Diocesan President Dr Margaret Knox and Diocesan Secretary Mrs Diane Whittaker
The Spring Council was held, as usual, in St Macartin's Hall, Enniskillen. In the absence of the Bishop, the President, Dr Margaret Knox opened the meeting with prayer.
Reports were given by the Co-ordinators of the four units. We heard of the support given by branches to knitting cardigans, hats etc. for the neo-natal unit of South West Hospital and also Trauma Teddies for the Accident and Emergency Department. These are greatly appreciated by the hospital.
Dr Knox who had been Indoor Members Contact for 16 years read her report for 2012. She reported there were 98 members; which includes one 101 year old and 2 other ladies who celebrated their 100th birthday during the year. The Bishop's Tea Party is always a special occasion and was celebrated last year in the See House by kind invitation of the Bishop and Mrs McDowell.
The 125th Anniversary had been celebrated last year with a Service in Christ Church Cathedral Dublin. There was also the Commissioning of Dr Knox as President. On 18 May 2012 the Festival Service was held in Donacavey Parish (Fintona). The Church was filled to capacity and a presentation was made to the out-going Diocesan Chaplain, Canon John Stewart. Canon Stewart had been chaplain for 11 years. The Bishop, Rt Rev John McDowell preached the sermon.
Mrs Valerie Stewart explained that the Northern Bank Employees Charity Group and the Church of Ireland Priorities Fund had given grants to the Teleconferencing Project which the older members of the MU take part in, this was very much appreciated.
A very interesting and informative report was given by Doreen Earls, the Worldwide Representative. In it she told of the crucial role played by the Worldwide Fund in providing grants towards the salaries of MU Community Development Co-ordinators in many countries. These are local women who are able to communicate directly with members and understand how to handle cultural issues.
We were reminded that the Relief fund was a completely separate fund used in times of crisis or disaster.
Poverty and starvation is still widespread in Uganda. MU Community Development bring the community together and try to encourage families to grow vegetables and fruit to improve their diets.
Over £10,000 from the Relief Fund was sent in 2012 to help MU in DR Congo, feed and resource refugees from the conflict. £15,000 was sent to Tanzania to help after a severe drought had caused crops to fail and families faced starvation.
Members attending MU Spring Council
It was announced that there would be a Prayer Breakfast in 2014 and that the Autumn Council would be held in Derryvullen North Parish, Irvinestown on 2nd October.
At the end of Council, Valerie Stewart on behalf of the MU members in the Diocese presented Geraldine Beattie with a cheque, as a token of their appreciation for the effort and enthusiasm she had shown during her six years as Diocesan President. Diane Whittaker also added her thanks for all the support and friendship she had received during this time. Geraldine responded appropriately saying how she had enjoyed her time and adding how she had appreciated the support and love she had received during her illness.