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 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 email@example.com.
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!