|February TBC||Quiet Day at Home with Rev Mary Harwood|
|Friday 25 March||Diocesan Lady Day Service & Meeting at Witney Parish Church|
|Sunday 27 March||Mothering Sunday|
|Sunday 17th April||Easter Day|
|Wednesday 20 – Friday 22 April||Wave of Prayer|
|Tuesday 9 August||Mary Sumner Day|
|Friday 23 September||MU Service in Belfast|
|Saturday 24 September||MU Annual Gathering in Belfast|
|Tuesday 11 October||AGM and Autumn Meeting at Benson Village Hall|
|Friday 25 November – Saturday 10 December||16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence|
These dates can be printed using the link below:
Newly adapted pattern for the stars! Edith Coulton has made it much easier to knit and it’s flatter when you’ve done it, so please feel free to use this if you prefer. Looking forward to receiving some beautifully crafted stars!
To mark Anti-Slavery Day (18th October 2021), the Mothers’ Union in the Oxford Diocese has spent the summer knitting and crocheting giant chains that symbolise the number of unseen victims of modern slavery across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The incredible chain will be unveiled next week at Reading Minster.
The Mothers’ Union, in collaboration with The Clewer Initiative (the Church of England’s response to modern slavery), was looking for a way to generate interest around Anti-Slavery Day and raise awareness of modern slavery in a COVID-secure way. It decided to make chain links to represent the estimated 4380 (1) victims of modern slavery in the Oxford Diocese and enlisted the support of its local Mothers’ Union branches to help reach the ambitious goal.
Caroline Virgo, director of The Clewer Initiative, comments: “The Clewer Initiative and Mothers’ Union are united in our goal to end modern slavery in the UK. The craft chain project is a simple way in which we are attempting to awaken local communities to the horror of slavery and challenge people to find out more about the issue. We are often told by frontline workers in statutory services that any way of getting the message about modern slavery to a general demographic is useful. We hope that each chain will result in many conversations about modern slavery and people resolving to take concrete action.”
Maureen Weston, Diocesan President of the Mothers’ Union in the Oxford Diocese, explains: “Anti-Slavery Day provides a perfect opportunity to raise awareness. The handicraft project has been particularly well received because it is a way for people to get involved without having to gather in big numbers or attend events. The eye-catching chains have enabled us to raise awareness of the presence of mode Victims rn slavery to a much wider audience. They are a powerful symbol and we hope that the 1460 links will help people begin to grasp the true scale and horror of the issue in our communities.”
On Monday, 18th October, Anti-slavery Day, the chain will be unveiled at an exhibition at the Reading Minster Church by Maureen Weston, diocesan President of Mothers’ Union. The exhibition will then tour different churches across the Diocese during the following weeks.
For all media enquiries, contact Jenny Searle on 07785 938071
Notes to Editors
For more information about modern slavery, visit Mothers’ Union partner, The Clewer Initiative, https://theclewerinitiative.org/
For information on the partnership between the Mothers’ Union and The Clewer Initiative, visit https://www.mothersunion.org/projects/mothers-union-clewer-partnership
The Clewer Initiative
The Clewer Initiative was launched in 2016 as the Church of England’s response to modern slavery. The Clewer Initiative exists to mobilise the Church and communities to take action against modern slavery. We aim to share learning, signpost best practice amongst our partners and contribute to policymaking and more effective legislation.
The Clewer Initiative works in varying ways with the Church of England’s 42 dioceses as well as with other denominations, faith groups and community organisations. It shares learning and knowledge through its network and helps support community-based projects.
The Clewer Initiative is funded by the Clewer Sisters, an Anglican order of Augustinian nuns founded in 1852 to help marginalised, young women who found themselves homeless and drawn into the sex trade.
1 This figure is based on the Global Slavery Index which estimates there are 136,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK. The population of the UK is 66.65million. The population of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire is 2.14million. Calculated as a proportion and assuming the victims of slavery are evenly spread across the country, this would mean approximately 4380 victims in the Oxford Diocese.
We would like to give a knitted star to each of the “Children Heard and Seen” children for Christmas. They take very little yarn and would be lovely in a sparkly yarn if you have any! Please click the link below for the pattern. When you have completed them please send them to Jean Vaughan, her address can be obtained from the office.
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