Around the Diocese upto 2019

Please send in your news for others to share!


Wet Deanery purchasing hand held crosses - read here 


An amazing collection of knitted items from Holy Cross MU! See them here.  These were warmly welcomed by staff at the RVI maternity unit!

Walking the West Deanery  -  read why here from Anne Blight and click here to see pictures. Anne  would like to thank all our supporters of the walk, whether you gave money, welcomed walkers, prayed for them; the fellowship and support was phenomenal.  Thank you. We have raised in excess of £1900 and gift aid will come through in time.


“Changing Lives” asked Mothers’ Union to help support one of their projects by making trauma dolls. These will be used to help train tutors working with trauma sufferers. The dolls could not have faces or features but it was hoped that they would incorporate different colours and textures. Margaret Crawforth from St Luke’s Wallsend answered their request with enthusiasm and skill as the dolls show.

Alice Fisher from “Changing Lives” thanked Mother’s Union and Margaret in particular for the generous donation of the hand sewn toys.  “They will truly make a difference to the people we support“.    Linda Benneworth


A generous gift of wellington boots from Berwick - read it here.


News from Alnmouth and Lesbury Mothers' Union  branch can be read here


St Lukes Wallsend branch took advantage of the spring shineshine to meet outdoors  - see their report here


News from Deleval Branch. Read it here.


The First Internet Branch sent a report of their activites.  Click here to read it.


St John’s Whorlton’s “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Wednesday 2nd December 2020

We had planned, thinking that we were unable to have a service, to do a quiet afternoon and I asked members if they would do at least 15mins as most find it difficult to do long stretches. I supplied sheets in church with prayer ideas and we had our prayer tree in front to give us a focus. Our plan was changed very last minute and I did a very short service taken from MSH website for a Zoom meeting. It was good to be supported by a couple of friends from Holy Nativity Branch. We felt that we had achieved our objective by having prayer in our church to help us support our Campaign. Anne Blight









On Thursday 8th March, 6 members of Mothers Union (and 3 daughters), took part in This Girl Can Newcastle in Exhibition Park, to mark International Women's Day 2020.  We donned our neon face paint, glow sticks, and of course, our freshly made Mothers Union Sashes (super easy to make and what every member needs!).  It was a fantastic evening and there was something for everyone - a 5k or 1 mile walk/run/jog through the Town Moor.  And it wouldn't have been a Benwell Mothers Union event without the curry and wine waiting for us at the end!  Perhaps next year we can have even more Mothers Union members joining us?


                                      Ponteland branch has been piloting a new project.  We presented a special “Comfort Bag” to every mother leaving their child on their first day at     Richard Coates School and the neihbouring day nursery.  The colourful organza gift bags contained a tea bag, a phial of coffee, a packet with two biscuits, a small pack of tissues, a small cross and a card, on one side is a short prayer, on the reverse is a greeting from Mothers` Union.  The idea is to form a contact however tenuous, with young families, to make them aware that M.U. and Church cares about them and family life.  We have to find new ways of building up a rapport with young families.  Any results will obviously be long term but God willing, who knows?             




Tynemouth Holy Saviours Mothers Union have this year made up bags for the homeless containing essential supplies instead of the shoe boxes. After an appeal to the congregation on our Harvest Service we were overwhelmed by the amounts of bags, toiletries, hats, scarves, gloves and many other useful items that were received, as well as donations of money. A staggering 40 bags were made up in total aswell as 15 bags for the Women’s Refuge and additional items which will be taken to the Peoples kitchen for use as they feel is appropriate.On Sunday 1st December, Rev Steve Dixon blessed the bags in the 10.00am service.




Ponteland branch made up 15 Christmas Gift Bags for abused and vulnerable women who have suffered violence and/or abuse from a partner or husband.  These gifts aim to restore a feeling of self-worth and confidence which they so badly need to rebuild their shattered lives. The picture show Gift bags and items included.


MOTHERS’ UNION NEWS from St. Cuthbert’s Amble

I recently read a book written by a woman about her work in a women’s prison. She taught crafts and encouraged the “ residents” (as she liked to refer to them)to be creative. She was often amazed by the creations they produced. The writer also gave an insight into the many sad and disruptive lives experienced by these girls and women which resulted in them being imprisoned. The fact that prison was the only place that some could call “HOME” stayed with me. A bed to sleep in, food to eat daily, somewhere they felt safe.

I then read an article in our M.U. magazine..entitled “WRAPPING GOD’S LOVEUP IN A SHAWL” Shawls are knitted or crocheted and given to those facing difficulties in their life such as illness, loneliness or bereavement. I particularly liked this prayer which was suggested to attach with the shawl.

May this shawl be for you a mantle of security and wellbeing.

 Sustaining and embracing you in good times and difficult ones.

May it bring you comfort from all that appears too much to bear.

From all that feels as if it might break you.

From all that threatens  your peace of heart.

Rest within its softness so that you will be

Cradled in hope.

Kept in joy.

Graced with peace

And wrapped in God’s love.


It’s seems to me that a girl in prison may receive this gift as a blessing. I intend  knitting  one and passing it on. If you feel inspired patterns can be found in the CRAFT resources on the M.U. website. (


Mary Sumner Day Visit to Hexham Abbey by members from Hexham Deanery

Members from Hexham Deanery got together for an enjoyable afternoon at Hexham Abbey.

Our Abbey Guides, Liesbeth Langford, Branch Leader of Humshaugh and Falstone  MU and her friend Jennifer took us on a Guided tour. 

This is my third tour of Hexham Abbey and I learn something new every time.  Both these ladies are so knowledgeable and so enthusiastic

about this historic building which they love, and they took delight in passing on this information to us.

At the end of the tour we gathered in St Wilfrid’s Chapel for Prayers and a short reflection on Mary Sumner’s life and influence.

We then enjoyed tea and cake in the Refectory.  We all know that the Mothers’ Union is so much more than tea and cake but it is very welcome at times!

We had a lovely afternoon of worship and fellowship in the setting of Hexham Abbey, I’m sure Mary Sumner would have approved!

Sheila Walker V.P.


St Cuthberts Blyth Branch celebrated their 100th Anniversary on Wednesday 12th June 2019, with Choral Evensong.



Photograph shows (from l to r) Rev'd Tony Tooby (Vicar), Canon Jennifer Snowdon (Branch Leader),

Fr Phil Hughes (Bedlington Deanery Area Dean) who officiated, and the Preacher The Very Rev'd Geoff Miller, Dean of Newcastle.



On Wednesday the 6th of February we celebrated the tenth anniversary of our reforming by holding a very special service in church followed by a splendid afternoon tea in the gallery including a specially decorated cake.

          We were joined in our celebrations by the Diocesan President Barbara Packer, the vice President Sheila Walker and vice President of Northumberland Diocese, Sylvia Hickey, who was instrumental in reforming Belford Mothers Union ten years ago.

          The service was thoughtfully led by Rev. Denise Hiscox and an uplifting sermon was given by Barbara Packer. We were joined by many friends and supporters of MU.

          Members were involved in sending out invitations, planning the service, choosing the hymns, playing the organ, printing the Orders of service, reading the scripture passages, giving prayers of intersession, preparing and serving the food and John Bradley very proudly and ably carried our banner at the beginning and closing of the service.

          I thank them all for their hard work and help to make the afternoon so   memorable.

          One of our members Jeanie Murray was delighted to be presented with her 50 year certificate of membership by the President.

          Rev. Denise concluded the service by reminding us all that it is good to celebrate and that we perhaps don’t always remember to do that often enough.

          Our next meeting will be our ever popular Lenten Lunch held in the Church Gallery on Wednesday 6th of March at twelve noon. All welcome!                                                                                                       Christine Harris


Ponteland branch is extremely proud of its new banner, and are hugely greatful to Ann Gordon for the amount of worry and work that went into its making.  It will stand in St Mary`s Church for many years to come, a beacon and constant reminder of the amazing organisation it represents.

The photos show Ann Gordon, a Ponteland branch member and member of the U.R. Church standing proudly beside the beautiful banner which was almost entirely her own work, although the lettering for the words  was done by J&M Sewing Services, a Newcastle company of high renown whose clients include both bishops and royalty,  and also Revd Paul, Vicar of St Mary`s, dedicating the new banner for Ponteland branch on Sunday 10th February 2019   



Pam Taylor's display for '16 days of Activism' at All Saints, Gosforth


Below are 2 photos, taken 2 weeks apart at Haydon Bridge and Beltingham with Henshaw Mothers' Union Branch. One photo with blue MU tablecloth, is taken at a MU meeting compiling wrapped Christmas gifts for the users of 60-80-30, the phone number of NDAS, Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service. For a number of years we have provided wrapped gifts and £100 in donated vouchers for the users of this service.

the photo with White table cloth shows a group of us are compiling shoe boxes for The Peoples Kitchen, taken at a packing afternoon. An enjoyable time was had by all at these events.



On 7th July 2018 Mothers’ Union members Jane, Una, Christine and Myra represented our Branch at the Northumberland Archdeaconry Festival at the Holy Saviour Church at Tynemouth.

The festival was divided into a morning session and an afternoon session we were able to attend both.

The morning session was a presentation by the Mother’s Union Chief Executive Officer Bev Julienne she outlined the importance of the Mothers’ Union in the 21st Century.

We must all remember our heritage and in particular the life and vision of our founder Mary Sumner, over 140years ago, she saw a big need to help others to make a difference in their lives.

Bev Julienne said we had to try building a stronger foundation to explore what the essence it is to be a member of the Worldwide Anglican Group in the 21st century. She is inspired by the amazing work done every day by members quietly and without fuss.

We as members uniquely contribute to a make difference in people’s complex lives in all our individual Mothers' Union Branch projects and activities.

She also outlined that Executive Committee and herself are working hard to ensure the support from Mary Sumner house becomes even stronger and more in keeping what the members need.

In 2019 there is a new approach to communicating with members using a single membership list and easier to use website and she hopes that this will strengthen the networks between the members across the world, we will be able share our stories and what is happening in our branches.

After Midday prayers and our picnic lunch in the parish and centre gardens with others we all attended Northumberland Archdeaconry Festival Eucharist, conducted by the Rt Rev’d Bishop John Packer and the preacher was Rev’d Peter Dobson.

The theme of the service followed on from the presentation to lead us in giving thanks for the faithfulness of God to help us forward together on our journey of faith in the footsteps of Mary Sumner our founder.

The Northumberland Archdeaconry banners processed during the singing of the first hymn.

Bishop John spoke about how the work of the entire Mothers’ Union is vitally important to the community in the UK and worldwide to support women and families who are in need of faith, support and help.

Beyond Barricades Group performed some of the prayers through music and movement.

It was a lovely day for all of us and we had the opportunity to meet old and new friends in faith and fellowship.

Article by Myra Turner. St Bede’s Church Newsham Mothers ‘Union.


Margaret Anne Bell, Member of Haltwhistle’s Mothers Union since May 1993.

Margaret is 99 years of age, born 16th February 1919 and lived at Park Village.  She left school at 14 to keep house and look after her father, two sisters and a brother as well as working on the family small holding, including tending the cows and calves, hay making etc.  During WWII the family took in an evacuee, John, he and his family still keep in touch with Margaret.  Margaret joined the St John’s Ambulance and it was through this, once her siblings were older, that she trained as an Auxiliary Nurse working nights at Hexham Hospital, later transferring to Haltwhistle War Memorial Hospital.  Margaret took early retirement in 1982 to look after her father who suffered a stroke and later moved to Haltwhistle after his death. 

Margaret was very active in Park Village Methodist Church, her father and other family relatives helped to build the Chapel.  When the Park Chapel closed she then joined Haltwhistle Methodist Church.

Margaret still lives independently in her flat with the help and support of Maureen, one of her nieces, and the Home Carers, she goes out for lunch at least once a week, keeps in touch with family and friends and enjoys the company of visitors.  Margaret has a younger sister, 93 years old, and is a dear aunt, great aunt and great great aunt to an extended family.



A picture of Hexham and Humshaugh MU groups with chaplain Revd Matttew Hunter, deanery leader Anne Brunton and Mr and Mrs Enderby at their house The Riding. We had a lovely garden walk followed by tea and cake on Monday 4th June


Pictured here, Margaret Devlin from Holy Saviour Tynemouth M.U.  holding a copy of “Dear Lord” the new collection of prayers and poems written by Mothers` Union members across the world.  Over 400 entries were received among which were prayers submitted by Margaret and five of these are included in this delightful and attractive publication.

Congratulations from everyone in the Newcastle Diocese Margaret, well done and thank you
Sylvia Hickey V.P.


A New Mothers’ Union Member

Reverend Matthew Hunter, Associate priest at Hexham Abbey was admitted as a member of the Mothers’ Union by June Olliver, Branch Leader, at the morning Service of Eucharist at Hexham Abbey on 15th February.

Matthew is the Chaplin to the Hexham Abbey MU Branch and is a very good friend to the Mothers’ Union at Branch, Deanery and Diocesan level. Last year he helped with the organisation of the Lindisfarne Archdeaconry Festival Service in the Abbey and presided at the Service.

As it was Matthew’s birthday, we later celebrated  with Coffee and Chocolate cake.

We are very pleased to welcome Matthew as a member of the Mothers’ Union.


St John's Whorlton recently celebrated 120 years of Mothers' Union in the parish, a memorable occasion for all!  The celebrant was Revd Canon Lyn Jamieson, Chaplain to the Metro Centre and MU member. The two Diocesan Vice Presidents, Sylvia and Sheila, were there as were fellow members from the deanery and friends from the Methodist church - Diocesan President Barbara was unfortunately away on MU business.


Diocesan Eucharist,  St George`s Cullercoats

Our first Diocesan Eucharist took place on Saturday 15th July, it was very well supported by members from across the Diocese and so I am happy to say that I think we can now make this an annual event.

    It was good to have time and space to give the service the importance it deserves.  The Celebrant Father Adrian Hughes gave us much to think about with his sermon, challenging us to remember Mary Sumner`s drive, enthusiasm and vision.  Her mission then should still be our mission today.

    The singing was led by our newly re-formed choir and we were able to use our M.U. robes and communion vessels, all this helped to make it a memorable event.

Sylvia Hickey.  V.P.

Three Little Maids from M.U. are We!

When three M.U. members all found themselves on the same Norwegian Fiord Cruise last June, and being loyal servants of our M.U. Patron Her Majesty the Queen, they could not resist the chance to advertise Mothers` Union.  For British night, duly dressed in patriotic attire, with Mothers` Union written boldly on the Union Flag, they posed for photos, while fellow cruisers looked on with some surprise (and hopefully some interest)!  


  Pictured here, in the centre, Margaret Crawford our AFIA rep. Sylvia Hickey Northumberland Archdeaconry V.P. on the right and Dorothy Walker, West Deanery Treasurer on the left.  Please note however that, despite the presence of our “AFIA lady”, this was not an AFIA holiday or even an AFIA Away Day!

Sylvia Hickey



Visit to a Buddhist Monastery

    In July Ponteland Mothers` Union branch visited the Buddhist Monastery near Belsay in Northumberland.  Some husbands plus interested Church members made a party of 20 who were met by Buddhist monk Punnyo who was to be our guide.
    We sat on chairs at the back of their Temple facing the “altar”, a simple table with candles and behind it the Buddha, sitting in the pose we most easily recognise.  The main area in front of this was empty as the monks sit or kneel for their meditations but there were markers, some covered in gold leaf, encircling this area which is where ordinations take place.
    Punnyo took us through a typical day, the 5am bell wakes them, meditation begins the day followed by breakfast.  The morning consists of work interspersed by meditation with the main meal being taken at 11.30am.
    Buddhist monks do not handle money and depend entirely on alms to survive (produce not money), I was embarrassed to realise that, due to our lack of knowledge, we had come empty-handed.  However we could put this right after the visit.
    Put very simply Buddhist meditation differs from ours in both execution and understanding.  They concentrate thought entirely on the body, working towards a complete awareness of the mind and the inner being, leading to a state of calm acceptance.
    Our visit proved fascinating and extremely interesting: I feel that gaining knowledge of other beliefs is vital to promote greater understanding and tolerance.

                                      Sylvia Hickey


West meets East at a Mothers` Union Meeting

in February, members of the Ponteland Mothers’ Union welcomed guest speakers Martin and Siti Hill.  Siti had been brought up as a Muslim in Singapore (where, Siti told us, 70% of the population are Christian). She recounted some of the features of life in the Middle East, which she and her husband have travelled quite extensively, as Martin works in the construction industry.

Dubai, we were told, is very cosmopolitan and there is much freedom of expression; there are some Christian churches. In the seven Gulf States there are many European families, both of the British personnel and also the staff of oil and construction companies there are, therefore, Christian churches also in these States, whereas only 15% of the indigenous population in the United Arab Emirates are Christian.

Where it is not politic to advertise your Christian faith and where, therefore, there are no places of worship, services are sometimes organised within British Embassies to accommodate our citizens.

Siti told us that the dress code for women in Dubai is very ‘open’, and there are also licensed areas where alcoholic drinks may be bought and consumed, but there is a limit to the amount that women can spend on alcohol – and even then they have to have their husband’s permission (or that of another male family member) to do so. Martin and Siti enjoyed living in Dubai, which is very beautiful, and where the pro-British Sheikh is extremely popular, so they had quite a culture shock when they moved to Doha. Life there, they told us, is much more strictly controlled, and no alcohol can be brought into the country. Rules in Saudi were even stricter, with women not being allowed to work or to drive.  In the Arab States in general women need male permission for many of the everyday tasks that women in the west would carry out as a matter of course.

After Siti had treated us to some delicious stuffed dates, she generously allowed us to try on some of her Eastern garments, which were of lightweight black fabrics adorned with gorgeous silver and gold swirling embroidery.  This gave us some experience of a Muslim woman`s dress code.

Siti and Martin were only in this country for a short stay (Martin`s family live in Ponteland).  They are shortly returning to the Middle East, again to Doha.  Ponteland M.U. will stay in contact with them by e-mail and on their return in about 2 years’ time, Siti will hopefully, become a M.U. member.

What attracted Siti to Mothers` Union – it was our focus on prayer and worship, as the foundation of what we are and all we do. Sylvia Hickey


And the first to contribute .....................................


Ponteland Branch

A Mothers` Union Branch for Ponteland was officially opened on Monday 24th February 2014 and the new group has been very successful.  It is approx. 50 years since the last branch was closed

This branch reflects the Mothers` Union operating in the 21st century.  Our hallmark is “flexibility” as we need to accommodate the wide ranging ages and commitments of our members.  Our monthly meeting day and time vary from month to month, sometimes having an in-house meeting sometimes going out to experience the faith and work of others

Our branch aims to be of value to our local Churches, our community in Ponteland and also in the work the organisation does both nationally and internationally.

For further details contact, Branch Leader, Sylvia Hickey, Tele: 0191 236 6450. e-mail:

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