2024 Retreat at Shepherds Dene

Monday 24th – Tuesday 25th June 2024
Our retreat gave us the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful surroundings at Shepherds Dene, with time for fellowship andfun as well as well as times of silence and reflection.
Our leader was the Revd. Robert Lawrance, Vicar of St Francis, Heaton. His theme was ‘Hope in a hot climate.’ In a time of global uncertainty, Robert drew on the spiritual teaching of St Francis of Assisi to offer a positive vision for the future.

28 Mothers’ Union members from around the diocese spent 2days together in the retreat at Shepherds Dene led by Rev. Robert Lawrence.  We shared time and fellowship together as we considered and prayed about issues relating to the environment and our faith’. Members met outside on a beautiful morning to listen to bird song before morning prayers’.
Members enjoying free time during a sunny afternoon at the Mothers’ Union retreat at Shepherds Dene.
Food and fun together at the end of the day.
The retreat next year will be led by Rev. Claire MacLaren on 23rd and 24th June. 
Please book early as places are taken up very quickly. 

St George's Cullercoats take Footsteps in Faith

During June members of St. George’s Cullercoats branch took some Footsteps in Faith:
Two members attended Something Wonderful in Benwell, and were overwhelmed by the welcome and hospitality we received. The Eucharist was moving and uplifting. Well done to all who helped to make this such a special event.

One member went on to take footsteps in faith at the diocesan retreat.

Six of us caught the Metro to Sunderland. We walked along to the Minster where we were made very welcome. The stained-glass windows are glorious. We then walked to view the Knife Angel and found it very moving and thought-provoking.

The Knife Angel is a powerful sculpture displayed in Sunderland until 28 June, This awe-inspiring, 27-foot-tall statue, created from over 100,000 surrendered blades, serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of knife crime. there were also Workshops run by the Connor Brown Trust warning young people of the dangers as well as making sure they know what to do and where to go if they need help or advice if they or someone they know is carrying a knife.

Front view of the Knife Angel Sunderland MU banner in the Minster Back view of the Knife Angel


June 2024 Events


All Saints Branch Gosforth

Bishop Helen-Ann joined 23 members and guests to tell us of her "cradle to Bishop of Newcastle" journey.

The afternoon was enjoyed by all. Thank you Bishop Helen-Ann 


Thank you from Leahan at Benwell 2024

Dear Team (if you are receiving this, you are definitely part of the team!),

And what an amazing team this is!  It is safe to say that yesterday can be counted a success.  When we initially thought about volunteering to host the MU Festival, we hoped to be able to coordinate an event that met the following aims:

·         To host a celebration event for Newcastle MU members

·         To share the wonderful work of Benwell Scotswood Parish with members of the MU

·         For members of our local community to be able to share the day with us

All of those aims were certainly achieved yesterday. 

We had approximately 175 people come through the doors of St James’ church and around 125 of those stayed for the service.  We had the full range of Benwell’s diversity present and the full diversity of Mothers’ Union members.  There was a range of ages, from tiny tots to people in their 90’s joining the fun. 

People were able to enjoy crafts, tours of our historic graveyard, midday prayers, view the artwork of the Something Wonderful project, go home with a raffle prize, enjoy some music and a little dance and have a good feast.

We sold around 75kg of cake and 1,225 raffle tickets.  Over 100 sausages and buns were consumed, and around 50 cups of Pimms.  All of this activity, plus donations meant that we raised £908 for Mothers’ Union and the Something Wonderful Project.

And then, we had such a lovely service led by Bishop Helen-Ann and with much input from so many people and not one, but 2 music groups – our very own Benwell music group and the Mothers’ Union choir. 

We have had so much positive feedback about the day, by email, text and verbally.  People coming into the church immediately commented on how lovely it all looked, not something we are perhaps used to hearing about St James!  Here are just a few of the things people have said:

“May I, on behalf of our members, thank you for a wonderful afternoon. You had all obviously worked really hard to put together such an event. It was lovely to mingle with other M.U. Folk and I particularly enjoyed the graveyard tour. The service was a fitting end to the day” (Tynemouth MU)

“It was exactly what the title said -something wonderful did happen in Benwell today and I suspect is happening!!  Well done you and all your team worked so hard!! Everyone was friendly and helpful!” (MU member)


“Well Something Wonderful in Benwell there certainly was. What a wonderful fantastic day.
Where to start I really don't know my head is full. As the Bishop said the church was dark but full of light. I didn't see a glum face we were all very happy. Beautiful refreshments and cake stall. Music spot on and the lovely service by Chris and the branch.  Followed by of course I should have guessed Pimms!  I could go on and on but you get my message. Thank you so much I'm so proud of you all you said that you could come up with the goods and you did 100%.  A day of fellowship and fun! (VP Northumberland)


“What a wonderful day, meeting and sharing with some very special people. Thank you Newcastle MU and all at Benwell” (Provincial President)


Mothers’ Union, Benwell Scotswood Parish and Something Wonderful – a truly tremendous combination!  And made possible by you wonderful lot of people.  Thank you so much for everything that you all did yesterday and in the run up to this event (seen and unseen)!


with lots of love


Something Wonderful in Benwell Diocesan Festival 2024

From our President, Margy

To all MU and Something Wonderful in Benwell.
It really was a very special day and as I wrote to Bishop Helen Ann , when like minded people meet together the companionship and camaraderie makes for a most memorable day.
Thank you all.

From our VP Northumberland: (abridged)

'Well “Something Wonderful” did happen and does happen in Benwell and those 100 or so members travelling from North, East and West will all agree with this as we had a wonderful day.

Our Faith and Policy Unit Coordinator Jackie Moore led a large number of us in Midday Prayer, which we appreciated, in the Sanctuary, a quiet place.

Chaplain Rev Anne Marr among other things had been busy and there were lots of MU print outs to take away and an Area displaying our new venture “Footsteps in Faith”. Four of our banners were displayed at different places.

It was lovely to have our Bishop Helen-Ann with us and she got the job of drawing raffle tickets before she led the service of Eucharist,which was put together by Rev Chris Minchen, Leahan and team

Folks I talked too afterwards really enjoyed the service and their different day. Nancy (94) was emotional and said that she had been inspired by it

Leahan and your members together with others we thank you for giving us a memorable day

Anne Blight VP Northumberland Archdeaconry


May 2024 Events

St Bart's MU visited Howick Hall

Following on from an inspirational talk by Helen Cooper about the Howick Kneelers at our March meeting, we organised a visit to Howick in May to see the kneelers. What a wonderful day we had. Not only did we see the kneelers in all their glory, but Helen and Avril told us about the significance of individual kneelers and why those images had been chosen. For example, in 1914 Howick Hall was the first stately home in the North East to be used as a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers, depicted here in one of the kneelers.  We also heard about the rescue of French fishermen, again remembered on a kneeler. We all had a lovely lunch in the cafe, followed by a relaxing walk around the gardens. A great day out! if you haven't visited Howick, we would definitely recommend it. You will be made most welcome.
Monkseaton MU Celebrate 100 years
Wonderful afternoon celebrating 100 years of the St Peter's branch of the Mothers' Union, with a joyful service and then marvellous tea, joined by MU members from across the deanery, and by the Diocesan President, Margy Tasker-Brown.


Events in April 2024


Diocesan Day

Saturday April 20th dawned bright and sunny, perfect weather for our spring meeting.  For once, my dream that diocesan members attending would outnumber Trustees attending was realised!  We were also joined by one or two valued visitors.

Opening prayers were led by Rev Ruth Stradling our new curate at St Nicholas South Gosforth, our venue, herself a new M.U. member.

Our speaker was Canon Barbara Packer with her presentation on M.U. Overseas.  This gave us an international perspective, we often forget that we are a worldwide organisation.

Rev. Diana Macnaughton, herself a diocesan member led Midday Prayers, followed by our light lunch which seemed to be enjoyed by all.


Canon Barbara Packer with her presentation on MU Overseas.

MU welcomes local experts to speak about ‘The Gift of Life’.2024

Many Mothers’ Union members have personal stories about organ donations, including our MU Secretary, Sandra, whose son recently received a life-giving kidney. So we invited Dr Frankie Dowen, consultant nephrologist at the Freeman Hospital Transplant unit, and Ross Hutchinson, Tyne Tees Weather man (and a live kidney donor) to speak to Council about ‘The Gift of Life’

They presented interesting statistics, addressed FAQs including religious and legal issues around organ donation, and told heart-warming personal stories, including that of local children, Max and Keira. Max and Keira’s Law came into effect in 2020 and is encouraging many more ‘gifts of life’.

Max is now a healthy teenager, having received a life-giving heart aged nine, from Keira, also aged nine, who died in a tragic accident. Keira’s parents take comfort from knowing their daughter’s heart is alive in Max; Max and his new ‘adopted family’ are regularly in touch.

The message to MU was one of hope and the life that can be found through the most difficult of circumstances. Dr Frankie and Ross encourage everyone to have family conversations about organ donation.

MU is happy to present their message to any church groups interested.

Dr Frankie Dowen and Ross Hutchinson (centre) together with MU President Margy Tasker-Brown (Left) and MU Secretary, Sandra (right)

Dr Frankie and Ross speak to MU Council at Kingston Park. 22.03.2024

Watch the Video here

A Card from the King 2024

On hearing the news that our King had been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and was undergoing treatment our Diocesan Secretary, Sandra Davison very kindly sent him a 'Thinking of You' card on behalf of Newcastle Mothers' Union.

Sandra was surprised to receive this card addressed to you all from King Charles 111.



March Events 2024


 Benwell branch members participated in the Mothering Sunday Service and admitted 3 new members.


St Cuthbert's Haydon Bridge with Beltingham and Henshaw Mothers' Union
Any one for a Raffle ticket? New member, Terry manning the Tombola Table
What a well stocked cake stall! Our Branch Chaplain and his wife selling the candles they make.

St Cuthbert's Haydon Bridge with Bellingham and Henshaw Mothers' Union held their Annual "Make a Mother's Day '' Coffee Morning in Bardon Mill Village Hall.  A very enjoyable and successful time for everyone there. The proceeds  will be used to buy MU Gifts of Dignity to empower women around the world and also to help disadvantaged mothers in Newcastle Diocese.

 All those who were in anyway involved with the Refuge Christmas food project were invited for a get together lunch.  Those who could make it enjoyed meeting in a room with a cosy real fire, choice of menu and much chat and laughter.  As a result of that project the First Internet Branch gained two new members (both from St Nicholas Church South Gosforth) who came on board after helping with the packing and transportation of the food, so impressed were they with our work with Harbour Refuge.


Concert & Afternoon Tea - February 2024

The internet branch and St Francis’ MU led a concert and afternoon tea on Saturday 24th February at St Nicholas’ Church in South Gosforth. The Eclectic -Lite Trio with singer Jonathan Worthy entertained us with light classical music and songs from the musicals. Afternoon tea was delicious and shared by all with much chatter and time to catch up for many friends. It was a delightful afternoon with good music, food and friendship. 
 £691 was raised and after expenses the remainder was shared between St Francis and First Internet branches for the Sensory Room at the Refuge and M.U. projects in the Diocese.


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