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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Mothers’ Union Activities in August 2016

by Michael Ford last modified 13 Sep, 2016 02:29 PM

If you were thinking that MU Activities came to a halt for the month of August – read on!

Here are some of the things that have been happening around the Diocese.

For me, the month began with a visit to Erlestoke Prison to meet with the Reverend Sue Ascough. I am most grateful to Sandra Gamble for arranging this visit. Together with Sandra, Sue told us about her work in the prison and briefed us on the organisation of the Angel Tree Project. This was an incredibly interesting and worthwhile visit and it was so good of Sue to give up so much of her time to speak to us – thank you.

The BIG DAY for MU is 9 August when we remember the life and work of our foundress, Mary Sumner. I am very happy to report that the celebrations for our foundress this year were splendid in every sense. On Sunday 7 August I was invited by members to join them in their Festival Eucharist in the Minster Church of Wimborne followed by delicious tea and celebration cake. The Service marked the culmination of a whole weekend devoted to celebrating the family. Thank you Wimborne for your very warm welcome.

On Monday 8 August, West Lavington and The Cheverells held a celebratory Eucharist and tea for Mary Sumner Day in All Saints’ Church. Members had joined in from the surrounding areas including Devizes and Rowde. This was a very joyous occasion and it was a delight for me to have been invited to join you at such a festive time. I take away happy memories of you all – thank you.

Mary Sumner Day dawned and I was off to visit Calne MU who were joined by Royal Wootton Bassett and Derry Hill in their celebrations for our 140th Anniversary and our foundress’s special day in the Parish Church of St Mary The Virgin. The day was celebrated in style as we wore our posh frocks and hats for a memorable Service followed by tea and, of course, that very special cake. Happy Mary Sumner Day to you all and thank you so much.

The next item on the agenda was our Away From It All Holiday (AFIA – 13 to 20 August) at the Sidholme Hotel in Sidmouth. Ian and Wilma Bromilow had worked tirelessly in organising and arranging this wonderful holiday for our needy families in the Diocese. This year, the holiday was blessed with beautiful weather and a wonderful team of 13 volunteers, who provided hospitality and support to our families. A full programme of activities had been organised which included crafts, games, sports, trips to the beach, a visit to the donkey sanctuary, and a thoroughly entertaining evening spent with Professor Bumble! The holiday was a fantastic experience and my heartfelt thanks go to Ian and Wilma and to all who were involved. To see the families unwind and to hear the children’s laughter was just so poignant.

Several of us went along to The Salisbury Women’s Refuge Garden Party which was held on an extremely hot 25 August.  I am delighted to report that our links with the Refuge remain as strong as ever and it was a great pleasure and privilege to be with you for your Garden Party – thank you.

Further afield, it was good to see many of you at the Open Days held in early August at Mary Sumner House, London. The Open Days provide a welcome opportunity to meet with our President, Lynne Tembey, our Chief Executive, Bev Jullien and members of the staff at our Headquarters. This year we heard from Lynne about her recent visit to Rwanda where she celebrated the 50th Anniversay of MU in that country attending many wonderful parades and Services.

Looking ahead, I hope to see you at Winchester Cathedral on Thursday 22 September for the 140th Anniversary Festival Service for all our members. I also hope you will also be able to come along to the AGM at Basingstoke on the following day. Yes, it’s September already – where did August go??

Rosie Stiven


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