July 2017

On Thursday afternoon,15th June, it was a pleasure to welcome residents and companions from Annadale Private Nursing Home, Belfast for lunch and friendship.  The afternoon weatherwise, turned out much better than forecast and they were able to go downtown for ice cream before returning home. 

Saturday 17th June was our annual outing and we were blessed with a glorious, hot summer's day!  Twenty seven members and friends travelled by bus to the Wedding Dress/Marriage Memories festival in St. Mark's church,  Newtownards.  The festival was wonderfully organised with fifty-six wedding dresses on display, some very old, so very recent, some on loan from famous people e.g. Lady Eames and Arlene Foster, and some from far off countries. It was indeed a most interesting and beautifully presented display.  

This was followed by a bit of retail therapy in Ards Shopping Centre before arriving at Rockmount Golf Club for our evening meal. Rockmount Golf Club lived up to its excellent reputation as the meal was superb,  with great service.   

Thanks, especially, must go to our highly organised Branch Leader, Elizabeth McCleery, who did everything possible to ensure we all had a fantastic day.  

The committee would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Summer break and we look forward to seeing you all again in September.

Audrey Briggs, Hon. Sec.


June 2017

The A.G.M. took place on Thursday 11th May with nineteen members in attendance.  The Rector opened the meeting in prayer and full reports were read from both the secretary and treasurer. Treasurer's accounts, as audited by D.R. Browne, were found to be correct and adopted by the members. As this was an election year a new committee was elected.  

The new committee is as follows: Elizabeth McCleery (Chairperson and Treasurer,), Audrey Briggs (Secretary), Mona McCracken, Margaret Neill, Barbara Robb, Jennifer White, June Kendall and we welcomed Wendy Rooney as our newest committee member.  We would like also to thank Isobel Lee for her contribution to the past committtee.  

The meeting was followed by members 'colouring in' postcards and informal chat. A lovely supper was also enjoyed.  

On Saturday May 20th we entertained the Mothers' Union ladies from Moy, Dungannon, to an evening meal and friendship. It was their annual outing but unfortunately the weather was not particularly kind. However, they left in good spirits and hope to return again.

Diary Dates :

17th June – Annual outing to St Mark's Church in Newtownards to view the Marriage Memories/Wedding Dress festival. Meal to follow in Rockmount Golf Club for 5:30p.m. Bus will leave at 1p.m. from church grounds. We are almost at full capacity now but if you are still interested in going please do let either Audrey(07761204071) or (07713776287)  know as soon as possible.

Audrey Briggs, Hon. Sec.


May 2017

The annual Mothers' Union Festival Service was held on Monday 27th March and eight members travelled to The Cathedral Church of Christ the Redeemer, Dromore, to celebrate thirteen decades of love and service of Mothers' Union in Ireland (1887 – 2017).

It truly was an uplifting service during which the commissioning of Revd Gerald McCartney as the new Mothers' Union chaplain took place as well as the commissioning of new trustees to office.  Afterwards there followed a beautiful supper in the nearby Cathedral hall.

The communion service on Maundy Thursday was followed by tea and chat in the hall. It's always lovely just to take time out to reflect and have a friendly chat with good friends.  

Diary Dates:

The A.G.M shall take place on Thursday 11th May at 7:30p.m.and triennial elections to form a new committee shall take place this year.  We would love to see a good turnout for this as it is important that all members have the opportunity to nominate or vote for who they would like to see in office for the next three years.  This will be followed by fun and games and supper. 

Our annual outing will be on Saturday 17th June to St. Mark's Parish Church in Newtownards to view their Marriage Memories/Wedding Dress festival. Meal in Rockmount Golf Club for 5:30p.m. and there will be an opportunity to visit Ards Shopping Centre between the Festival and meal.  If interested in going and your name is not on the list it is vitally important to contact either Audrey (07761-204071) or Elizabeth (07713-776287)  as we are travelling by bus and we need to know exact numbers.

Audrey Briggs, Hon. Sec.


April 2017

Judith Byrne, from N.I Assistance Dogs (N.I.A.D.) was our guest speaker for March and she brought along Rolo, a beautiful chocolate Labrador with her ‘partner’ Wendy.  Wendy has unstable diabetes and has also lost her ‘hypo’ awareness so she benefits greatly from having Rolo who is a highly trained medical alert dog. The organisation sources reliable dogs from a reputable breeder before fostering them out to Puppy Parents for their first eighteen months to learn obedience and socialisation in conjunction with The Kennel Club. The Puppy Parents are their greatest resource.  After this initial training they are paired up to a suitable partner and the true ‘diabetic alert’ training begins.  The dog is trained to recognise the drop or rise in blood sugars of their partner and react accordingly; first pawing at the person, then whining, next jumping on them and finally barking. If all that fails they will seek out another person and return with them to their partner.  The dog will not stand down until he sees his partner being tested for blood sugars and treated.  The dog always wears his medical alert coat so that the general public knows he is a working dog.  A medical alert dog has a working life of about 7 years and costs about £10,000 to train and home.  Fundraising is an important role of N.I.A.D and the Mothers’ Union ladies were able to purchase beautiful homemade chutneys and jams to help with this cause. We all enjoyed having them to visit.

A planned 50k Mothers’ Union emergency relief project to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from the civil war in South Sudan has been publicly backed by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and anyone wishing to donate towards can do so by going online at www.mothersunion.org/SouthSudan  

Mothers' Union Diary Dates

Monday 27th March – MU Festival Service in Dromore Cathedral at 8p.m. Cars leave at 6:30p.m. from church grounds.

Thursday 13th April – Maundy Communion Service. Tea and chat in hall afterwards.

 Audrey Briggs, Hon. Sec.


March 2017

Valerie Hanna from Mission Aviation Fellowship was the guest speaker for February and very interesting she was too.  She talked us through a slide show on the marvellous work being carried out by M.A.F in some of the most inhospitable and isolated areas of the world. Areas such as Chad, South Sudan, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea.  

M.A.F is a Christian organisation that supplies aviation, communications and learning technology services to over 1,000 different charities and agencies.  Their planes, currently numbering 137, are either taking off or landing on a mission every three minutes somewhere in the world, usually in a remote or dangerous place and often on makeshift runways.  

The pilots are very experienced and it is an occupational requirement they be committed Christians.  Prayers are always the last thing said before take off and the gospel of Jesus is presented whenever possible.  Charities such as Tearfund and Save the Children, to name just two,  charter these planes at a cost and this enables M.A.F to carry out their valuable work.  

Valerie was extremely passionate and informative about M.A.F and told us many stories of the work carried out.  One such story was about a U.S. pilot called Kevin who had been asked by an air traffic controller if he could possibly obtain a Bible for him as the wages he was on were so low he could never afford to buy one.

  Kevin said that of course he would and asked if anyone else would like one.  The response was overwhelming and Kevin had to wire his church back home requesting 70 Bibles altogether, which fortunately they were able to supply.  www.maf.org

Diary Dates: 

3rd March - at 11a.m.  Women's World day of Prayer in Newcastle Presbyterian Church,

9th March  - Next Meeting - Judith Byrne, N.I. Assistance dogs

20th March - 7:30p.m. Invitation to Fun night by St. Donard's Women's Fellowship, Dundrum

27th March -  8p.m. Festival Service in Dromore Cathedral. Names to be given to either Elizabeth or Audrey.  

Preliminary notice of June outing: 17th June – Flower Festival & Marriage Memories in St. Mark's Church, Newtownards.  As well as the Flower Festival there will be wedding dresses on display of well known people, including Lady Eames's. Shopping in Ards Shopping Centre. More details to follow.

Audrey Briggs, Hon. Sec.


February 2017

The Christmas party on 8th December was a great success with 48 guests and members attending. A beautiful supper was followed up with some festive entertainment. Skits acted by some of our own members - definitely some budding actors in our midst - The Barbershop Quartet and a visit from Santa! 

A really enjoyable evening indeed. And a big thank you to all those who brought toiletry bags; it was a great response.  These have been forwarded to the Diocesan office to be distributed to hospitals for emergency admissions.  Very much appreciated.

Guest speaker for January's meeting was Joy Silcock, Social Policy Representative for Down & Dromore Mothers' Union. Joy was Diocesan President for the three years preceding this most recent appointment.  She is a very committed Mothers' Union stalwart, full of enthusiasm and energy for her new new role.  It was a very informative evening as Joy told members about the success of the Bye Bye Childhood campaign in stopping the superstores from selling provocative clothing for children as young as seven.  

Mothers' Union were also highly involved in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and led a successful worldwide campaign in November.

On a local level Joy told us how Mothers' Union, Down & Dromore, identify and respond to issues affecting the welfare of our own society, should that be helping families to get a break from problems deeply affecting family life, e.g., divorce, job loss, addiction to name but a few. 

They are also involved with the Newry Womens Aid centre and at Christmas were able to help out with the Santa giving to children.

As Joy said, the badge of the Mothers' Union is an internationl badge and she talked about the many women in South Africa, often leading very difficult lives with HIV/Aids being a huge problem, yet they are very faithful Mothers' Union.  Their social policies are very different to ours and all they ask is that we pray for them.  

Our annual post-Christmas dinner was held in Frenchies on Tuesday night 17th January and it was a lovely, relaxing social evening with good cuisine and friendly chat. Three of our members performed a little sketch that had the rest of us in fits of laughter! Indeed 'Aggie' may still be pondering how long the road called the Seven Mile Straight is!