Mothers Union
All Ireland


“Valuing children as children not consumers”

Mothers’ Union’s campaign, ‘Bye Buy Childhood’ is entering its second phase! Our research into the commercialisation of childhood has been updated and we will be launching our new report and engagement pack on 19th March 2015
Click on our Resources Page to learn about our Postcard Campaign or visit: www.byebuychildhood.org

Mothers’ Union Annual Review 2015/2016
Annual Review 2015-2016 The Mothers’ Union Annual Review gives a short overview...
2017 Wave of Prayer
Our theme this year is “Faith in Action” and, as we look at the...
2017 Theme Resources
All-Ireland Mothers' Union Accounts
Hand in Hand: Enjoying faith as a family
Hand in Hand This resource is intended both for those...
Mothers’ Union Enterprises
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Global Village Fair
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Sewing & Knitting Patterns
Prayer Mothers’ Union sew 'Snugglies' ...
A Woman’s Psalm
O God, I am a woman in a violent world let me know your peace.
Let blind rage born of despair not find its target in me.
Let the value of my life not be reduced to the jewellery I wear.
Let my family life not end that life in a gang may begin.
Let rape not violate my body nor anger ravage my soul.
Let fear not enter my heart but caution sharpen my mind.
Let the light of Christ so shine in me that I may reflect your love.
Let the joy that the apostles knew infuse my spirit and alleviate my pain.
Let Love who suffered and died on the cross find resurrection and new life in the world you love.
God, I am a woman in a violent world - let me know your peace.

Elizabeth Kaeton, (from Lifting Women’s Voices: Canterbury Press; 2009)
Stumpy - October 2017

Hello everyone,

It has been such an exciting few weeks! Coach upon coach rolled up to the National Concert Hall on 9th September as members and friends gathered for The MU Big Sing.

With an introductory organ flourish by Peter Barley and an opening blessing by Bishop Ken Clarke, the musicians played the introduction, Mark Armstrong, conductor raised the baton, the 100+ members of the Mothers’ Union choir stood up and over a thousand voices joined together to sing the opening hymn ‘Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven’.

Ann-Marie O’Farrell played chorale variations on ‘Take my life and let it be’ and ‘Blest are the pure in heart’ on the Irish Harp’; Revd Lindsey Farrell shared the story of the Mothers’ Union Centenary Fund; Ann Walsh told of her family connection with the formation of the Wave of Prayer – a movement which sees members around the world remembered in prayer at midday each day. (see www.mothersunion.org)
Lynne Tembey shared news of the worldwide work of Mothers’ Union and the new All-Ireland promotional video was shown (available at www.mothersunion.ie)

Did your hymn make it to the favourites list? Perhaps it was even the No 1 hymn - ‘O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder’.

The other favourites sung at the concert included:
All things bright and beautiful, Be still for the presence of the Lord, The Lord’s my Shepherd, How deep the Father’s love for us, Guide me O thou Great Jehovah, Great is thy faithfulness, Be Thou my vision, Amazing Grace and What a Friend we have in Jesus!

With a closing message and blessing by All-Ireland Chaplain, Dean Raymond Ferguson, it was time to return to the coaches and carry the memory of a wonderful afternoon back to the Dioceses.

Friday 29th September saw Phyllis on the move again as over 800 delegates gathered in Edinburgh for the 2017 General Meeting which was held on 30th September. This annual event is an opportunity for members to hear something of the work of Mothers’ Union and also of the wider church.

Facts from this year’s Annual Report:
Worldwide beneficiaries of Mothers’ Union 2016 – 650,000
Britain and Ireland beneficiaries – 107,000.
Justine, participated in the Eagle Project in Uganda and this is what she has to say: “I’m looking forward to a better life economically, socially, spiritually and physically”.

Canon Sarah Snyder spoke on Peace and Reconciliation and her final question: “How can we be ambassadors of reconciliation in our families, community and beyond” sent Phyllis out with plenty to think about.

Next time I should be able to share the story of the Women’s Getaway which takes place on 20/21 October, perhaps Phyllis will see you there!!

Until the next time,

Stumpy - September 2017

Hello everyone,

Just think, it’s September! Mothers’ Union members all around the country are thinking.................well, of course, Big Sing! Saturday 9th September will see members from all over Ireland gather at the National Concert Hall in Dublin when people will discover if “their” hymn was No 1 favourite. It promises to be so exciting. Compere for the evening will be Bishop Ken Clarke; Lynne Tembey, Worldwide president and her husband, Revd David Tembey will be along. Tickets just flew out the door when they went on sale last November. If you haven’t got yours, perhaps the Diocesan President/Secretary might be able to help.

September also means Ploughing Championships and Mothers’ Union members from Meath and Kildare are busily preparing for the 2017 event which is being held in Tullamore. The Baby Changing facility continues to offer a welcome respite for carers and babies, but please drop by and say hello if you are passing by, Block No 3 Row No 10 Stand No 247. Phyllis hopes to be there but she doesn’t think it would suit me. I’m just not sure the babies would want me and I am quite shy really. I just love writing to you and hearing ALL about Mothers’ Union. Have you visited www.mothersunion.org lately? There is so much happening.

Sunday 24th September tune into RTE and join with Phyllis and members of Mothers’ Union from All-Ireland as they celebrate 13 Decades of Love and Service with a Service of The Word. Time 11.10.

Have you booked your place at the Women’s Getaway on 20th, 21st October Early bird bookings will soon close, don’t miss a wonderful opportunity to be part of a special event. See notice on my page for information!

Don’t forget 8th September is World Literacy Day this is a cause that is very close to Mothers’ Union members’ hearts. Elizabeth from Ethiopia said, “I can compare illiteracy to being blind, becoming literate is like recovering your sight – it is like a miracle! I feel like somebody now, I feel comfortable in my own skin and I feel capable!”

What better reason can there be for supporting the work of Mothers’ Union!

Until the next time,

Stumpy - June 2017

Hello everyone,

Stumpy Happy Holidays, I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer. I am! Phyllis has been at home for days and days and we have even gone for some walks!! I just love going down the fields and finding rabbit burrows and sheep and all sorts! Sometimes Phyllis gets cross and puts on my lead because she says I scare the sheep. It is hard when I am doing my best to be friendly and I am misunderstood! Gosh, I have never shared as much about me, I had better get back to sharing Mothers’ Union. Have you seen the video of launched by Mothers’ Union All-Ireland – it is sharing the page with me! Then there are the smashing photographs from around the Dioceses, they are all on the Gallery page – members are helping families, whether it is at the County Show in Cork or a Family Fun Day in Clogher. Members in Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh Diocese took part in the “Caring Together " show in the Kilmore Hotel.

It isn’t just in Ireland that Mothers’ Union is working to make life better,

Happy Holidays

Mothers’ Union have announced the award of a 50,000 grant to provide food, tools and seeds for 20,000 men, women and children in Rubkona, Unity State, South Sudan, who are suffering from a lack of food as a result of the ongoing civil war, poor infrastructure and failing harvests that have blighted the region. (www.mothersunion.org)

Congratulations to the Focus team “our” Magazine won a prize at General Synod.

Do you have a copy of Focus? If not check out the Resource page – check it out anyway it is full of information!

Must dash now but will be back shortly with news of the Big Sing in the National Concert Hall on 9th September, it is really exciting and everyone is waiting to see if their hymn made it to the final ten or maybe even is No 1!

And then of course it is on to the Women’s Get Away in October in Sligo. Have you booked your place yet? Phyllis just wouldn’t miss it.

Stumpy - May 2017
They’re off! And it isn’t the 100 metre dash. Mothers’ Union members around the country have shared in the Mothers’ Union Way as each one of the twelve dioceses in Ireland continue to celebrate 13 decades of love and service of Mothers’ Union in Ireland. Phyllis, joined by members of the All-Ireland Trustee Board, has visited every Diocese during May. Note to Phyllis – I like meeting people too, especially Mothers’ Union friends!

It is probably best if she tells you about it herself:

Thank you Stumpy!

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. Psalm 84.5

Mothers’ Union in Ireland is celebrating 13 Decades of Love and service in 2017 and as an organisation rooted in prayer, pilgrimage/journeying in prayer seemed the perfect way to acknowledge all that we are and do. Since 7th May I have been absolutely delighted to visit each one of the twelve Dioceses in Ireland.

It was such a privilege and an honour to meet members in their home Dioceses and to share in the memories as we celebrated the past and remember those who introduced and led the organisation. We were also saying thank you to those who carry through the vision of Mothers’ Union today as we look forward, joyfully and prayerfully to the future.

We used the symbol of the tree to describe Mothers’ Union; rooted in faith; strong in the trunk/body of our members and reaching out like the branches of the tree through our projects!

We have been enthused and encouraged by Lady Christine Eames, former Worldwide President, by the current Worldwide President, Lynne Tembey and by the Central Chaplain, Revd Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading.

Each Diocese planned their event in their own way and I have enjoyed participating in Services, Prayer Walks, Tree Planting, hearing of the projects being carried on in each area and sharing in the ministry of the cup of tea.

Sorry not to have brought you Stumpy but you know you just couldn’t keep up to Mothers’ Union!

Phyllis
Stumpy - April 2017

Hello everyone,

I am all behind myself. Phyllis tells me that I am still telling you about the upcoming Conference in An Grianan. Well! It’s over and apparently it was wonderful! A week-end of training and sharing as over 100 delegates representing every Diocese in Ireland received practical information on governance for volunteers along with learning how Mothers’ Union programmes are changing the lives of so many people around the world. See the latest video on www.mothersunion.org.

Provincial Presidents, Worldwide Council members and Worldwide Trustees travelled to Ireland for their meetings in March, immediately after our All-Ireland conference. Worldwide Council was an historic event when members unanimously voted to allow development of the Constitution in order to reflect the global nature of the organisation.

Provincial Presidents meet each triennium to share and learn from each other. Go to our Gallery page above to meet some of the delegates. Phyllis said it was so inspiring to hear of the contribution being made by members in their communities. One example is the Eagle Project in Uganda. This is an extract from a recent report.

‘The programme has exceeded expectations; reaching 14,035 people, 91% of the planned 15,360 beneficiaries. Each participant has improved the lives of their whole family – since its inception Eagle has benefitted 2,767 group members, 5,216 household members and 6,051 community members - meaning that in total Eagle benefitted 14,034 people in 9 dioceses. We have trained over 199 facilitators and 3,284 people have been envisioned to run Eagle’.

See www.mothersunion.org for the full evaluation.
It has been hard to get Phyllis to speak about anything other than Mothers’ Union since she came back, but I don’t mind. I just love to hear about people sharing, caring and looking out for one another!
Stumpy - March 2017

Hello everyone,

It is such an exciting time, there is just so much happening!
Phyllis and team Mothers’ Union All-Ireland are all away to An Grianan for the Triennial Conference. This is a time when leaders from every Diocese in the country come together to share in the knowledge and work of Mothers’ Union and to look to how best to follow in Mary Sumner’s footsteps. Lynne Tembey, Worldwide President, Bev Jullien, CEO and Nicola Lawrence, Head of Overseas Development will be joining them to share news of the programmes and developments that are enabling and empowering families right around the world. While they are at An Grianan, another team will be in New York for:

Commission on the Status of Women Mothers’ Union All-Ireland is delighted that June Butler, DP of Down & Dromore Diocese is one of 5 worldwide MU delegates travelling to the UN’s global forum on gender equality in New York to lobby on women’s economic empowerment.

Please pray for June and the group as they undertake this task.

June Butler, DP of Down & Dromore Diocese

O God, Creator of the heavens and the earth,
we pray for all who gather in New York
to attend and support the Commission on the Status of Women.
Bless them. Help them to see one another
through eyes enlightened by understanding and compassion.
Empower them to be bold participants
as they lobby, discuss and evaluate
women’s economic empowerment in a changing world of work,
calling for governments to prohibit any form of discrimination against women.
Empower them to be instruments
in bringing about Your justice, peace and equality
and may they find the treasures of joy, friendship and peace
as they share and work together.
In the name of Christ,
Amen


While exciting projects and meetings take place, Mothers’ Union members are conscious of the families around the world who face pain and suffering.

South Sudan Emergency Relief

South Sudan Emergency Relief

Since December 2013, Mothers’ Union has been supporting those affected by the ongoing regional crisis stemming from the civil war in South Sudan. In total more than 1.5 million refugees have now fled from the country to the surrounding regions such as Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan - the UN also estimate that a further 2 million have been internally displaced. 60% of the refugees are children who will often arrive at the camps suffering from acute malnutrition. Despite the scale of the crisis, it is receiving little international attention and is therefore chronically underfunded. In response to this growing crisis, Mothers’ Union aims to fund a £50k emergency relief project to help feed, clothe and provide post-conflict trauma support for refugees fleeing the war.

The first phase of our relief project is focused around the Diocese of Madi West Nile in Northern Uganda where there are over 500,000 people living in makeshift accommodation. We will work with the local churches to provide practical support and training. We will also work alongside other NGO’s as part of the relief effort and Mothers' Union will uniquely focus on providing displaced peoples with spiritual, psychosocial and post-conflict trauma recovery support.

Mothers’ Union IS making a difference...

Stumpy

Stumpy - January 2017

Hello everyone,

Welcome to 2017 when the Mothers’ Union theme is ‘Faith in Action’ – but of course you know that because it is already on our website Home page and is reflected, Phyllis tells me, in the programmes arranged by branches.

Mothers’ Union members in Ireland are celebrating 13 Decades of Love and Service in 2017 - our 130th anniversary - and Phyllis is looking forward to meeting you at events which will take place in every Diocese as members share the good news of the work of Mothers’ Union, celebrate the past and look to the future. Remember, good news is meant to be shared and here are a few wonderful examples:

PARENTING: Since 2000, 1000’s of parents in 28 countries have benefitted from Parenting Groups organised by Mothers’ Union trained facilitators.

GENDER BASED VIOLENCE: 42 Mothers’ Union held initiatives held internationally to raise awareness of Gender Based Violence

MOTHERS’ UNION CHURCH-BASED COMMUNITY MOBILISATION programmes are transforming lives, and ending the dependency culture that can blight communities with 20,522 beneficiaries in 7 countries.

These are a few facts taken from Families Worldwide which is a Mothers’ Union resource for prayer and action and is available for all members. I hope you have the latest edition!

“Mothers’ Union is amongst one of the greatest, the most embedded, the most effective, the most widespread women’s groups in the world, upholding through its work the gospel of reconciliation that is so needed to transform the world in which we live”
(Most Rev’d and Right Hon The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby)

Wow! No wonder Phyllis wants everyone to share in the celebrations and perhaps I will see you there, but if not, no doubt I will hear all about it!

Happy New Year!
Stumpy

Stumpy - December 2016

Hello everyone,

Advent, Phyllis tells me, is a time of reflection and preparation as Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Christmas is, for some, a time of celebration as families come together to share in the festivities; for others it is a time of memories. This year, for many, it is a time of heartbreak and fear as continuing warfare and terrorism weaves a deadly path. Christmas is also an occasion of pain for many suffering homelessness in this country at the present time. It may happen that, in the face of so much suffering, there is a feeling of despair and helplessness.

Phyllis has been thinking of the many activities members have shared here over the past year, Festival Services, Commissioning services as Diocesan Presidents have taken office, Women’s Getaway break, the ICC Women’s Link 50th Anniversary Service of Celebration and Prayer Breakfasts. See the link on this page to Faith and Policy Watch for information regarding the recent Mothers’ Union Prayer Vigils against Gender Based Violence.

7,000+ members of Mothers’ Union in Ireland linked with some 4 million others around the world, joining together in prayer and practical action to support and show Christian Care for Families.

What better Christmas or birthday present could there be? Speaking of birthdays, did you know my birthday is in December – I am five in human years!!! I have been sharing Phyllis’s travels with you for four years now...............

Phyllis is soooooooo excited about the celebrations to mark 13 Decades of Love and Service of Mothers’ Union in Ireland in 2017. More of that in January.

And now as usual, at this time of year, over to Phyllis:

To all Members and Friends,

Just to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to the work of Mothers’ Union in prayer, by offering of your time and talents and through generous financial support. I think of the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together”

May you enjoy God’s richest blessing - that of knowing his PRESENCE - the greatest gift of all both at this Christmas season and in the coming year.

With love,
Phyllis and Stumpy

Stumpy - October 2016

Hello everyone,

Phyllis is home and just can’t stop telling everyone about the wonderful celebrations in Winchester on 22nd September when thousands of members and friends met to give thanks for 140 years of Mothers’ Union and for the vision of Mary Sumner who has been an inspiration to millions of men and women of faith. ‘Today Mothers’ Union is a globally flourishing Christian movement of 4 million members in at least 83 countries of the world. Our global nature ensures our membership is diverse in every sense, yet all are united in faith............We serve Christ in some of the most impoverished communities in the world, and wherever we work our aim is to bring hope and to build resistance to adversity’. (140th Anniversary Programme). There were two Services of Thanksgiving in Winchester Cathedral in order to accommodate the huge number who wished to attend. The Most Rev’d and Right Hon. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, addressed the congregation in the afternoon and Rt. Rev’d Nigel Stock, Bishop of Lambeth spoke at the morning Service. Both sermons are available on www.mothersunion.org along with a report and photos from the General Meeting which was held in Basingstoke the following day.

I was listening to Phyllis’ constant mantra as she kneaded the dough this morning,”It’s all very fine to remember the past and give thanks, if members want to be faithful to Mary Sumner’s vision then they must look to what needs to be done today!” Each scone was lovingly placed on the tray accompanied by a prayer.

I sneaked up to her desk – all was revealed. It seems that members throughout the country are preparing to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Putting faith into action, Vigils are to be held in centres around the country starting on Saturday, November 26th. Click on the scroll at the top of the page to find the venue nearest you.

Finally, ladies don’t forget that the search is on to find the top ten favourite hymns within Mothers’ Union. EVERYONE, please fill in your form, pass it to your branch leader and she will post every single one of them to the diocesan contact person. I can’t wait to get to the National Concert Hall.

I just love to sing……..yowl!

Stumpy - August 2016
Hello everyone,

I do hope you are having a lovely summer, isn’t it just flying by! I thought Phyllis would have nothing to say or do about Mothers’ Union for weeks, well, you wouldn’t believe it but I have hardly seen her! And it isn’t going to change. People are preparing to travel from right around the country to attend the General Meeting in September. The Service of Celebration to mark 140 years of Mothers’ Union will be held in Winchester Cathedral and will be followed by the General Meeting which is being held in Basingstoke.

The Young Members’ week-end entitled ‘Family Matters’ takes place on 7th and 8th October in Sligo. This is always a very special event and I know Phyllis will be off to it. I hope she has her place booked before all the places are gone!

Mothers’ Union members celebrate the life of Mary Sumner, founder of the organisation, on August 9th each year as they share in events such as prayer walks.

Her personal prayer is very relevant and a favourite with members.

All this day, O 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.

Stumpy - July 2016
Hello everyone,

‘It’s good to be back, there has been so much going on in Mothers’ Union. The Leadership Conference was a wonderful success with enthusiastic members from dioceses in Britain and Ireland all looking to share the good news of Mothers’ Union around the world. Do you know that Mothers’ Union has touched the lives of 500,000 people globally and more than 64,000 lives in Britain and Ireland? Just imagine. I thought that Phyllis just met with a few other people from the parish but she tells me that this is exactly what Mothers’ Union is – a worldwide network of small groups of people who are passionate about making life better for others through prayer and practical action. See www.mothersunion.org for projects around the world.

Have you seen the Photo Gallery on our website www.mothersunion.ie It is filled with wonderful photographs including some of Valerie Ash, Diocesan President of Connor enjoying the Patron’s Lunch. This event, to celebrate the 90th Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth, took place on 12th June in London and was attended by 10,000 delegates from many organisations.

Do you read Families first? Phyllis says it is filled with wonderful articles and it is now available online and via an app. (Search Families First magazine on Google Play, the App Store or Kindle Store)

Members of the Trustee Board were commissioned by the Very Revd Raymond Ferguson, All-Ireland Chaplain, in the Mothers’ Union Chapel at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. The Commissioning took place during the Service of Holy Communion celebrated by Canon David Mungavin, Dublin Diocesan Chaplain.

Summer is Show season and Mothers’ Union members have been busy at several shows around the country while Phyllis is looking forward to the National Ploughing Championships in September when members from Meath and Kildare will host the Baby Changing facility. She looks forward to meeting you there.

In the meantime, I hope you have a really good summer. My brother, Baxter, has just arrived so its holiday time in our house. I am really looking forward to the next couple of weeks, plenty of walks although I notice that we don’t fit in my chair as comfortably as we used to. I think Baxter must be putting on weight!

Until the next time..........

Stumpy - May 2016
Welcome everyone,

Keep on keeping on’, this is Phyllis’s latest phrase, she heard it in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh when Revd Alan Cross spoke at May Boyd’s Commissioning as Diocesan President. Now she can’t seem to get it out of her head because this is what Mothers’ Union does. Members keep on in the face of all kinds of difficulty. The Mothers’ Union Literacy and Financial Education Programme encourages people right around the world, people like Erneste from Burundi. He joined a literacy programme as a learner and was then selected to become a facilitator in his community. Read all about the work of Mothers’ Union at www.mothersunion.org or www.mothersunion.ie.

Phyllis is keeping on keeping on also. The Connor Diocesan Festival Service was held in St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast; members in Derryloran Branch, Armagh Diocese, celebrated their Centenary with a Service and an amazing historical display; Bunclody in Cashel, Ferns and Ossory Diocese celebrated their 75th Birthday with a Prayer Walk; Leskinfere Branch also in Cashel, Ferns and Ossory celebrated their 70th Anniversary. Faithful, continuing and forward looking celebrations – long may they keep on keeping on!

Got to dash, I heard someone mention Leadership training, maybe Phyllis will learn that when I stand at the door and look meaningfully at her it means time for a walk..........perhaps I should be joining all the enthusiastic delegates from Ireland who are off to Swanwick to share ideas and information on ALL that is being done through Mothers’ Union in order to support families.

Stumpy - April 2016
 
Welcome everyone,

I hope you enjoyed a blessed and happy Easter. Phyllis seems to think that this year is in an enormous rush; Epiphany, Lent and Easter and we are still in March, well just about! The commercial world has moved on as the Easter eggs are stripped from the supermarket shelves and it is so sad to hear that some manufacturers have removed the word Easter from their products - not that I have any time for chocolate – Phyllis tells me that chocolate is extremely bad for dogs (but I don’t think it is - she just doesn’t want to share)!

Phyllis has asked me to leave room to share the following extract from Archbishop Justin Welby’s address when he reaffirmed Lynne Tembey at a Service in Lambeth recently. Lynne was reappointed Worldwide President of the Mothers’ Union from 2016 to 2018, having first been appointed three years ago. The Worldwide Trustee Board, of which Phyllis is a member, was commissioned at that Service.

Archbishop Welby said: “The Mothers’ Union in so many places is an organisation that listens to the voices of weeping. Whether it’s in Burundi, the Congo or South Sudan; whether it’s in homes in cities where when the local football team loses there is a 50 percent increase in domestic violence; whether it is in the loneliness of weeping by people who are not suffering physically but are spiritually empty and lost; it is the Mothers’ Union that exists in the vision of Mary Sumner to speak of those things that God has provided that bring hope, help and a future.” Central to this vision, he said, is ‘an extraordinary movement to support the family.’ “There has never been a time when the family was not a place that needed the light of Christ shining within it to become what God has called it to be. And you hold that treasure in your hands, and as we go to the reaffirmation that is part of the vision...But there is also such a need for global women’s groups. And you are among the most embedded, the most effective, the most widespread. There are few that can rival you – if any.”

Reflecting on United Nations research showing that no major civil conflict since 1945 has ended without the involvement of women’s groups, the Archbishop said the Mothers’ Union holds in its hands two aspects of ‘the most extraordinary treasure that God has brought together.’

“You are one of the greatest of women’s groups in the world, and you have the treasure of the gospel of reconciliation. What more could be needed to be transforming of the world in which we live? Nine-tenths of your work is hidden in the parishes and the dioceses, in the hills and the villages – doing the work of bringing hope and strengthening families, of supporting churches, of transforming communities. I pray that God will go on blessing you, and that your vision of the God who rises above all the fears, all the problems we face….will end with a vision of hope and confidence not in the Mother’s Union and this great heritage, not even in this wonderful vision, but in the God who underpins and secures it all.”

(See photographs of the commissioning on our Gallery Page!)

Stumpy - February 2016
Hi everybody,

Spring is here and isn’t it wonderful to see the snowdrops brightening up the landscape? It doesn’t matter how harsh conditions may be, they peep bravely through the ground.

Spring, of course, means a new edition of Focus, the Mothers’ Union All-Ireland publication which is packed full of news from the Dioceses, updates on Mums in May Fundraising Project; reports on the Vigils which were held throughout the country to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence; the history of the Centenary Fund and much more.............make sure you get your copy! It is free for every member.

2016 is an exciting year for Mothers’ Union – it is 140 years since Mary Sumner held the first meeting of Mothers’ Union in the Vicarage at Old Alresford. Visit the Mothers’ Union website to read all about the celebrations www.mothersunion.org

Mothers’ Union has grown from a single meeting to an organisation of over 4 million members in 83 countries, read all about the work of Mothers’ Union Worldwide in the Annual Review on the Resource page. Just click the Resources tab above my photograph! Can you believe that I have been writing to you for three years now? Perhaps I should change my photo, go for an action shot or maybe that is just one paw-print too far. After all, it is Mothers’ Union news and activities you are longing to hear about - I just radiate the joy and excitement of it all!

Diocesan Presidents from all around the country met recently to share in planning and developing Mothers’ Union in 2016 and Phyllis is off soon to the first meeting of the Worldwide Trustee Board of Mothers’ Union. I am sure she will have exciting stories to share when she gets back. Meanwhile its more pre-packed doggie treats for some............

Stumpy - January 2016
Happy New Year everybody and welcome back to the Stumpy page! I am sure you appreciated my graciousness is allowing Phyllis to speak for herself at Christmas time. I have to remind myself sometimes that it isn’t wise to assume that I know what will be of interest to her. Speaking of interest, have you seen the current issue of Families First? There is an update on Mothers’ Union response to the Refugee Crisis; Rose Wright, Social Policy Assistant writes about Labelled For Life and describes how one diocese has used it.... I leave it there, you just have to read Families First for yourself!

A New Year and new travels! Phyllis joined the members of Down and Dromore Diocese when Mrs. June Butler was commissioned as Diocesan President by Bishop Harold Millar. The address was given by Lady Eames who chose, as her text, the following words from Micah ‘what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?’ Powerful words indeed.

I was really thrilled when Phyllis came home and told me that a member of the congregation told her that she enjoys reading my message on the website. Encouragement is wonderful!

Finally, Phyllis has asked me to share the following prayer for the meeting of Primates of the Anglican Communion which takes place in Canterbury from 11th to 16th January. For further information please go to www.mothersunion.org

Mothers’ Union worldwide pray that God will bless this Gathering through his wondrous grace. May it be a celebration of unity in diversity. May shared vision and mission empower and bring great joy. That hope may be given to a complex world in the name of Christ.

Amen

Stumpy - December 2015
Hello everyone,

I just want to send Christmas greetings to you and say a very big “thank you” for joining me on the Mothers’ Union website. It would be so lonely without you and I LOVE sharing Mothers’ Union news with everyone.

28th November was a very special day for members of Mothers’ Union in all twelve Dioceses as members gathered to remember those who suffer from gender-based violence. There are some photographs on our Gallery Page which will give you a sense of what happened in the different Dioceses. Phyllis would like to thank everyone who attended on the day and helped Mothers’ Union to highlight the plight of families both locally and globally. While members in Ireland were gathering for this event, Mrs Lynne Tembey, Worldwide President, was on an overseas visit which included meeting with members in DRC Congo and Sudan.

And now of course, as it is Christmas time, Phyllis wants to speak for herself. I will be gracious - it is Christmas after all and kindness and friendship is surely the greatest gift of all.

Until the New Year, love and good wishes from Stumpy.

Thank you Stumpy.

Just a wee note to wish you God’s richest blessings at this season.

31st December marks the end of the current triennium and several Trustees at All-Ireland have completed their terms of office. This means that elections have taken place for their successors. I would like to thank all outgoing Trustees for their dedication and love of Mothers’ Union and wish them every happiness in the days ahead. I welcome all new members and look forward to working with them as we prepare to celebrate the 140th Anniversary of the formation of Mothers’ Union by Mrs Mary Sumner.

As we complete preparations to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour, we remember his welcoming words as recounted in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”.

May you know the love and peace of Christ and may each one of us radiate that peace in a world filled with clamour and confusion.

Happy Christmas and a Joyful New Year.

Phyllis

Stumpy - November 2015
Hello everyone,

Phyllis tells me that we are entering a very special time of year, a time when the issue of Gender Based Violence is highlighted globally through the 16 Days of Activism Campaign. The Campaign begins on 25th November, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and runs until 10th December, International Human Rights Day. Mothers’ Union members are hosting Vigils throughout all twelve Dioceses on Saturday 28th November and they invite You to join them as they remember all who suffer because of their gender:

What are the reasons gender-based violence?

Look at the tree – the roots of the problem, the issues on the trunk that help it develop and the outcomes on the branches.

What can be done to help end gender-based violence:

  • Prevention
  • Legal Protection & Enforcement
  • Provision of services for victims and survivors
  • Rehabilitation for perpetrators

Join us on Saturday 28th November at a venue near you (see list below), learn more and help make a difference.


Stumpy - October 2015
Hello everyone,

It’s me again! Hasn’t it been a beautiful Autumn, the trees are a wonderful colour and the sun continues to shine. It is just as well as I don’t think Phyllis would have time to put up an umbrella.

First it was the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska in Co. Laois. Hundreds and hundreds of families enjoyed the baby changing and feeding facility provided by the Mothers’ Union. Comments included “thank you so much, lovely atmosphere and very welcoming” ”thank you so much to the lovely ladies at the Mothers’ Union”. Phyllis was only there on the first of the three days and then it was off to Perth in Scotland to join with the members there at their National Conference. It was entitled “On The Way” and members spent time sharing their experience of Mothers’ Union and planning the future.

She was hardly home for long enough to fill the dog biscuit jar before setting off for the Annual Budget Meeting in Swanwick. This is a time when Mothers’ Union projects are put forward and decisions have to be made about carrying them forward. Phyllis finds is so hard as all of the projects are so worthwhile and make such a difference to people’s lives. It is estimated that the Eagle project in Uganda has benefitted more than 13,000 people, while literacy and numeracy programmes remain key to the work of Mothers’ Union around the world (see www.mothersunion.ie and www.mothersunion.org for more information). These projects can only continue through the good will and generous contribution of members and supporters.

Worldwide Council followed on from this meeting when everyone met the new Chief Executive Officer of Mothers’ Union, Mrs. Beverly Jullien as she and the Leadership team at Mary Sumner House outlined plans for the future.

It was back to Ireland for the Young Women’s Getaway where she was welcomed by Barbara and Mary and all of the delegates who were enjoying a wonderful conference. Phyllis is back home today but tomorrow...............................

Stumpy - September 2015
Hello everyone,

Stumpy is taking a short break from the website in order to allow us to remember, in prayer, all who suffer through violence and persecution at this time.

Prayers for the Refugee Crisis in Europe and the Middle East

Lord Jesus, as a child, you fled from persecution; You have lived the fear, desperation, hunger, cold, and isolation that being a refugee brings. Bring comfort and peace of heart, Lord, to all those risking their lives to seek safety. Protect and guide their journeys, Lord. ‘Faith, hope and charity, but the greatest of these is charity’. Father, bless those who see the plight of refugees, and who are meeting those needs. For those who are exhausted, give them renewed strength; for those who feel overwhelmed, give them courage; for those who feel fearful, we pray for peace and compassion.

Lord, we want to hear your voice again. Guide us as we, in Mothers’ Union, reach out in your name to refugees both in Europe and the Middle East and those affected by conflict in South Sudan and Burundi, in Thailand and many other areas across the world. Bless the work of Mothers’ Union, and lead us, Lord, to fully play our part.

We thank God that our countries are blessed with resources. We uphold in prayer the governments across Europe and the Middle East, asking for wisdom for leaders to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

Father God, you are our place of refuge and safety, We pray for you to help us at this time of need. Give us compassion combined with wisdom to meet needs with the right resources. May our practical action be rooted in your love as we reach out as the hands of Christ.

Amen.

Stumpy - July 2015
Hello everyone,

Why do I always have to begin with an apology, of course you know, don’t you? I am inherently lazy! There now, I have just admitted it and I feel better already but I suppose there is no point in acknowledging something if I don’t make an effort to change!!! It has been weeks since I put paw to computer pad and it isn’t because there was nothing to write about.......

Phyllis has been ALL over the place, oh dear that isn’t really what I meant either! She attended the General Meeting in Nottingham where over 1,500 Mothers’ Union members and friends gathered to hear all the latest happenings in Mothers’ Union at home and worldwide. (see www.mothersunion.org ).

Today Mothers’ Union is saying goodbye to Reg Bailey. Reg has been CEO of Mothers’ Union for over fifteen years and has worked tirelessly to develop the profile and raise awareness of the work done by Mothers’ Union. He was deeply involved in the campaign against the sexualisation of childhood (see www.byebuychildhood.org).

Phyllis met the members of Mallow Branch of Mothers’ Union when they, along with friends from neighbouring Branches, travelled to Carlow and included a visit to the Adelaide Memorial Church of Christ the Redeemer in Myshall recently. (A beautiful church on the style of Salisbury Cathedral) Mothers’ Union members are great travellers, they enjoy the fellowship and meeting other members. They really seem to be a fun bunch!

Phyllis also attended and spoke at the official opening of the Flower Festival in Kildress Parish Church in Armagh on 5th June. The Festival was a celebration of 90 years of Mothers’ Union in the parish.

A Faith and Policy Sharing Day was held on 6th June when Catherine, Rachel and Rose from the Faith and Policy Team at Mary Sumner House came to share the work of the Unit with representatives from Ireland and, of course, to hear of the work being done in Ireland. Action and Outreach and Fundraising and Communications had already held Sharing days this year and Phyllis said it was wonderful to listen to members from all of the Dioceses as they shared information and learned more about projects such as Parenting and AFIA (Away from it all).

Plans are now taking shape for a Vigil to be held in each Diocese in Ireland on 28th November to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. I’ll tell you more about that next time....

Stumpy - May 2015
Hello everyone,

Gosh, the last time I wrote to you it was April and Easter Time and now it is away through Mums in May. Apparently it’s not May this year - but Mums in May - at least that is all I ever hear from Phyllis!! There are so many Tea Parties and I think she must be on a mission to attend them all!!

I am sure there must be one near you, enjoy the chat and know that you are supporting the work of Mothers’ Union “around the corner and around the world”.

Phyllis joined the members of Tuam, Killala and Achonry Diocese for their Festival Service in Turlough Church in Mayo, the Service was followed by a Mums in May Celebration at Bishop’s House where everyone was welcomed by Bishop Rooke and Mrs. Alison Rooke, Diocesan President.

She met the members of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh Diocese last night at their Diocesan Service in Longford. Members celebrated Mums in May following that Service also. Have you seen the splendid photographs which were taken at the Mad Hatters Tea Party? Just look at the Gallery page above my letter!

I mentioned the Awaken Project in Guyana when I last wrote, well since then Phyllis has had a letter from Sheran Harper who is from Guyana and this is what she had to say:

“Through this programme members are equipped with the skills and resources necessary to identify the needs of the church and community and how to go about addressing them. Even more important is the profound effect AWAKEN has had in encouraging parishioners to step out of their comfort zone in the church pews and move out into the community to address needs.”

Isn’t it wonderful to hear such success stories?

I see the suitcase has come out again, I thought it might mean summer holiday but apparently not! It is time to think about the General Meeting which is being held in Nottingham on Friday 26th June. lt was held in Ireland last year when we heard all about the work being done by Revd. Chris Bennett and his team at the Dock Cafe at the Titanic Centre. Speakers this year are the author Jane Fearnley Whittingstall and Community Development Experts Bill Crooks and Jackie Mouradian. (www.mothersunion.org)

Stumpy - Easter 2015
Hello everyone, or more appropriately, Easter greetings!

Gosh, isn’t time just flying by this year, it only seems the other day since it was talk of Christmas, then it was Lent, Mothering Sunday and Lady Day. Phyllis thought the worship resources on the MU website www.mothersunion.org were brilliant and apparently there are lots of other worship resources there also, including resources for celebrating the Mothers’ Union theme which, this year is ‘United in Prayer’.

She was delighted to join the members of Cork, Cloyne and Ross for their Festival Service in Fermoy and also to spend a Day of Reflection with the members of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory in Old Leighlin Cathedral.

All Ireland Council took place on Saturday and members paid tribute to the late Mrs. Patricia Mayes, General President from 1977-1983. Tribute was also paid to Susan Cathcart, All Ireland Treasurer, who died in December. (See tributes in Focus Online at www.themothersunion.ie)

Members were delighted to welcome Lydia Monds to the meeting. Lydia is Education Officer with Bishops’ Appeal. She spoke with great enthusiasm of the benefits of the Mothers’ Union Literacy project which she had witnessed on a visit to Burundi. Bishops’ Appeal supported that project some time ago and have, once again, been awarded a grant to Mother’s Union, this time to the Awaken Project in Guyana. Phyllis said members were absolutely thrilled and are really grateful to Bishops’ Appeal for this affirmation of our work being carried out around the world.

The wind and rain is lashing on the windows as I muse but Phyllis says this is nothing compared to the dreadful storms which struck Vanuatu recently when the area was devastated by winds of up to 185 miles per hour. Two dioceses in Vanuatu, Banks and Torres, are linked with the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe in the Wave of Prayer. (Find information on the Cyclone on www.mothersunion.org) Phyllis is insisting on finishing this “piece” for you.........I suppose I had better let her get a word in now and then!
For now, Stumpy.

Dear friends,
As we journey through this most holy week in the Christian calendar, we think of those who walk the path to Calvary following the Germanwings air disaster; those who suffer persecution for their faith; refugees and victims of man’s inhumanity to man; and all who feel helpless and in despair. I can do no more than repeat the words written in John 11:25-26 which are quoted in ‘Grace and Flavours’:

Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
May you rejoice in the risen Lord at this Eastertime.
Phyllis

Stumpy - March 2015
Hello everyone,

Have you seen it yet? Have you? Focus, Spring 2015 is complete and it isn’t in the post or in boxes to be delivered but it is right here beside my letter! This edition of Focus is in e-zine form. Open up and see for yourself! Mind you, I am feeling under a little pressure – suppose Focus wants the front page spot – I really will have to keep paw to laptop.

Spring really is in the air and nowhere is safe here now, there are mutterings about dog hair and dust, apparently Phyllis is preparing for a Tea Party. I love tea parties, you wouldn’t belief the chat and stories that are shared over a cup of tea and a traybake and the crumbs are scrumptious!!! There will be tea parties and activities all around the country during the month of May. I couldn’t understand why May until Phyllis explained that the project is called ‘Mums in May’. These tea parties are really special because as well as being great fun every party will contribute to Mothers’ Union projects to help and support families both here in Ireland and in Ethiopia. Mothers’ Union members always support their sisters and their families overseas and this year the Literacy Project in Ethiopia will be supported by the Mums in May events. ‘Grace and Flavours’ is a collection of reflections, prayers and graces accompanied by recipes for every Season of the year. It has been published by Mothers’ Union to celebrate the event and is a must have for every coffee table. I felt a little sad ‘cos there are no dog biscuit recipes but of course I’m willing to taste test any recipe (let me know what you recommend from Grace and Flavours)!!

I will keep you posted about the Mums in May preparations and finish with an Irish Grace from “the book” Grace & Flavours - after all we are approaching St. Patrick’s Day:
God in our waking, God in our speaking, God in our cooking, God in our eating, God in our playing, God in our digesting, God in our working, God in our resting.

Amen

Stumpy - February 2015
Stumpy 2015,

Hi everyone, it’s me again! Isn’t it wonderful to see the brighter days; the snowdrops in blossom and lambs playing in the fields? I really want to be out and about with them and join in their running and playing about. It makes me sad to think that they are so afraid of dogs that they would cower in the corner of the field if I tried to join in their games. Just because I look different they don’t understand! I am so fortunate to have faithful friends. Phyllis tells me that people ask about me everywhere she goes. I really enjoy writing to you, even if I get a little lazy at times!

Let me think, what is my latest news about the All Ireland President on tour (that’s what it seems like at times)? Diocesan Presidents from all over Ireland met in Dublin last weekend for their Conference. Phyllis came home clutching a copy of Grace and Flavours, a collection of thoughts, prayers and graces for every season of the year and there are lots of recipes in it as well! It is all part of Mums in May 2015 when Mothers’ Union members all around the country will be polishing up the teapots and boiling the kettles as they invite friends and family to join them in a cuppa and hear the story of Mothers’ Union today. Mums in May was first celebrated in 2012, Phyllis said that was a very special year – I know it was because I was born in 2012 – but apparently Mothers’ Union was 125 years old then, just imagine, 125 and still going strong with lots of enthusiastic and energetic members each working together to share Christian care around the world.

Got to rush, until the next time, your friend,

Stumpy - Christmas 2014
Christmas greetings everyone,

My brother, Baxter, has just arrived home for Christmas. He lives in Dublin with Phyllis’s daughter. We have great fun when we meet, forgetting that we are now adults and sensible as we rush about and sometimes even have little squabbles, just like when we were puppies. I hope that you have the pleasure of being in touch with family members and can enjoy memories of Christmas past and present.

Phyllis tells me that Christmas is a time for sharing, sharing the good news of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and of remembering so many people both locally and globally who may feel lonely and fearful. She has asked me to share the following passage of scripture with you in the knowledge that we are never alone, there is one who is always present.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it”. John ch 1 vs 1 – 5. NRSV

Phyllis and I wish you a blessed, peaceful and joyous Christmas and I look forward to being in touch again in the New Year.

Stumpy - December 2014
Hi everyone,

I’m back and so is Phyllis (I think she is staying home for a little while now)! I will try and fill you in on what’s been happening but honestly......she starts to tell us but three telephone calls later and she has to start all over again. The Provincial Presidents’ Conference was held in High Leigh recently. It was a wonderful event when 26 Provincial Presidents shared the news of the work and vision for Mothers’ Union right around the world (see the report and statement on www.mothersunion.org) and see some photographs below and on our Gallery Page. Phyllis joined with Provincial Presidents from Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Canada and the Congo in her “family” group which was called ‘Brigid of Kildare’ – how appropriate was that? Every region has difficulties and successes that are unique to it but everyone shared in the Mothers’ Union vision of a world where God’s love is shown in loving, respectful and loving relationships.
Phyllis was no sooner back from High Leigh than it was time for the Cork Diocesan Weekend. The event was a wonderful combination of prayer, fun, workshops and presentations by Glynis Good. Delegates travelled from all around the Dioceses and beyond to renew friendships and to participate in an excellent Conference. Phyllis tells me that the dates are already set for next year, so get your name in quickly!
Last weekend was the Armagh Morning Conference in Coagh – the title was Busy Bees! I was worried when I heard that and hoped Phyllis had the antihistamine packed but apparently there was no need for it as it was all about the Busy Bees in Mothers’ Union, all busily buzzing about (try saying that with a mouthful of dog biscuit – I know I shouldn’t bark with my mouth full! ) Mothers’ Union is a real mix of prayerful action so of course there is lots of buzzing.
Still on the b’s,

Stumpy - November 2014
Hello everyone,

I have been really lazy lately but then I did have to write an article for Focus. Have you seen the new copy of Focus yet? It is hot off the press but be sure and ask in your Diocese because there is a copy for EVERYONE. There is just so much going on in Mothers’ Union, it is sooo exciting, we hardly see Phyllis at all (well maybe that is something of an exaggeration – she does check in now and then)! The Ploughing is over for another year, thousands of people attended the Championships in Laois and hundreds attended the Mothers’ Union Baby Changing and Feeding area. “Great service” and “an oasis of calm” were just some of the comments. There have been two really good “Sowing Friendship Days” organised by Barbara Clarke and Mary Burke Young Members’ Representatives (see the photo gallery). Last week Phyllis was off to Clogher Diocese for a meeting in Derryvullen South. She loves catching up with members and was delighted to visit the Parent and Toddler group in Cleenish Parish Hall the following morning – such fun and laughter among the group, although she says getting down on the floor to build a jig saw may have been a mistake!! Sometimes I think she will never grow up – is that a feature of being a Mothers’ Union member? Now it is Provincial Presidents Conference - Provincial Presidents from right around the world are meeting in High Leigh from 27th October and I am looking forward to hearing all about it when Phyllis gets back, or if you hurry, you might catch up on Twitter PPMUConf14. Go to www.mothersunion.org click on Twitter symbol to see the latest photographs and comments.

Stumpy - September 2014
Hi everyone,

Have you had a lovely Summer? We went for lots of walks but they have become short strolls lately as SHE picks blackberries and then it’s home to make blackberry this and blackberry that – I would prefer a bone any day!

Do you know about Mothers’ Union Enterprises? There is at least one Representative in every Diocese and they have beautiful cards and literature available and it all supports the work of Mothers Union! They attend meetings and share information all around the Dioceses. Have you had a visit recently to your Branch? Phyllis needs to speak to our rep shortly – I know she would hate to miss out on my Birthday card!

There have been several Mothers’ Union Festival Services in the past few weeks. Phyllis attended the Cashel, Ferns and Ossory Service in St. Michael and All Angels’ Church, Abbeyleix and the Limerick and Killaloe Diocesan Festival Service in St. Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe . She says she spoke about being Daft (well I always knew that) but apparently she meant something very different:

Daring: Are we willing to be daring –are we willing to enable, encourage and support those who are in trouble?

Agreeable – Are we willing to work together for what is best for Mothers’ Union today?

Faithful – Are we willing to be loyal, faithful and faith-filled to the foundation stone of Mothers’ Union – faith in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and a willingness to acknowledge that all we do is based on that?

True – are we willing to be true to our vision to “bring about a world where God’s love is shown through loving, respectful and flourishing relationships? Well..... let’s all be D.A.F.T!

It’s the Ploughing Championships on 23-25th September; Phyllis says she is looking forward to meeting you at the Baby Changing Stand run by Mothers’ Union: Block 2 Stand 30 Stand 524. Do call in and say hello – just say Stumpy sent you!!

Stumpy - Blog August 2014
Hi everyone,

I’m back and, before you ask, no I didn’t get to attend the General Meeting after all, but I have heard all about it. Have you seen the photographs on the website? Go to the Gallery page for a great selection of pics.

The weekend began with a wonderful Service of Celebration in St. Anne’s Cathedral on Friday evening, 20th June. The Most Revd R.L.Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland preached the Sermon, based on the text” Mercy and truth are met together” Psalm 85 v10. Read it in full at http://ireland.anglican.org/news/5196

Next morning saw everyone setting off for the Waterfont Hall in time to hear The Very Revd Raymond Ferguson lead opening worship and then it was time learn all about what is happening in Mothers’ Union, as someone once said, around the world and around the corner. Visit the Mary Sumner House website www.mothersunion.org for a full report on the meeting.

Lots of people combined attending the meeting with a holiday in the area and those arriving by air were delighted to see a big ‘Welcome Mothers’ Union’ mat in the Arrivals Hall at Belfast City Airport – well done ‘Visit Belfast’! Comments returned have included “we have some very happy memories to take back with us”, “wonderful welcome” , “thank you so much for our lovely time, never been before and I thought everyone was so friendly”.

Perhaps I will get to go to Nottingham next year – the General Meeting will be on 26th June 2015 - put it in your diary!

Enjoy the rest of the Summer everyone!

Stumpy - Blog June 2014
Isn’t it a beautiful day? The sun is shining and I am lying in the shade, reflecting!

I’ve been to church! Phyllis is always talking about being in church and taking part and I never knew exactly what she meant. You know how it is when you hear about something - it is always so much better to experience it for yourself.

Well, to get back to being in church. It was Family Pet day and I went along. There were big dogs and little dogs; hairy dogs and smooth ones, friendly dogs and noisy ones and one or two like me who were a bit doubtful of the whole thing. You know how it is when you go somewhere you’ve never been before. It isn’t easy going into somewhere new when you are a little shy. I tried to say hello to one dog but it just snapped at me, however some were quite friendly. There was even a cat!!! Apparently anyone can go to church, everyone doesn’t have to look the same - just imagine everyone is welcome!

Next week-end hundreds and hundreds of people are going to the General Meeting in Belfast to hear and see for themselves what Mothers’ Union is about. I am not going, believe me I hear ALL about Mothers’ Union and I see ALL of the literature. Phyllis keeps talking about the General Meeting team - well I gather the General Meeting is something like a Mothers’ Union World Cup, lots of practice and preparation and then THE event. There is even a brand new publication out in time for the Meeting – Celtic Soul, prayers and reflections from our Celtic roots (I love roots, lots of digging).

It has been such a busy time and exciting time, the Garden Festival was held in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin at the week-end. It was magnificent and the Mothers’ Union display was really, really beautiful, just wait till you see the photographs.

Must dash for now – look out for Team Ireland at the Waterfront on Saturday - I look forward to hearing all about it.

Stumpy - Blog May 2014
Did you miss me? I am sorry to have been out of touch for a little while, I did tell Phyllis to go ahead without me, but you know what happens when there is no one to give a little push. I think we all suffer from that feeling now and then.

Have you heard about the General Meeting? Isn’t it sooooo exciting! Just imagine hundreds and hundreds of people travelling from England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and many other places to hear all about what is happening in Mothers’ Union. They will be joining us at the Waterfront (I don’t suppose I will get to go) – aren’t you so lucky because anyone can apply for tickets to the Waterfront – we want to share the story of Mothers’ Union with everyone.

Tickets available at www.waterfront.co.uk Tel 028 90334455

There are all sorts of exciting happenings in Mothers’ Union Worldwide at present. The Wave of Prayer which stretches all around the world means that members, their families and communities and projects are being remembered and prayed for right around the clock. The calendar for the Wave of Prayer is being refreshed at present because, due to Diocesan changes around the world there are almost 100 orphan Dioceses who are not included. This will be corrected by 2015 and is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to increase their circle of friends and to learn more about the lives of members in other places. The Wave of Prayer helps everyone to be equal in prayer. It is just like that hymn “The voice of prayer is never silent, nor dies the strain of praise away...............”.

Phyllis tries to sing it and I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but she is no Katharine Jenkins......!!

Until the next time,

Stumpy - Blog March 2014
Phew! I have been so worried and I didn’t know what to do! There has been talk about nothing but EMU here for the past few weeks; Phyllis needed this for EMU and that had to be ready for EMU. I really thought she was getting a new pet and we have all heard what can happen to old pets when new ones turn up!

Well! All has been explained. EMU was the title of the Mothers’ Union Conference held 7-9 March. It stood for: Enthuse, Encourage, Empower, Equip Mothers’ Union. Every Diocese in Ireland was represented at it and delegates shared information on all the projects in their area.

Lynne Tembey, the MU Worldwide President, came to share news of the work of Mothers’ Union members around the world. She has been to visit members in Kenya where she saw how people’s lives have been improved through the Church and Community Mobilisation Process –read all about CCMP in the latest edition of Focus or visit www.mothersunion.org

There were workshops to empower and equip; good news stories and fun to encourage and enthuse and the whole Conference was firmly wrapped in faith and prayer – as Lynne reminded delegates “everyone is held in the palm of God’s hand”.

Lynne will be back in Ireland for the General Meeting on 21st June in the Waterfront in Belfast – when EVERYONE, not just delegates at a Conference, will have an opportunity to hear about the work of Mothers’ Union. Admission to the Conference is by ticket available from the Waterfront www.waterfront.co.uk or by telephone 028 90 334455. This is the first General Meeting to be held in Ireland since 2006 and it is a very exciting opportunity – don’t miss it! Book today!

So you see, I need not have been so worried about Emu, if only I could have talked it over – it just goes to show how really important it is to be able to talk through our worries.

Stumpy - Blog January 2014
I have a very special request for all of you from Phyllis your All-Ireland President. Mothers’ Union has put out an urgent prayer appeal for members to pray for the current unrest and conflict in South Sudan. The situation there is very serious and the Mothers’ Union members in that part of the world will struggle to help their communities. So, let’s all use the power of prayer in support of the thousands of people who are suffering in the current crisis. Please pray for....
  • An end to the intense fighting which has overtaken large regions of South Sudan and the pursuit of peaceful means to resolve problems
  • Mothers’ Union involvement in Emergency Crisis Committee
  • The challenges facing the tens of thousands trying to leave the country particularly those sheltering out in the open with little security and scant supplies
  • Neighbouring countries to cope with the new influx of refugees
  • A way to be found to provide medical supplies and help to the vulnerable
  • The provision of food and clean water; sanitation
  • Mothers’ Union members in affected areas as they bring support to their communities
  • Sudanese families in other countries concerned for the welfare of family and friends in caught up in the conflict
  • The short and long term future of Mothers’ Union Literacy and Financial Education groups
  • The protection of resources amassed by Savings Groups
  • Long-term dialogue and reconciliation work to resolve the complex political and ethnic divisions at the heart of the conflict
  • The work of Mothers’ Union trainers in peace and reconciliation
Loving Lord,
who wept at the sufferings of Jerusalem,
have compassion on your people in this day.
Send your Spirit of justice and mercy
that lives would be rescued and
peace prevail.
Amen
(Prayer courtesy of Catherine Kyte MSH)

Stumpy's Dog - The President's Blog
Can you believe it, I thought it was only the other day I was writing to you about back to college and settling in and now it is time to think about Advent and preparations for Christmas. Have you seen the colour in Advent Calendar on the Bye Buy Childhood Campaign website? (www.byebuychildhood.org) It is downloadable and Phyllis says it will be fun for all the family to make and do – she hasn’t told me if I can colour or glue yet, watch this space!!

Phyllis tells me that Christmas is a time of celebration, of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. This sounds really good to me and I couldn’t understand what could go wrong in celebrating such an important event until she explained to me how important it is to look out for fairly –traded Christmas presents and decorations. It can make such a difference to the lives of people who produce these goods.

25th November to 10th December are marked as 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence towards Women and Girls. Violence sounds really terrible; I was so scared when there were loud noises at Hallowe’en and I had family to protect and keep me safe. I can’t bear to think of anyone being helpless and in trouble. Mothers’ Union has a whole section on its website with suggestions of how to mark this time. Please look it up and read more about it. (www.mothersunion.org).

Ooops I think I hear the dog biscuit tin rattle, must dash! Mum, Sally the corgi, is about and while she does look after me, she just can’t resist dog biscuits. I hope you have seen our photograph on the gallery page on this website.

Stumpy's Dog - Curry in a Hurry

I have the most exciting news for you! Mothers’ Union in Ireland have made sure all those young folk heading off to university and college this Autumn won’t go hungry when they leave their mummies behind. I’ve watched them from the gate – off they go with their backpacks and books, smart phones clasped in their hand. By the way, does anyone know how a smart phone works? I’ve seen Phyllis looking at her phone with a very bewildered look on her face. Anyway, off they go with their phone, promising they’ll phone their mummy regularly. Some hope! Until they come to eat, that is! Everyone loves their dinner and they soon long for a home cooked meal. Fast food soon loses its appeal and that’s where ‘Curry in a Hurry’ can help! With this super little book they won’t have to rely on fast food and tins. In no time at all they’ll be the new Jamie Oliver....or Delia Smith. Phyllis tells me the recipes are fantastic which is not good news for dogs at all – we rely on the leftovers to get a treat after all! I’ve seen Phyllis studying the book with great interest looking for ideas for tea. I can hear her muttering ‘yum, that sounds lovely’ or ‘that’s easy’ or ‘I could make that in no time’. But I have a cunning plan! I’m going to grab the book when she’s not looking and hide it in my basket. If she uses these recipes there’ll be precious little in my bowl to give me a change from Pedigree Chum.
‘Sow and Grow’ is the title of this year’s Young Women’s Get Away and all the details are on our website. Phyllis is really looking forward to seeing people from all over the country when they meet for this week-end. I hope your Branch/ Diocese is encouraging and supporting people to come – you don’t have to be a member, I know everyone will be delighted to see you there, City North Hotel, 11th and 12th October.

Mothers’ Union has produced 16,000 copies of the book for distribution to universities and colleges the length and breadth of Ireland, from Cork to Coleraine, Galway to Dublin. It will be given free of charge to first year students through Students’ Unions or Chaplains.

So readers, ‘Curry in a Hurry’ is the very thing for your students but I’m keeping this one hidden – it’s just too good! If you want to see a copy, or know some young people who could benefit from a copy, just contact office@mothersunion.ie.

Now.......I’ll just have to pick my moment to grab Phyllis’ copy..........

Stumpy's Dog - Blog August 2013

Stumpy signing in once more.

I hope you are all enjoying a really wonderful summer with lots of sunshine and rest and relaxation and of course now is the time to start thinking about Autumn and maybe even a little Autumn planting!

‘Sow and Grow’ is the title of this year’s Young Women’s Get Away and all the details are on our website. Phyllis is really looking forward to seeing people from all over the country when they meet for this week-end. I hope your Branch/ Diocese is encouraging and supporting people to come – you don’t have to be a member, I know everyone will be delighted to see you there, City North Hotel, 11th and 12th October.

Everybody seems to have been on the move recently – there were thousands (well 1600) in Bath for the General Meeting in the Forum. The meeting was hosted by Bath and Wells Diocese and was a very exciting event. Worldwide President, Lynne Tembey reminded everyone that membership is a gift to be shared and everyone was asked to take up a challenge to sow seeds for the future. Guest speakers were Adrian Plass, the author. I am sure you all know him from his articles in Families First, isn’t it a really good magazine? When it arrives in the post in this house we are lucky to get a sandwich or a Bonio for lunch! This is the time to renew your subscription so I hope you all have your order placed for 2014.

Revd Fedis Nyagah spoke about CCMP – ‘Church and Community Mobilisation Programme’ - which is a brand new way of thinking in Mothers’ Union as members work together to support families worldwide. You can read all about the meeting by going to www.mothersunion.org/generalmeeting and just imagine next year everyone is coming to Ireland because the General Meeting will be in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on Saturday 21st June 2014. Perhaps I will get to see you there – if I promise Phyllis that I won’t bark at all the wrong moments.

Have you heard of ‘Curry in a Hurry’, a cookery book which was designed and distributed to university students by Connor Diocese over the past few years? Well! Thanks to ‘Mums in May’ support, many other dioceses have undertaken to provide the book in colleges in their area. ‘Curry in a Hurry’ has now been completely revamped and reprinted and includes lots of recipes, hints and helpful telephone numbers. It will be distributed to thousands of students all over Ireland as colleges and universities reopen over the next few weeks.

Well, I must dash, I smell lunch and I see that pesky cat peeping round the corner!

Stumpy’s Dog - Blog July 2013

Last month you heard all about me, now it is time to fire up the laptop and bark for myself. I never thought being involved in Mothers’ Union could cover so many issues. There are days when Phyllis is chasing about - just like me after a feather on a breezy day. Last month it was General Synod and Young Members’ night in Connor as well as the usual meetings and HOURS at the computer. General Synod is a really important event in the church, reports are given, decisions made and committees appointed. There was much concern this year about people in our communities who are finding life so difficult and Phyllis asked that we support those who are struggling by listening, encouraging and offering practical help. Further information on Synod can be found at www.synod.ireland.anglican.org. Mothers’ Union members were at Synod to meet, greet and share our story (you see I really feel part of MU), while the information packs were really popular. Phyllis was so excited to have not one.... but two Mothers’ Union publications winning prizes in the Communications Competition: Dublin Diocese ‘Links’ and All Ireland ‘Focus’. (You can now download Focus from this website – see the link on this page).

It was ‘Glitz and Glam’ in abundance in Ballymena when the Young Members in Connor Diocese presented a Fashion Show. The hall was packed with members and friends who also heard all about Mothers’ Union projects from Valerie Ash, Diocesan President. There was a Marketplace with a selection of crafts, foods and, of course, the Mothers’ Union Enterprises stall. Phyllis was really excited about this evening when the Young Members, and their even younger daughters, worked together to produce such great entertainment as well as helping families across the world through the funds raised. Over £1000 was raised for the Overseas Fund.

I never thought Mothers’ Union could be so busy, apparently Summer time means planning ‘Away From It All’ (AFIA) short breaks for families under stress; branch outings; Diocesan Tours and mini marathon fundraising. I wish Phyllis would remember that I have four good legs and am willing to walk...........any suggestions, readers?

This month sees the General Meeting in Bath so I guess it will be more compensatory dog biscuits and another variation on mince for the men in the family!! No doubt I’ll tell you all about the event next month!

Stumpy’s Dog - Blog May 2013

Introducing Stumpy – the President’s dog and the new star of the MU Ireland Website!

Phyllis writes……

All of you who have a pet, whether cat, dog or hamster, will know what an important place your pet holds in your life. They know when we are happy and they know when we are worried. They are our faithful confidantes, listening to all our joys and sorrows.

My pet is no different. Stumpy was the ‘eeniest one of a litter of 8 – the result of an unplanned liaison between Sally (my son’s Corgi) and the neighbour’s Beagle! She was never meant to stay with us and was given her name simply to differentiate her from her brothers and sisters. Her name reflected both her runt-like size and her determined personality. I fell in love with her and decided she was too small to face an uncaring world. Stumpy has the tenacity of a Bulldog, her father’s wanderlust and her mother’s refusal to step back from any situation. In other words…a perfect mascot for a MU President!

Stumpy is always waiting for me when I return from my travels as All Ireland President and hears all about my experience over a cup of tea (well, tea for me……a biscuit for Stumpy). She’s a smart little dog – so smart in fact that she has agreed to be my Diary Correspondent for the MU Website….move over Pudsey! So, instead of a ‘President’s Blog’ to let you know what I’m up to, we will feature a monthly ‘President’s Dog’, written by Stumpy (with a little help!)

Follow our adventures month by month and hear what the President is up to!

 

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