It’s time to get out your knitting needles or crochet hooks again!
The Clewer Initiative estimates that 0.2% of the population (2 in every 1000) are victms of modern slavery.
As our contribution to Anti-Slavery Day on Monday 18th October we hope to make a knitted/crocheted chain of 752 links. This represents the potential victims of modern slavery in our “county” towns of Oxford, Reading and Buckingham. By its very nature modern slavery is hidden, meaning it’s difficult to give a specific number, so we are using The Clewer Initiative recommendation.
When the chain is complete we’ll be taking it to Reading Minster where our Chaplain, Mary Harwood, will bless it and it will stay on display for a week. Following that, we plan to pass it round as many branches as we can during the following year, again for a week at a time.
The (very easy) knitting and crochet patterns can be found by clicking on the links below. This is a great opportunity to use up those small amounts of yarn that are always left at the end of a project to make multicoloured links. Once you have completed your links (please try to make at least ten, they really are very simple to make), and sewn them together please email Jean Vaughan at email@example.com for the address of where to send them.
In the previous edition of FOCUS we asked for nominations for Diocesan President. No names have yet been put forward. Please prayerfully consider any names of members who might be willing to take up this role. In the first instance please speak to our retiring President Maureen Weston.
AREA VICE PRESIDENTS
Tricia Campbell (Oxfordshire) and Val Bolan (West Berks) are able and willing to continue in post.
Christine Beynon (South Bucks) and Rachel Buckley (North Bucks) must retire as they have served 6 years in post. Jean Vaughan (East Berks) is moving on to become Unit Coordinator for Action &Outreach and so a new AVP is needed for this area. If you are a member in one of these areas, please consider who you wish to put forward as your representative. The Trustees have just updated the AVP role description, click on the link below to have a look at what is involved. After thinking and praying about your choice, speak to the person you feel could be your AVP and complete the nomination form linked to below. Forms can be sent to CMS House by post, marked for the attention of Louise Butler, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for nominations is 30th September.
Louise Butler must retire as Unit Coordinator of Finance and Administration. Please contact her if you would like more information about this post or if you know someone who could replace her.
Early in July there’s a weekend of fun and activities planned for lots of the families that Children Heard and Seen are supporting. There’ll be about 50 children coming, along with parents, and the age range of the children is from 2 to 16! Should be a great event.
There is accommodation available indoors but everyone will need a sleeping bag. I’ve had a few donated but if you or your families are having a clear out, or grandchildren have grown into adult size bags, I’d love to have them. I’m happy to wash and make them fresh again.
As many of the families will be travelling by train it would also be great if there were wellington boots available to use while they’re at the site. Early morning grass is always wet and starting the day with dry feet is so much more comfortable. All sizes, especially small child size, welcome.
The weekend will really boost the children’s confidence and give them so many happy memories to take home.
The Diocesan Projects account is always available if you feel like making a donation, via Eve or Geoff, but do let me know if you have anything to collect and I can arrange for that.
Action and Outreach
This year the format we have used for Make May Matter will be very difficult to use because of social distancing, lockdown and being unable to meet with friends and neighbours.
We have decided to offer you a different way of gathering funds for AFIA, which is most appropriate to the situation we find ourselves in at the moment.
Last year the CHURN benefice was urged to make ‘thank you’ cards for key workers, NHS workers and anyone that did essential work to keep things moving. This could be shop workers, Doctors, nurses, surgeries, bin men, or good neighbours helping those that can’t get out and about.
The Rev. Louise Butler put a notice in our parish magazine and on our church website that said this:
PLEASE SPONSOR US
to make and send 100 cards in May
to those who have been affected by the pandemic
and those we want to thank for giving their help during this crisis.
It was suggested that people ‘sponsor’ a local hero or someone they knew that had gone above and beyond the call of duty.
We suggest donations of £5 or £10 (or more!) along with the name and address of the person to be sponsored. Cash or cheque was given in a sealed envelope to Rev. Louise and cards duly sent out from the MU thanking the recipient sponsored. This was not to be targeted at only MU Members, but the whole of the community of our 7 villages. The MU had another part to play. MU members would be supplying the stamps, making, and writing cards and posting them.
Crafty MU members were encouraged to make cards to send to the sponsored heros’, and were given a list of names and addresses to write to and post. For those who could not make cards, the crafters made lots of extras to be distributed to other members, so that people only had a small number of cards to write and post. Our target was 100, but we easily managed that and the sponsorship raised a huge £700 for AFIA. The cards had a message written to the sponsored person and was sent from the Churn MU. The MU logo was put on the back of the card.
Do you think you could do this for our AFIA charity? Do you have some crafty members who can make cards to be distributed to other members for posting and writing? We still have people who need our AFIA breaks and this can happen as soon as things get back to normal, but we have to be able to fund the holiday breaks.
Please give this some consideration and think about how you can help. Please click on the links below for a step by step guide and craft resource.
Rosie Jackson Kilham.
Fundraising & Communications Unit
Thank you so much for all the help from members who knitted chicks for the children who are clients of Children Heard and Seen. I’ve delivered them to their office near Cumnor, which is in a wonderful country setting.
Some members said they’d enjoyed making the chicks so I suggest that you can use the pattern to make some for your own church, you could either sell them or ask for donations. Click the link below to download a sheet of labels, please either use these or in some way make sure you say they aren’t toys. Also, do check that safe stuffing is used in the head and the beaks are sewn on securely if you use felt.
I do hope you’ll be able to use this idea to make a little money for your own branch or maybe for the Project Account for future needs.
Action and Outreach
On 18th February, I took part a in Mary Sumner House virtual training session, Preparing for future meetings; the first of four led by Marion Pope. Participants were from across the UK and were encouraged to pass on the discussion points. In groups of eight we had a short session to introduce ourselves then had two longer sessions for discussion.
Preparing for future meetings: These are the main points from the four discussion groups.
What are the challenges you see?
Managing the future when there are unknowns, risk assessments. Government restrictions – sanitize space, maximum number allowed together, social distancing, masks/face covering. The confidence of members after such a long time in lockdown; members may still be shielding; should the branch hold a mixture of day/evening meetings? How will the branch organise transporting members who need a lift?
How do we encourage our MU members to engage fully in 2021?
Continue to communicate with all members: telephone chains, printed information, email, virtual/zoom meetings. Arrange several meetings with smaller numbers; organise a local prayer walk or a walk to socialise which could be sponsored to raise funds for an MU charity. Put MU branch information into the parish magazine/ pew leaflet to inform the members and wider community. Suggest members bring their own drink/snack.
What might future meetings look like?
Meet in church instead of a smaller meeting room. Thanksgiving service; meet in an outside venue e.g. a sports club golf, cricket, large garden, for a catch up with social distancing; continue zoom meetings if there is a demand; consult with members and act upon suggestions from your members.
When restrictions are eased, invite MU members who have no access to virtual/ zoom sessions to take part in one with the guidance of another experienced member.
If any Oxford Diocese MU members would like to take part in a similar discussion, I will arrange a virtual session. Best wishes to you all planning for your future meetings.
Valerie Bolan Trustee AVP for West Berkshire
We have just begun the final year of our Triennial and are beginning to plan ahead to form a new Trustee Board for 2022/24. Initially we must find a new President as our current Diocesan President, Maureen, will be retiring at the end of this year. We are looking for someone who can help build on the strong foundations which have been laid; a person who can energize the body of the Mothers’ Union in this Diocese.
Please prayerfully consider whether you yourself could offer to take on this responsibility or whether someone in your branch or a Diocesan member known to you would be ideally suited.
Generally, a President serves for 3 years and there is the possibility of standing for re-election for a second term if they wish.
If you would like to suggest a name(s) for this post please complete a nomination form, or write a letter containing the information required, and send it by post or email to:
Revd Louise Butler, Unit Co-ordinator for Finance and Administration
Postal address: MU office, CMS House, Watlington Road, Oxford, OX4 6BZ
If you wish to understand more about this position, please contact Louise in the first instance and she will forward your query.
Closing date for nominations is 30 April 2021.
The nomination form can be found below