Christian Care for families worldwide
Aims & Objects
The aim of the MU is to strengthen and preserve marriage and family life through Christianity. In order to carry out this aim, our objectives are:
- To uphold Christ's teaching on the nature of marriage and promote its wider understanding.
- To encourage parents to bring up their children in the faith and life of the Church.
- To maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service.
- To promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children.
- To help those whose family life has met with adversity
The Mothers' Union is a Christian organisation which promotes the well-being of families worldwide.
We achieve this by:
- developing prayer and spiritual growth in families,
- studying and reflecting on family life and marriage and their place in society,
- resourciing our members to take practical action to improve conditions for families, both nationally and in the communities in which they live
The Mother' union at All Saint'
There has been a branch of the Mothers' Union at All Saints' for over 100 years. (We celebrated our centenary in 2006). The branch is the largest in the Halifax & Calder Valley Deanery. We have about 60 members of wide ranging ages. With such a large branch I could not manage without the help and support of a dedicated and hard working committee, as well as the members who attend and support the meetings and events which we organise.
What does it mean to be a member of The Mothers' Union? As members of the Mothers' Union we are concerned with everything that affects family life and being able to support each other when we experience not only the joys of family life, but also in times of disappointment and adversity. The Mothers' Union aims to encourage parents to bring up their children in the faith and life of the Church.
We meet once a month, usually on the last Thursday, for worship, prayer and fellowship, usually with a guest speaker. We have lots of fun, the meetings are never boring. We have craft evenings, an occasional outing, share a meal together. Members also have the opportunity to meet other members at various events organised both locally and nationally.
National and Global Concerns
We raise money for various Mothers' Union projects not only locally but world-wide. It is a privilege to be part of a family which stretches around the globe (the Mothers' Union has more than 3.6 million members), with members from all kinds of backgrounds that share our commitment to marriage and family life. The Mothers' Union, brings many issues to the attention of politicians and representatives at the United Nations, such as child and world poverty, HIV / Aids related issues, the list is endless.
The Mother's Union as part of our Church Family
Outside the Mothers' Union, some of our members are responsible for organising and running the three Parent andToddler Groups that meet each week during term time at Skircoat Green and Copley. Others help by preparing refreshments for the mothers and toddlers. Others are involved in the Sunday Club and the CrÃƒÂ¨che; are members of the prayer ministry team; another three of our members organise the coffee morning held each Thursday at the church hall; others belong to house groups and help in the preparation and serving of meals in the kitchen at Alpha courses. Our members have many skills which contribute to the smooth running of our church here at All Saints'.
We are always looking for new members! If you are interested and would like to know more, please have a word with me.
Sarah Killingback (Branch leader)
Branch Leader's Report. 24th November 2011
Branch Leader's Annual Report 24th November 2011.
Where faith is weak... we are called to strengthen
Where there is isolation... we are called to fellowship
Where the vulnerable suffer.... we are called to protect
When marriage is discredited.... we are called to promote
When families fracture... we are called to support
Where relationship is needed.... we are called to encourage
When communities hurt.... we are called to heal
The 4 million plus members of the MU in 83 countries share one heartfelt vision, as Rosemary Kempsall (the Worldwide President of the MU) says in her blog - to bring about a world where God's love is shown through loving, respectful and flourishing relationships. This is not a vague hope, but a goal we actively pursue through prayer, programmes, policy work and community relationships. By supporting marriage and family life, especially through times of adversity, we tackle the most urgent needs challenging relationships and communities.
The theme for 2011 has been Faithful Relationship.
We are a grassroots movement that looks forward to, and actively works towards, a world where love and respect are the hallmarks of relationships. To this end we campaign to ensure children are protected within society. We speak out against domestic violence. We work with some of the most marginalised communities in the world to eradicate inequalities brought about through poverty, ignorance of rights and lack of opportunity.
During Sudan's national referendum in January, the MU worked with the Episcopal Church of Sudan to raise awareness of the issues concerned with the division of north and south to promote a peaceful electoral process and encourage women to use their vote. In the UK, the MU issued a guide to the policies of the political parties relating to the aims and objects of the MU prior to our general election.
2011 has been a challenging year for the MU as a whole. Whilst core programmes and commitments have been maintained, falling revenues and poor currency exchange rates have heavily affected the funding of individual project grants and the travel costs of the 300 Community Development Coordinators. However, our branch was able to send £200 to help replenish the General Fund. Our Diocesan President, Monica Dodds wrote and thanked us. She said: "in the voluntary sector money is needed to keep the show on the road and one of the strengths of MU is realising that we are all in it together... Thank you to all of you for all the work you do in supporting this wonderful organisation we belong to".
During the summer, the worsening famine in East Africa prompted us to send £200 from the branch to the Special Relief Fund. In 2010 the MU sent £36,500 to facilitate relief in Burundi, Cameroon, Malawi, Nigeria and Sudan.
Most of the MU's programmes, however, are designed to enable communities to become more self-reliant and less dependent on relief funding. In Masasi in Tanzania, the MU has implemented a sustainable farming and food security programme. Training in new methods of farming paid dividends in 2010 with a dramatic increase in harvest yields. The Family Life Programme in Uganda is another such programme and will be our fund-raising focus next year.
Our fundraising focus has been closer to home this year. We were asked to use plates found during a tidy up at the Minster to raise money for the Diocese Away From It All Holidays programme and for our 18 affiliated groups. It was decided that the affiliated groups as a whole would get the first Thousand Pounds of any funds raised with the remainder going towards AFIA.
AFIA provides holidays and day trips to families under stress, financial or otherwise. Anyone can nominate a family for an AFIA holiday but applications need to be endorsed by a clergy person or a social worker. 9 holidays have been organised so far this year for 15 adults and 17 children with 4 holidays already in the planning stages for next year.
We had a range of interesting ideas from the sale of cards and cupcakes, hats and herbs to a quiz and a competition. Thanks to the generosity of everyone attending our branch meetings throughout the year we will have at least £200 to send.
During the year our branch members contributed toiletries and toys for the bags given to new mothers at New Hall Prison, and to mothers and children forced to stay in refuges around the Diocese. This is an ongoing need. Some of us have also been knitting teddies for the comfort of children suffering trauma both locally and abroad.
Other projects in the Diocese include the Tea Bar and other activities at New Hall Prison, The Wakefield Teenage Project which Marlene Bramley told us a bit about this summer and the Grub on No Grant recipe books which were a hit at Huddersfield University again this September. We have a couple of copies in church. The suggested donation is £1 and I can get hold of more if necessary..
The Friendship Group at the St Augustine's Centre is close to our hearts and continues to be much appreciated. The Fork to Plate project produced beans, strawberries and gooseberries this year. Cafe Wednesday has been set up as a social enterprise and can provide catering locally. As I mentioned last month, a few of the regular volunteers for the friendship lunches on Thursdays have had to step down. Fresh volunteers are always welcome.
This might be a good time to mention the lovely Mothers' Union prayer cards that one of our erstwhile committee members commissioned from Louise here at All Saints. They proved so popular that the Diocese asked her to make some to send to Indoor Members and I believe that even more are being ordered to send further afield.
Speaking of further afield and of prayer, our Wave of Prayer meeting was again very well supported. Wakefield took over from Truro on the 1st of September and handed over to Worcester on the 6th. Within the Deanery we passed on to Bradshaw and as we came to the end of our half an hour of prayer, we thought of our sisters up at St John's. It is comforting to know that there is always someone in the Mothers Union praying for others whatever time of the day or night. I should point out also that the MU website has many prayer resources. If you lose your Families Worldwide prayer diary or just want some other inspiration, get online!
We have some news from our linked dioceses. Willochra in Australia has a new links officer, Jan Tiver. The President of the Adelaide Diocese, Elizabeth Ingram, visited the UK in June and met with Monica Dodds and Molly Batty. In Tamale, Ghana, Bishop Jacob Ayeebo's wife is attempting to reinvigorate links with the diocese and, of course, the Bishop of Soroti and his wife Florence. the MU President of Soroti, visited Rastrick in October, bringing news from Uganda.
Last year I told you a bit about the "Bye, Bye Childhood" campaign.The launch was well received with a lot of positive press and our CEO Reg Bailey was asked by the Government to head an Independent Review into the matter. Mr Bailey met with the Prime Minister, Sarah Teather, Minister for Children and other stakeholders in October to review the progress made on his June recommendations, and to evaluate what still needs to be implemented to achieve the goals of the report 'Let Children be Children.'
He said: "In June I set out what I believed were the best measures to protect children from commercialisation and premature sexualisation. Giving parents' confidence to be parents, to set boundaries, and find support from industry and regulators would, I hoped, create more space for children to be themselves - without the constant bombardment of sexualised images and pressure to own the most desirable products and clothes. It seemed to me, however, that all responsible adults have a role to play in creating a more family friendly society."
The launch of 'www.ParentPort.org.uk a website for parents set up by the UK's media regulators will help to enforce standards across the media to protect children from inappropriate material. The news that major internet providers will now require customers to 'opt - in' to receive adult content, rather than the less effective 'opt-out' control that currently exists has to be a step forward. However, we would like to see more providers follow suit.
There remain a number of recommendations that are more of a challenge to implement for example music video ratings and the sexualised 'wallpaper(mentioned in the Bailey Report) that affects children outside the home.
Mothers' Union members will continue to campaign for and promote a culture and culture-based values that do not define a person by what they wear or what they own, but one that respects everyone equally and without discrimination".
I see from Rosemary Kempsall's blog (from where I got the above news) that a "Bye Bye Childhood" campaign has been launched by the MU in New Zealand.
I would like to end by thanking the committee for all their hard work this year as we look forward to the joys and challenges of the year ahead. Sarah Killingback.