Mother's Union 60th Anniversary
Mother's Union 60th Anniversary

A service of thanksgiving for 60 years of Magheracross Mothers Union was held in Magheracross Parish Church on Sunday 19 June at 3.00pm. The preacher was the Rev William Nixon, past parishioner and Rector of Killaney and Carryduff.
During the service a stained glass window, which speaks of Gods loving kindness and presented by the Mothers Union, was dedicated by Canon Harry Trimble, Rector of Magheracross from 1985-1990. Canon Trimble also dedicated a stained glass window which is the gift of Gladys and Roy Fisher. It depicts Noah's Ark symbolizing faith and obedience.

Bible markers for all Mothers Union members were dedicated by the Rector. After the service, tea was served in the church hall when four founder members, Mrs Elsie Fisher, Mrs Pearl Knox, Mrs Gloria Gilmore and Mrs Annette Coalter cut the anniversary cake.

The Rector then presented Mrs Olive Nixon, Branch Leader, with a mounted group photograph of the Branch. The Select Vestry have very kindly offered to provide a copy of the photo to all members.

The Mothers’ Union is an international Christian organisation that supports families worldwide. It was founded in the nineteenth century by Mary Sumner to help women in their vital role as mothers. Mary believed that children needed more than good material welfare; they needed to be brought up in a network of living relationships that bear witness to the love of God. Her organisation started out very small. Working with women of every class in her own area, and grounding their meetings in mutual support and prayer. The idea quickly caught on and now the Mothers’ Union has members all over the world.
Not all the members now are mothers, or married or even women. Membership is open to all denominations.
In June 1951 a branch of the Mothers’ Union was formed in Magheracross Parish by Mrs Maud Kingston, the wife of the then Rector the Rev. Edwin Kingston. Mrs Kingston was appointed as President, a position now known as Enrolling Member. 22 ladies were enrolled at that time.
A branch banner was dedicated on 30th November 1969 by the Very Rev. Thomas Clements, B.D. in memory of Canon Edwin Kingston M.A.
Since then there have been eight enrolling members. Mrs Margaret Jackson, (1961-1969), The late Mrs Sadie Sproule, (1969-1973), The late Mrs Muriel McNutt, (1973-1984), Mrs Anne Loane, (1985-1987), Mrs Noreen Elliott, (1987-2000), Mrs Olive Nixon, (2000-2006), Mrs Linda Tisdall, (2006-2009), Mrs Olive Nixon, (2009-2011). The present Secretary is Mrs Valda Beatty and the Treasurer Mrs Iris Elliott. A committee of 12 members arrange the monthly programme with speakers covering a wide variety of subjects. They also arrange a night out at Christmas for members and friends and an outing in May/June to places from Donegal to Bangor and everywhere in between. The format of the monthly meeting includes opening with a hymn, scripture reading and prayers, the invited speaker and concluding with a cup of tea and fellowship.
There are four founders members still alive today, Mrs Annette Coalter, Mrs Pearl Knox, Mrs Gloria Gilmore and Mrs Elsie Fisher. The present membership is 59.
Since the branch was formed, the Mothers’ Union has played a very active part in the life and worship of Magheracross Parish. Members help out at the weekly Mother and Toddler Group which meets on Tuesday mornings, where they support young mothers and carers, visiting families when a new baby is born, helping at the weekly Friday lunches in the Archdale Hall. Each year they organise a Parish Lunch, the proceeds of which are given to a variety of charities or to Church funds. Every Christmas they visit the house bound in the parish with a present. Members visit the elderly in the parish on a regular basis and also those in hospital .They also provide refreshments at various events in the parish including funeral teas and the Learning Disabled Carol Service every Christmas. This help is very much appreciated by the parish and the community at large.
The members have also been known to take to the stage, whether it is as models for a Fashion Show, performing sketches or performing as “ABBA”. Members make blankets from knitted squares which are given to local Nursing homes, the elderly in the community or sent overseas to worthy causes. They also knit items for “premature babies” in the Erne hospital and teddies for children who have to visit A & E. Who ever said that Mothers’ Union members were only “tea makers”.
Having said that there was one occasion when the members were honoured to be “tea makers”. In May 2002 the members served tea to Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip when they visited Ballinamallard in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year.
To mark the 60th anniversary the branch arranged the installation of a new window in the parish church with images on the theme of the Mothers’ Union. A branch photograph was taken in the parish Church in May and this was to be displayed in the Mothers’ Union room in the Archdale Hall along side those of the 40th and 50th anniversary. It was a great pleasure that day to have our indoor members present, the oldest being Mrs Olive Johnston aged 99.
The branch goes from strength to strength and they hope to be as strong in 10 years time.

Date: July 2011