The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville

In June our branch outing was to Stansted House for lunch. The staff of the Pavilion Tea Rooms were very welcoming and upon arrival we were shown to a table that was large enough for us all to sit together. The meal was delicious, with desserts for those who still had room for them! Unfortunately due to an arranged function at Stansted House the following day the main house and chapel were closed. However this left time for some of us to enjoy a stroll around the garden centre.

On the 6th July we were invited to the Havant Deanery Service and Strawberry Tea at St Wilfrid’s Church, Cowplain. The service was led by Rev Barry Smith our Mothers’ Union Chaplain. There followed a wonderful strawberry tea which was enjoyed by all. Several of us were shown the extended garden which is adjacent to the Hall. The land had been bought from a neighbour who had found his large garden too much for him. The extra space provides the Church with a wonderful outdoor space, an added bonus being the many established fruit trees.

The 15th July saw us all invited to the home of Jennefer Higginbottom for our fundraising Garden Party. Unfortunately the weather was against us so we were not able to sit and enjoy Jennefer’s beautiful garden. However our host made us all very welcome inside No 5. Including guests from Emsworth and Portsdown branches and six ladies from the Sacred Heart Church there were about 30 of us. A scrumptious afternoon tea was served and a very pleasant afternoon was enjoyed by all. The sum of 133 was raised for the MU Overseas Development Fund.

The MU Deanery outing on 22nd July went to Christchurch. Hardly had our coach left Waterlooville than the heavens opened and our thoughts turned from sunhats and sun screen to had we packed the waterproofs! We needn’t have worried however, as by the time we reached our first stop, a large garden centre complex, the sun was shining again. There was even an Edinburgh Woollen Mill there and some of us indulged happily in a little ‘retail therapy’.

After 1 hours stop, we went on to Christchurch, arriving in time for lunch. We separated into small groups, some to find pubs or restaurants, others had come prepared with picnics.

The afternoon was spent pleasantly browsing in shops and exploring the area. Some of us visited the excellent Museum of Electricity. At 5.pm we gathered together at the Priory for the evening service and by 6.pm were all back on the coach and heading for home. It was a most enjoyable trip.

Two of our members enjoyed an inspiring and restful Quiet Day on the 5th August, at the home of our MU Chaplain and his wife Sue Smith (Havant Deanery Coordinator).

Our programme for the next two months is primarily concerned with our 100th Anniversary of St George’s MU branch. On the 21st November we will be joining with the congregation to celebrate our Anniversary with a family Eucharist. On the 25th November we shall enjoy lunch followed by a Service of Thanksgiving led by Rev Barry Smith.

On the 6th October following a Corporate Communion we will be holding a coffee morning at 10.30am in the Church Hall in aid of Cakes for Brakes. We are raising money in order to pay MU Overseas Development Workers and aid transport. Mothers’ Union transport budgets have been cut by 60% in the global recession. Without it they can’t run their family support projects, or get crucial aid to the families who need it. There will be homemade cakes, Bring and Buy, crafts, raffle etc. We would appreciate any donations of homemade cakes or prizes for the raffle, your presence on the day would be much appreciated.

Although from this account it would appear that our meetings always involve food – far from it. We often have very interesting guest speakers, talks and led meditations by our clergy, but of course tea and biscuits are always served too! We would warmly welcome any members of St George’s congregation to our meetings. The meetings are held in the Church Hall and are generally held on the 3rd Thursday of every month commencing at 2.15pm and finish around 4pm.

On the 17th August 15 of our members attended a service at the Church centre of St Nicholas, Bedhampton. The service was led by our chaplain Rev Barry Smith with our guest speaker being Canon Andrew White – ‘The Vicar of Baghdad’ as he is so often referred to. Canon White was accompanied by 3 of the young people from his Church in Baghdad, St George’s, who presented our MU Diocesan President Mrs Sheila King with a beautiful banner that had been made by the MU members in Baghdad.  Canon White delivered an inspiring and at times very moving account of his ministry in Iraq. He said that he had welcomed the chance of meeting so many of the members of the Portsmouth Diocese Mothers’ Union. He thanked us for all the continuing support we give him both financially and spiritually. He praised the ladies of the Baghdad MU who work tirelessly to care for so many people who look to his Church for help. The MU ladies manage to feed hundreds of people who arrive at the Church looking for food each week. Canon White spoke candidly about his fears for the future of Iraq. On the morning of his visit to us Canon White said that there had been another bombing in Iraq. He was asked if he ever felt disconsolate, to which he replied strongly ‘No!’  He believes that God answers all his prayers, and that God is present in Iraq.  After the service more than 100 people were able to enjoy a welcome cup of tea and cake. Our thanks should go to the wonderful ladies of St Nicholas who were undaunted at the number of people present. A collection raised the wonderful sum of 650 to further Canon White’s ministry in Iraq.

A further 700 was raised on the day, from the sale of books written by Canon Andrew. All the proceeds from the book sales are given to the church in Baghdad.

Sue Andrews and Janet Johnson


Autumn Edition 2010

St George’s Mothers’ Union