God willing, we will!
Sylvia Hickey. V.P.
Newcastle Diocese President Barbara Packer with MU Chief Executive Bev Jullien at Tynemouth for the Northumberland Archdeaconry Festival
Action and Outreach have been busy over the summer! Visit their page to see what they have been doing.
Prisoner Release backpacks for Acklington
Norma Willmott,the volunteer at Acklington prison for over 19 years, today took all the remaining prisoner release backpacks, which MU members have so generously donated, to the prison. As ever, the packs are most gratefully received by the prisoners on their release. Without them some of the young men would leave with nothing as they begin their life outside of prison.
So if your branch still has any packs which you have not yet handed over or if you could put together another pack or indeed things which we could put in it, please contact me - Linda Benneworth -email firstname.lastname@example.org
It would be good to ensure that the prison has more packs in time for the winter.
The Speaker at the Diocesan Council meeting on Friday 13th April was Cath Hilton, MU Diocesan President from Manchester Diocese.
Cath and her team have a project called “Just Up Your Street”, which was started after Greater Manchester poverty Commission revealed just how deprived some Parishes are in Manchester. The Mothers’ Union were approached by a Curate asking for help and the project began.
The Mothers’ Union, in Manchester as in Newcastle Diocese, responds to the needs of people in their area; many of the initiatives in Manchester are similar to our own but it was interesting to hear how they approached them.
The Mothers’ Union, Christian Care for families at work, in Manchester, Newcastle and worldwide!!
View the 'Just up your street' poster here
Congratulations to the Action and Outreach team!
The Cedarwood Trust Community Centre, Meadowell, presented the Newcastle Diocese Mothers’ Union Action and Outreach unit with a “Golden Fleece” award On March 21st 2018. Linda Benneworth and Margaret Crawforth were at the centre to distribute Easter eggs to the children there when they were presented with the commemorative plate. It is in recognition of the help given to the centre in the form of “away days”, donations, a trip for the children on the No rth Pole Express to meet Santa Claus and Easter eggs.The centre is grateful for the support given to needy parents and deprived children by Mothers’ Union. It was a lucky coincidence that Margaret was dressed up as an Easter bunny on that day.
Mothers' Union emergency toilet bags were handed out to staff at the R.V.I. who, due to the severe weather, found themselves having to stay overnight at the hospital!
The Mothers' Union choir who sang at the Diocesan Festival on 12th May.
Newcastle Diocese a pilot for a new MU initiative - MULOA!