The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Baghdad Visitation

On the third attempt to get a visa to Great Britain, Nawal the Leader of the Mothers’ Union and her husband Faiz who has been ordained Iraq’s first Anglican Priest arrived from St George’s Church Baghdad to visit, in her very busy schedule on Sunday 11 March we met at St Cuthbert’s Church Portsmouth, where Mothers’ Union members from the Portsmouth diocese were gathered to greet Nawal and Faiz. Greetings over we then had a short service followed by Nawal cutting the cake made especially for the day. After tea Nawal spoke of her work with the women in the church, the clinics they run, the food they serve to the poor, visit the sick and support disabled children in a nearby orphanage. Nawal is the Leader of a very large MU branch numbering several hundred, we in Portsmouth buy badges for these members. Nawal was telling us that on a Sunday evening while a service is being held in church she has up to 100 Muslim women in an upstairs hall talking to them about our Faith, of course the women cannot become Christians but they find friendship and enjoy the time spent together.

We had set up a stall showing all the knitted blankets, woolly hats, gloves, toilet bags and our lovely knitted toys which we make and give to our local projects. Nawal was fascinated and was very complimentary on our work. She was given some of the toys to take home, she would have taken them all but Faiz was worried about the weight of the cases going home, people had been so generous.

It was a lovely afternoon, we closed with prayer and holding hands said the Grace.

Southsea Citadel Annual United Rally

At the invitiation of the leader of the  Southsea Citadel to their Annual United Rally, members of the Mothers’ Union were given a lovely welcome, the afternoon commenced with a service in which Elaine Carter sang three songs and the Citadel Home League Singers sang two. The speaker was Lt Colonel Brenda Ward, her talk was highlighted with wonderful pictures of baskets of fruit shown on the overhead projector. The service ended with a Benediction followed by an invitation to tea which we enjoyed along with the fellowship of meeting new people from other areas, one lady on our table aged 93 years had been brought by her daughter from Sussex. It was a lovely afternoon and I know that Denise, Pat, Margaret and myself enjoyed the afternoon even though it was a very wet and windy day.

Lady Day Service

Lady Day is always an important time for MU members, we always have a deanery service, this year we met at St Nicholas Church, Bedhampton for a Communion service led by our chaplain the Revd Barry Smith. Tables were placed in such a way so that we could speak to other branch members not just sitting with our own group, it was a good way to discuss what other branches were doing and sharing ideas.

Lunch was Bring and Share. The members of our host branch supplied us with a cup of soup which was most welcome.

After lunch we had a very interesting talk “Love Russia” by the Rev Bruce Hardy, this was on a subject we hear little about, the lost children in Russia, so many are homeless they are on the streets because the family have no way of looking after them, they are so poor and out of work. There are many orphanages sometimes in very remote areas several miles from a road which means everything has to be carried, which restricts the amount of food for the children. The buildings are known to be in a deplorable condition, no hot water, little heating if any, lack of toilet, and washing facilities are dreadful; they are the lost children, when old enough to leave the orphanage they have little education and a poor chance of having employment. We were told that some help is being given by the authorities but not enough.

There are good people in Russia who take in the children, for one lady a widow has seven children in a four bedroom house. Other families are helping in any way they can. The speaker belongs to a society called ‘Love Russia’ - they do what they can but the authorities and red tape makes it difficult for them to do all they would like to do to help these children.

Donations were given by the members for ‘Love Russia’.

Jennefer Higginbottom

Branch Leader, St George’s MU

Child Poverty in Portsmouth

At our meeting on Thursday 19th April, Fr Ray Chapman gave a talk entitled Child Poverty in Portsmouth. He spoke about the work of the Roberts Centre which began with a legacy from a  Mr Roberts and from the 1980’s provided help for homeless families and for families in bed and breakfast or inadequate accommodation.

The centre included a nursery with qualified staff, a modern kitchen, laundry, arts and crafts room (where skills could be learnt), a medical room and an office providing advice on housing issues.

With altering sources of funding the Roberts centre has changed over time but still provides a valuable centre for families in need.

Janet Johnson

Festival Edition 2012

St George’s Mothers’ Union