Notes from Rosie Stiven - Diocesan President
My goodness, what a summer we’re having! Our members have been really going to town supporting our national fund-raising ‘Summer of Hope Appeal’ in order to provide funds for Mothers’ Union projects worldwide. There have been Bottle Stalls at Carnivals, Garden Parties and more tea and cakes served to friends and supporters than would be believed! Thank you all so much for the tremendous support and generosity you have shown this summer. I look forward to hearing about the grand total raised by the Appeal from our CEO later in the year. Talking of teas, did you know that Mothers’ Union had teacups and saucers with our logo? Well, I discovered this when I spent a delightful afternoon visiting Preston Branch. The tea tastes so much better when drunk from a Mothers’ Union teacup!
Of course, summer is the perfect time for those delicious strawberry teas and there were plenty to be had at the Bishop’s Garden Party held in aid of the Sudan Appeal. My thanks to Sheila Soper and Sheila Crone who looked after the Mothers’ Union stall at the Garden Party that afternoon. It was good to have so many visitors come by and ask about our work worldwide.
There have been many big events going on throughout the Diocese and I thank Brenda Birt and her team for, once again, running the children’s games at the Rotary Club’s ‘Big Lunch’ at Sturminster Newton. I hear that much fun was enjoyed by all at this event!
Talking of big events, Mothers’ Union was invited, along with several other local charities, to have a Stand in the Cathedral Cloisters as part of the ‘Thy Kingdom Come Beacon Event’ on Pentecost Sunday. Thank you to Carole Long, Laura Kachale and Rosemary Allen who gave up their Sunday afternoon to help with the Stand and to speak with our visitors. This was a truly ecumenical event and it was wonderful to be invited to take part. I will never forget the pure delight of seeing the evening light shine through all those wonderful doves in the Cathedral as the Service drew to a close.
We seem to have been very busy with our Mothers’ Union Stand this summer! With the helping hands of Joanna Woodd and Laura Kachale, once again, Mothers’ Union was represented at this year’s Clergy Day held at Bryanston School. Thank you helping hands and it was great to have a presence at such an important event.
Just in case you thought it was all cream teas and Stands at big events, there has been some serious ‘stuff’ going on as well. Our MULOA – that is Mothers’ Union Listening, Observing and Acting project, has been launched. Laura and I have led a number of sessions with Wilton and Laverstock Branches and our Chaplain, Revd Jacqui Clark has also led a session at St John’s, Upper Studley. The sessions are proving to be highly informative, as well as being a bit of fun – as we learn more from our members about what it means to be part of Mothers’ Union and how we can all make our wonderful organisation more relevant for the 21st Century. I will be giving MULOA feedback to the Mothers’ Union Conference in Swanwick at the end of July.
Our mobile home at Rockley Park, Poole is in full swing and our members have been so busy collecting and making Teddie Bears. The Teddies will be there to greet and be given to the children as they arrive at the beginning of their stay and will all find new homes with our visitors. Here are just a few of those lucky Teddies about to set off on their holidays with our families!
The Court Café team has been really busy over the last few months and the fruits of all that they do in the Salisbury Law Courts can be seen in the photograph. Funds raised through the Court Café have been used to provide toys for the Families’ reception area and games equipment for the Family Days at Guys Marsh Prison. This is a significant contribution to our work with families who are caught up in the criminal justice system – my thanks and congratulations to the Court Café team.
Prayer is at the heart of what it is to be a member of Mothers’ Union – whether we engage in personal, private prayer; share in the fellowship of our midday prayers or come together in our Councils, Deaneries, Branches and Prayer and Fellowship Groups and say our Mothers’ Union Prayer or Mary Sumner’s Personal Prayer. As it happened, in May, our Service of Holy Communion, held in the Cathedral, coincided with a Trustees’ Meeting. So it was really very special to use the midday break in our meeting as an opportunity to worship together in the Cathedral. The Revd Tina Fox presided. After a truly inspiring Service, I think we all felt refreshed and re-charged for the remaining afternoon session of the meeting.
In addition, I have had the privilege of joining Valerie Cox and fellow members for a Service of Holy Communion at St. Mark’s Church, Talbot Village, and with Wilton Branch for a Service of Thanksgiving for our foundress, Mary Sumner, in St Peter’s Church, Fugglestone. Also, I joined Wilton Branch for a very pleasant afternoon spent visiting the Abbey Church of St Mary and St Melor in Amesbury.