Bexhill District held their annual Quiet Day at St Mary the Virgin Church in Willingdon on Monday 4th December. Over 40 members attended and we were pleased to be joined by a group of non-members from the parish who were attracted by the flyers. The day, under the title of ”My Soul Magnifies the Lord”, was related to Mary’s Magnificat and was planned and conducted by the Revd Merriel Woodward, one of the assistant clergy from the parish. The day was much appreciated by the participants.
We started with a short morning act of worship to mark the Year of Prayer across the Diocese and then went on to 2 sessions to take us up to lunch time. Both started and finished with suitable music and were followed by a period of quiet and a sheet of thoughts, questions, pictures and readings to help. The first session was called “Making Room for God “and the second “Show your Face”.
After lunch in the Memorial Hall, we returned to the Church for a Eucharist service which incorporated the third session called “Body and Soul”, and more thoughts, music and pictures. All was beautifully combined to produce a peaceful and thoughtful start to Advent which we all appreciated before the extreme activity of the rest of the preparations for the Birth of Jesus.
My thanks to everyone who helped in any way to make this event the success it was.
Three members transferred their membership from other Dioceses - Dorothy, Jill and Val.
More members are waiting to be enrolled but were not able to be at the Service yesterday.
MU members from other Parishes came to support us from St Richard’s Heathfield, St Peter and St Paul’s Hellingly, St Mary’s Willingdon, St Mary’s Old Town, St Mary’s Rye, St Mary’s Westham, St John’s Polegate, Uckfield, Holy Trinity Eastbourne with written messages love, prayers and thoughts from St Richard’s Langney and St Peter’s Bexhill! It was great to have Christine, former Diocesan President, from Rye, to preach on ‘Tabitha - a lady of goodness’ but she also spoke about Mary Sumner, the founder of Mothers’ Union. Emma and Rachel from ‘The Vintage Kitchen’ prepared our delicious lunch of baked potatoes with assorted fillings and salad followed by cheesecake with coulis and assorted fresh fruit. A very happy and memorable occasion! This is the third Branch to open in a month!
8th July - Family Fun Day at Amberley Chalk Pits Museum
Mothering Sunday, 26th March
St Mary’s Walberton had a full church with 80 posies made by members for every lady there. We also enrolled 2 new members into the Mothers’ Union. Bishop Michael, himself a member, welcomed them in because our vicar Tim Ward was away, visiting his mum. Our new members are Maureen, who gave the intercession prayers and Sandy, who helped cook for our fund raising lunch two weeks ago.
We have raised almost £500 for Diocesan projects
Wave of prayer on 28th February
held at Horsham.
Mothers' Union provided the refreshments at the Citizenship Ceremony at Hastings Town Hall on 22nd February. Brenda from Rye, Vikki from Battle and Diocesan President Kathryn are seen here with the Mayor of Hastings, Councillor Judy Rogers and Deputy-Lieutenant, Kathy Gore. Nineteen new British Citizens were welcomed at the Ceremony.
Michele White and Scilla Page
Fifty Five members from Chichester Diocese recently attended the General Meeting in Basingstoke at the Hampshire Court Hotel with about 2000 others from across UK, Ireland and Worldwide! It began with 'The Mothers' Union Story' by Saltmine Theatre Company. A very moving re-enactment of Mary Sumner and how Mothers' Union began 140 years ago. It is likely to be available on DVD. Our Central Chaplain, Bishop Andrew, then led Opening Worship. Lynne, WWP, gave her official address, 'Called into God's Service', a very heartfelt look at how Mothers' Union has made a difference for 140 years. Lynne closed by stating, 'I believe passionately that we have a vibrant and immensely valuable movement'. Members Jenny and Chris from Kent made the Celebration Cake. Bev CEO, Lynne and Andrew cut it together before lunch. After lunch Daniel, Head of Fundraiding and Communication, shared 'Our time to shine'. Have we got the time to make a difference? Everybody wants to be part of something which makes a difference! Please share your stories. Bev then led us in 'A Leap of Faith' and she shared her dreams and inspired us all to be encouraged: 'With God all things are possible". Matthew 19 v 26. Lynne shared with us that next year's theme is 'Faith in Action' and that the General Meeting is in Edinburgh on 29th and 30th September 2017. The afternoon closed with Worship including the prayer written by the Archbishop of Canterbury and singing from the Mary Sumner Choir of Zambia. A truly inspiring 2 days!'
Wednesday 21st September was the first time Mothers' Union served tea and cake after the Citizenship Ceremony in Lewes Town Hall. The ceremonies rotate monthly around East Sussex and are also held in Hastings, Crowborough and Eastbourne. Members really enjoyed the afternoon and were very well received by the Town Hall Staff and our 20 new British Citizens and their families. This is good outreach for Mothers' Union! Big thanks to the team and particularly for the delicious selection of cakes!'
Saturday August 13th Westham Branch held a Garden Party in the home of one of their members and raised £250 for the Mothers' Union Big Summer Appeal.
At the end of March, Janet Webber decided to swim the length of the English Channel, 22 miles, in the outdoor pool at the David Lloyd Club in Eastbourne. Janet says:
"I thought I could do 1 mile/80 lengths each week for 22 weeks, in half mile/40 length sessions. I was soon doing 3x40 lengths a week so finished in 16 weeks, well ahead of schedule. The final half mile session was done in brilliant sunshine with several of my Mothers' Union supporters and friends there to count me down, wave British and French flags and raise a cheer at the end! My church, Mothers' Union and other friends and family were all so supportive and generous that I was able to collect £1,500 for the Eastbourne Family Contact Centre."
Join Mothers' Union and live forever?
Happy 100th birthday to Joan, from West Tarring branch! Joan is the second member of the branch to celebrate her 100th birthday this year.
Monday 27th June
East Blatchington Branch recently visited Nyman's House and Gardens. They had a wonderful day, returning home with armloads of plants.
Horsham Branch had a successful outing to Polesden Lacey on Tuesday 21 June. Fifteen of our members travelled in four cars; 12 National Trust Members; 3 non members had a reduction of £2.50 off the £15 entrance charge. Beautiful building, garden and ideal weather. Some of us wish to go again when the 'Iris Room' and 'Peony Room' are in bloom.
Well done Jane!
Jane Simpson abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower in 3 minutes at 4pm on 19th June. The fastest time of the day. There were Mothers' Union members, Jane's Vicar, Dave, family, friends and neighbours to greet Jane afterwards! Jane has raised £2,508.46 including Gift Aid for Mothers' Union. Jane and Mary Sumner House says a big thank you to everyone who supported Jane. £500 will be sent to Chichester Diocese for AFIA at Jane's request.
(left) Members and friends wait with bated breath!
Saturday June 11th
Bexhill District Mothers' Union members held a coffee morning at Westham this morning. The photographs show some customers and the Rural Dean opening the event.
Spring Council & AGM Saturday 14th May
Kathryn Anderson, Diocesan President, opened the meeting with Colossians 4:2-6. and introduced the keynote speaker, Beverley Jullien, CEO of Mothers' Union.
During the meeting a presentation was made to the previous Diocesan President, Chris Emson who received a standing ovation.
The Diocesan Chaplain, The Reverend Canon David Frost, gave a little insight into the difficulties Chris had faced living, as she does, at the far east of the diocese.
Also during the meeting members were able to see displays of the projects which are organised by branches throughout the diocese.
Diocesan President, Kathryn Anderson, was invited to St Peter's Church, Bexhill, to attend their Mothers' Union Corporate Communion on Wednesday 20th April and to present certificates to (left) Jean Lea Whitaker who has been a Mothers' Union Member for 60 years and to Vivian Powell who has been a Member for 50 years. The Revd David Reynish (on right) led the Service. Afterwards they met in the hall for coffee and cake!
Jane Simpson, a church member from St Mary Magdalene and St Denys parish in Midhurst, is aiming to raise £1,000 for Mothers’ Union after her vicar put an idea into her head. Jane was looking for a way to celebrate the organisation's 140 year anniversary this year when her vicar Rev Dave suggested abseiling.
So far Janet has swum 3 miles with 19 to go!
Lady Day Service at Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield
for Crawley, Brighton & Lewes Districts on Monday 4th April
Diocesan Festival Service
Commissioning of Officers for 2016-2018
at Chichester Cathedral on 2nd April.
A Message from the new Diocesan President
'What a wonderful day it has been today! Our Diocesan Festival Service and Commissioning of Officers for 2016-9 at Chichester Cathedral at 2.30pm. First we enjoyed a Ploughman's lunch at noon, prepared by Chris the former Diocesan President and her helpers from Rye. Hosted by St Paul's Church, near the Cathedral. Thank you to Heather and members of St Paul's for their hospitality on a lovely sunny day. At the Cathedral around 300 Mothers' Union members and guests were gathered from across East and West Sussex for my Commissioning and that of the Trustees, Diocesan Chaplain, Diocesan Secretary and Diocesan Treasurer - my husband, Andy!
I was thrilled to be supported by all the members and my family - son George, daughter Elizabeth, my Mum and Mother-in-law - Vicar Robert and his wife Marian from my home Church of All Saints' Eastbourne, Father Tom and his wife Fiona from my home Branch of St Mary's, Old Town, Eastbourne, Provincial President Nikki, Diocesan President Elizabeth from Portsmouth Diocese, Former Diocesan Presidents of Chichester Chris, Mary and Margaret, Director of Family Support Work Martin, Church Army Officer Graham, Union of Catholic Mothers Joan and Janet, friends from Eastbourne and Dorking and both of HM Lord Lieutenants of East and West Sussex and Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex!
Grateful thanks are due to Bishop Nicholas Reade (Rtd) who presided and preached, and was accompanied by his wife Christine in the congregation.
A 30 strong Mothers' Union choir sang four worship songs beautifully during the Eucharist. I read the first lesson from Acts 4 v 13 to 21 from the pulpit. Thank you to Head Verger Howard and his team and other Cathedral Staff for overseeing the whole Service.
Thank you to all of those who prayed for us today and thank you for all your loving best wishes. I was very moved by the whole occasion!'
Parade of Branch Banners outside the Cathedral after the service
The former Diocesan President, Mrs Chris Emson,
explains the Comper Banner to an interested guest.
The Comper Banner was designed by Sir Ninian Comper for Chichester Diocese Mothers' Union.
The Right Revd Nicholas Reade who presided and preached at the service.
Diocesan Chaplain, Revd Canon David Frost and Mrs Sara Stoner, Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and Patron.
The new Trustee Board
News From Midhurst & Easebourne Branch
Midhurst and Easebourne Mothers’ Union celebrated National Marriage Week by organising a display of photographs in Midhurst Parish Church of wedding couples cutting their wedding cakes. This prompted a lot of interesting comments, even a remark from Mothers’ Union Visitors from Yorkshire who offered their congratulations on the display in the church visitors book. People enjoyed guessing who the couples were! On the final Sunday special prayers were offered in the Intersessions for marriage and the work of the Mothers’ Union, this was then followed at the end of the service by Bubbly and a ‘cup – cake’ wedding cake made by two members. The fake wedding cake loaned for the display was from The Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tearooms. The branch also wished Happy Birthday to two members who were celebrating their 70th and 80th birthdays.
On Monday 29 February an evening flower demonstration by Angie Hyde took
place celebrating 140 years of the Mothers' Union in St Mary's Horsham in aid of
Chichester Diocese AFIA (Away From It All)caravan holidays and promoting
Horsham's new project to support RCSAS (Rape Crisis Surrey and Sussex) with
a general raffle.
We thank the Normandy branch of the WI for providing the drink on entry and the
canapés during the interval and all of the Parish members especially St Mary's for
providing the venue.
Our Diocesan President Kathryn Anderson started the evening with prayer and
the Operations Co-ordinator of RCSAS, a Horsham branch member,
gave a short talk at the start of the interval.
The Horsham branch of the Mothers' Union thank all who supported these worthy
causes and hope the demonstration has inspired others to join the posy making
prior to Mothering Sunday, flower arrangers in our churches and also to visit the
St Mary's as well as the Chichester Flower Festivals.
Worth & Pound Hill Branch met from
1.00pm - 2.00pm. Twelve members met in one of the Meeting Rooms at St Barnabas church; they began with a CD of ’O Lord hear my prayer' (Taize) then the lighting of the Mothers’ Union candle and after an opening prayer, sang ‘God is working his purpose out’ followed by Readings, poems, prayers for & information about our Linked Dioceses and lit a candle for each country before praying for them.
Bishop of Guinea, Jacques Boston in red and the Bishop of Freetown,
Thomas Wilson in purple.
Former Diocesan President, Chris Emson with both Bishops and the new Diocesan President, Kathryn Anderson.
The service and blessing was conducted by the Rector of Rye and also MU Diocesan Chaplain, The Revd Canon David Frost (pictured with the couples). After the service an engagement cake was cut and a bottle of bubbly opened.
News from Crawley District
35 of Crawley District Members arrived at St Barnabas, Pound Hill, this year for the
annual Shriving Service.The service was taken by our Curate, Rev’d Steve Burston,
who had never been faced with so many Mothers’ Union folk before but he soon
relaxed and put everyone at their ease. Sallyanne Waller, who looks after our
District’s Indoor Members, read the Lesson & Psalm, the Intercessions were written
and read by Jacky Hemsley, the outgoing head of Faith & Policy. Branch Leader of
Worth & Pound Hill, Mary Fry, and the outgoing District Treasurer, Joan Tick,
were Chalice Assistants, all in all showing a lovely District feeling of fellowship in the
year of the “Celebration of our Faith”.
During the service, stones, which had been issued with the service sheets, were
placed in the Font and washed as a symbol of cleansing, shriving, giving us all
a ‘fresh’ start.
It was wonderful to welcome Kathryn Anderson, our new D.P. to this service as it
gave her and us an opportunity to get to know each other, thank you for making the
long trek from East Sussex, Kathryn.
Following the service we all gathered for coffee and pancakes in the Pastoral
Centre attached to St Barnabas Church, this enabled everyone to relax, have time to
talk, renew old friendships and make new ones.
Crawley District wishes everyone a blessed Lent.
At our AGM, we presented thank you gifts to our outgoing Branch Leader, Gillian Hughes (recovering from a recent operation) and to our secretary, Shirley Squires.
The Eucharist and AGM was attended by 20 members and the programme for the coming year was presented.
We enter this Triennial without a Branch Leader, planning to share the task among our committee members and other willing volunteers. Meanwhile Anne Stamper has agreed to be our lead contact and Rosemary Norris is our Secretary. Our next few meetings will see presentations on life in Malaysia, ethnic clothing, the work of Emmaus and a Lent talk from Revd Frank Fox Wilson.
On Saturday 19th September Eastbourne Family Contact Centre welcomed two local MPs, Huw Merriman for Bexhill and Battle who commented
'I support fully the work which the dedicated Volunteers at the Eastbourne Family Contact Centre do for our community. It is heartbreaking for children and parents to lose contact with each other when relationships break down. The centre provides the supervision to permit a parent and child to spend precious time with each other. I was moved when speaking to the parents as to how much of a difference the centre has made to their lives. I hope others will consider using this vital service if faced with a loss of contact'.
Also present was Caroline Ansell for Eastbourne who commented ‘It was a privilege to visit the Eastbourne Family Contact Centre and get to meet the volunteers who do such a great job.
The work they do is unsung in many ways but vital in helping children stay in contact with their relatives through often difficult times. As I was leaving there was a special moment when I caught a glimpse of the delight on a child’s face as she ran towards her Father – in that moment the proof was there of the need and value of such Centres. I look forward to working closely with them in the future’.
Also present was Contact Centre Patron, Eastbourne District Family Judge, John Robinson who commented 'Thank you for providing, on a voluntary basis, a crucial facility to aid the family justice system in the Greater Eastbourne area'.
Chair of Management Committee, Daphne Burton,
in white top; Coordinator, Kathryn Anderson, in top with ‘MU’ badge; Caroline Ansell MP; Huw Merriman MP and Judge John Robinson surrounded by 8 of the Volunteers.
Kathryn Anderson, Caroline Ansell MP,
Huw Merriman MP and Daphne Burton.
Here is a photo of the Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Janet Cole, when she visited the Contact Centre on Saturday 20th June, at the end of Mothers' Union Awareness Week. She did not know anything about the Centre and was very interested to become more informed. Unfortunately she could not come to the Celebration, having originally said yes. Her driver took several photos and has posted them on the Mayor's Facebook page.
Also pictured are Kathryn Anderson,
Co-ordinator, and Daphne Burton, Chairman of the Management Committee.
Horsham branch visited Shoreham-by-Sea branch where they enjoyed a guided tour of the Church of St Mary de Haura, Shoreham, as well as tea & the opportunity to catch up with old friends.
Bishop Stephen of Nyahururu was appointed bishop in 2014 .A group of Mothers' Union members visited him when they travelled to Kenya in February 2014 where they also met his wife Mama Eunice.
Bishop Stephen was invited to attend a new Bishop's course in Canterbury in January 2015 and our Diocesan Oversea Council thought it would be a good opportunity to invite Mama Eunice to join her husband after his training for a two week holiday. Having travelled for 12 hours on her own for the first time Mama Eunice and Bishop Stephen were delivered to our Diocesan President's home on a very cold day straight from Heathrow. The heating was up full blast plus a gas fire and hot water bottles but still they felt cold! It took a few days for them to adjust; Bishop Steven had never seen snow or thick frost.
The Diocese has companion links in Kenya in Nakuru, Kericho and Nyahururu and also some in West Africa. These were set up in the 1960’s and whenever possible visits are exchanged.
Chris took them to visit Beckley School where they made very welcome and were entertained by the children. Hopefully they will be able to establish a link with a school of similar ages soon. They visited Sussex Coast College and met up with Jude, the Family Support Worker. They travelled to London, it was the first time they had travelled by train, and visited Mary Sumner House, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall, 10 Downing Street and Trafalgar Square.
They were invited to lunch with Bishop Martin and later toured the Cathedral. Later during the visit they stayed in Hurstpierpoint where the parish entertained them. Hurstpierpoint is the birth place of Bishop Hannington, a figure known to them, there is a school and a lake named after him in Nyahururu. They spent time with the Bishop of Horsham and took part in the Ashing at Gatwick airport.
It was a great opportunity to repay some of the hospitality that they had lavished on us when we visited in 2014 and we pray that we will be able to continue our link.
The Headteacher of Beckley School, Bishop Steven and Mama Eunice
National Marriage Week
After a walk around the grounds members met up for a cream tea in The Orangery
Eastbourne Family Contact Centre
Eastbourne Family Contact Centre has been managed by Mothers’ Union (MU) for the last ten years, taking over from the WRVS. Eastbourne Family Contact Centre is one of our Diocesan Projects and we are very grateful to our members who provide a lot of our financial support. In the last year we have gratefully received local donations from Rotary, Inner Wheel, Lions and Waitrose. Two members cycled from Rochester Cathedral to Chichester Cathedral completing 98 miles over the 2 days 24th and 25th May 2014, staying overnight in Cuckfield and calling in at 9 MU Branches on the way arriving in time for Evensong at 3.30pm in Chichester Cathedral despite being delayed an hour when Susan had a puncture on our way to Walberton! Sponsor money that has been collected so far is £999 plus the gift aid. The money is going to be shared between the Contact Centre and MU projects in Kenya that Kathryn had the privilege to visit in February this year. The Management Team decided this year to have a Focus Week on the Contact Centre from June 15th – Father’s Day - until Saturday 21st June. It began on 10th June at 3.40pm when I was given ten minutes live air time on Radio Sussex, over the telephone, on Allison Ferns’ programme to talk about the Contact Centre and the Focus Week. One of the Volunteers, Val, wrote a special selection of prayers for the week and these were shared around the Diocese and read at Branch Meetings and in Churches.
On Tuesday 17th June a few members manned a stand raising the profile of the Contact Centre from 8am until 2.45pm in the Arndale Shopping Centre in Eastbourne.
Up until last year we had an annual AGM but on Thursday 19th June we decided to have a Celebration! as a climax to the week. This was an opportunity to reflect on the past year at the Contact Centre and thank God for His provision and look forward with anticipation to the year ahead. We invited and are very grateful to Louis Ruddlesden, Service Development Coordinator from NACCC, who was our guest speaker. He gave a very informative talk to a large and attentive audience about the training, online process (Eastbourne is one of the pilot centres) and future of NACCC’s work. The afternoon concluded with cream tea and cakes! The next day some members manned a stand in Langney Shopping Centre, just down the road from St Luke’s, from 8.30am until 2.45pm. Finally on Saturday 21st June before the Contact session began we were visited by our Patron, local Family Judge, Judge John Robinson.
non-member forming the Group.
Pictured right are Estelle Warriner,
Daphne Mabbitt, Jeannie Watten and Joan Elkin with the Rector of St Mary's Church, Storrington, The Revd Malcolm Acheson.
Bexhill District Advent Quiet Day
The Quiet Day was designed to be suitable for people at various stages of their faith journey, to help people not only to deepen their relationship with God but also to discover more about themselves. Our vicar, Fr David, chose “Mosaics of Mercy” as the theme for the day.
The morning began with an opening worship, using a simple candle-lighting ritual. Two short talks suggested a way of developing a daily opportunity for personal reflection, and invited us to make sense of our experience, those things that draw or drive us, which can sometimes be hard. Our lives can seem like bits of broken pottery or coloured tiles – but reflection and focus can transform them into something beautiful for God. The reflection sheets offered us the opportunity to individually reflect on the way God’s presence, leading and influence, has been apparent in our life’s mosaic and how our life intersects with the lives of others around us, in the past and the present.
People were invited to remain in Church during their times of reflection, to use the prayer room or wander outside in the garden. There was also a range of art materials available in the hall to suit people who prefer visual responses, who like to use colour and drawing to express their journey with God, or who prefer some active options.
The mosaic theme was carried through to the afternoon Advent service as, interspersed with Advent songs and prayers, we looked at the Mothers Union Badge and The Advent Wreath as mosaics.
Thousands of tiny pieces of blue and gold funky foam were used to create a cross (a symbol of our faith and a reminder that Christ is at the centre of all we do in MU), a world map (a symbol of our worldwide organisation) and the MU lettering (a reminder that we are a circle of friends and family). These three pieces, put together, formed a mosaic of our MU badge.
Then, we were reminded of the symbolism of each component of the Advent Wreath. Using the world map as a base, everyone at the service was invited to help make up our mosaic, to add a piece of greenery, a fir cone, or a candle to make up our Advent Wreath. As with all mosaics, all the separate pieces, put together in the right context, become part of something special and enable us to see the whole picture.
St Richards Branch, Langney
Fun for all the family
Over 600 people flocked to the Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum near Lewes to join the Mothers’ Union for their fun day Trains, Cranes and Automobiles.
On a day spent dodging the showers families of all ages had fun exploring the woodland, watching the ducklings, riding on the train and enjoying the company of each other. The children enjoyed the adventure playground and splashing in the puddles caused by the recent rain.
The day concluded with everyone packing the marquees for a short service led by Diocesan Chaplain, Revd Peter Clark.
The day had a teddy bear theme so families had a special teddy trail to follow, had the opportunity to have a go on the teddy tombola and took their teddy on the train (which got them on half fare).
Chris Emson, Diocesan President said “The rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of everyone who joined in another fantastic Family Fun Day. We found Bentley to be a wonderful venue with lots for families to do together. Thank you to everyone who worked very hard to make the day such a success”.
Members at St. Richards enjoying a cream tea to raise funds for projects .