Updated 30 September 2019

   Linked with Pacong - South Sudan, Kutigi - Nigeria, Southern Nyanza - Kenya, Ijesha North - Nigeria, Karnataka Central - South India

President’s Report

September 2019

I hope you have all enjoyed some of the sunshine this summer.  The weather is certainly showing signs of climate change with record temperatures and unseasonal heavy rain. We hear about the burning of the Amazonian rain forest in Brazil and the fact that our oceans and rivers are full of plastic rubbish.  We can all do our bit to help preserve God’s wonderful creation – by recycling, avoiding single use-plastic,  thinking about our use of resources in the home and supporting our local churches to become Eco-Churches.

Project Development:  (Previously Action & Outreach).  I am pleased to see some new initiatives beginning to develop with branches becoming more involved in local work.  Two members from Hanham branch visited their local Nursing Home. They were able to do some craft work with five ladies and lead them in a time of prayer, bible reading and discussion.   They were also able to spend some time with a past member of MU who was confined to her room.  They are looking forward to going back for another session.  If you want to start something like this, do invite Rachel Williamson, our Project Development Co-ordinator to one of your meetings to discuss possibilities.

Knitted items:  Just a reminder that we are no longer collecting the T shape knitted jumpers as children feel the style marks them as recipients of charity.  However we are grateful for all the knitted goods we receive – we can usually find a home for most things – so keep those knitting needles clicking! You can bring your gifts to Autumn Council in October (see below).

Autumn Council: You are all warmly invited to the Autumn Council Meeting on Saturday 19th October at Marshfield Community Centre from 11.00 am. Teas & coffees served from 10.30 am.  Please look out for copies of the Agenda and Reports which will be circulated at the beginning of October. We will be hearing about all our projects and it’s a good opportunity for you to bring items to go to projects: tea and coffee (for Friends for Parents), rice and toiletries (for Refugees), household cleaning materials, toothbrushes and toothpaste (for Kingsmeadow) and knitting. If you’re unable to bring them then, Rachel Williamson is willing to collect (07718 089474).

AFIA:  We were able to send eight coaches to Weston-super-Mare this summer – two more than usual because Bristol West Deanery were able to fill a couple of coaches with needy families. We are also at last fulfilling our promise to Grenfell Tower survivors and we are sending £2000 to “Cornwall Hugs Grenfell”, a small organisation which is providing holidays for those affected by the fire – survivors and firemen.  We have also received two requests from families in need of holidays and we will be discussing their applications at our next Trustee meeting.  If we are to continue with this wonderful work of providing days out and holidays to people who have so little then we do need to keep our AFIA fund topped up, so please consider this when donating money from your branches to our Projects.  


Raffle: I know some of you were unhappy to receive books of raffle tickets to sell just before Christmas 2018.  All concerns were passed on to Mary Sumner House but as the raffle had proved to be successful in raising funds it will be repeated this year – but at the end of October, not Christmas. If you don’t want the books, send them back and it will be recorded not to send them in future.  But remember you can sell them to people outside MU which gives you an opportunity to talk about what we do. This year’s raffle will focus on ‘protecting peace at Christmas’ and is raising funds to support the women of South Sudan (read about it in the Autumn Families First) – and one of our link Diocese is Pacong in South Sudan..

The theme for 2020 is “Building hope and confidence." This has been placed at the heart of our call to support individuals and families to transform their lives. So our themed resources for 2020 aim to help us live out our faith to build hope and confidence in ourselves as well as those we support, and to nurture our faith as we continue to walk forward in step with God.

Harvest Appeal:  Bev Julienne, our Chief Executive, writes: “We have been made aware that a number of members are concerned in case our new Harvest Appeal is a scam. This is not the case – this is our genuine appeal for 2019. It had a free post envelope inside and our registered charity number is on all documentation.” Contact me if you have any concerns about this.  Please do not feel that you have to support this appeal and if you do not want to receive mailings of this sort from Mary Sumner House, then please do let them know.

Amazon ‘Smile’:  If you use Amazon, can I recommend that you go to ‘Amazon Smile’ on the website and choose Mothers’ Union as the charity you wish to support.  Then a small contribution goes to MU from every purchase you make.

Wave of Prayer: A reminder that we are part of the Wave of Prayer 7-9 September. Even though we do not have much information about our link Dioceses, it is important that we are faithful in praying for them – God knows their needs.  The good news is that Bishop Joseph, the Bishop of our link Diocese of Pacong, South Sudan, and his wife, Rev Helena Ding, will be in Bristol for 3 days before the Lambeth Conference in July 2020.  

Uganda 50:  Bristol Diocese is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of our link with the Church of Uganda from 5-12 October 2019.  We are hoping that 7 Bishops and their wives from Uganda might be staying in Bristol and we have arranged to take the wives to visit Mary Sumner House on Monday 7 October.

I do enjoy visiting branches so please do keep the invitations coming.  I can come as your speaker or just be there to meet members.   I do thank God for all that you members do in the name of Mothers’ Union and I do pray that God will bless you during the coming months in your prayers and your actions.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.   Isaiah 61:3

Contact details:

Aurea Hart: Tel: 01225 891453 email: bristoldiocesemu@gmail.com

Rachel Williamson: Mob. 07718 089474 email: Rachel_mary24@outlook.com

16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence: Once again we plan to meet outside the Cathedral at 10.30 am on Monday 9th December with our placards during the 16 Days of Activism and attend Eucharist in the Cathedral at noon.

The Clewer Initiative against modern-day slavery:  A reminder that the MU is in partnership with the Clewer Initiative and our task is to be aware of the 136,00 potential victims of modern day slavery “hidden from plain sight” in the UK.  If you suspect that some workers are being exploited you can call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 and pass on any concerns, or in an emergency situation you should call the police on 999. Also anyone with a smartphone can use the Safe Car Wash App.  

There’s a story on the Mothers’ Union website  https://www.mothersunion.org/ describing how some MU members in Manchester provided a party for slavery survivors who had been placed in a safehouse in their area. They provided the venue in a church, some simple food and some music and invited staff from the safehouse, volunteers and survivors.

Thy Kingdom Come …  Here’s a picture of two of our Trustees, Linda Rawlings and Jacky Fredrickson, with our Worldwide President, Sheran Harper at Coventry Cathedral.