UPDATE – Jill’s Walk for Mothers’ Union 2021

I have come up with the idea of virtually walking the length and breadth of the diocese. The distance north to south from Whissendine to Aynho is 135 kms.

West to East from Boddington to Eye is 80kms, making a total of 215 kms.

I started daily walks in Weymouth when staying with my daughter during the last lockdown and over Christmas and have continued once back home in Uppingham.

I have just completed 2 laps of the diocese and so have updated my just giving site.  If you would like to support or sponsor me please go to:

Jill Cannings is fundraising for Mothers’ Union (

And like Forrest Gump, I will just keep walking !!

The funds raised will contribute to our worldwide work and also work in the diocese. In particular, I would like to support AFIA (Away from it all). MU has traditionally sent families away on holidays by the sea. This may be possible this summer. However, in recent COVID circumstances they have offered flexible packages of support to families. The feedback has been amazing. I also want to support creating helpful packs for clergy to practically help them in their ministry.

Thank you for your support.

Jill Cannings


Celebrating Mothers’ Union in My Final Year as Diocesan President

As I write this article in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, there seems little to celebrate. However, this year MU celebrates 145 years since it started in a small Hampshire village and has grown into a worldwide charity with over 4 million members in 84 countries.

In the light of a worldwide pandemic MU has never been more important; acting and praying across the world. I have pledged myself to undertake 145 events, which will be real and virtual. We also celebrate 100 years since the death of our founder Mary Sumner.

As I am spending a lot of time walking at present, I have come up with the idea of virtually walking the length and breadth of the diocese. The distance north to south from Whissendine to Aynho is 135 kms.
West to East from Boddington to Eye is 80kms, making a total of 215 kms. As I started daily walks in Weymouth when staying with my daughter during the last lockdown and over Christmas, I have already completed the first 215 kms. I will therefore just keep walking rather like Forrest Gump!! I have set up a Just Giving
site: – The funds raised will contribute to our worldwide work and also work in the diocese.

In particular, I would like to support AFIA (Away from it all). MU has traditionally sent families away on holidays by the sea. This may be possible this summer. However, in recent COVID circumstances they have offered flexible packages of support to families. The feedback has been amazing. I also want to support creating helpful packs for clergy to practically help them in their ministry. My DP role comes to an end in December 2021 so I hope to fit in a great deal before then. There is a great need for prayer and action in this country and across the world, as families struggle with the multiple impacts of the Coronavirus. Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Jill Cannings Diocesan President


Working Together To Build God’s Kingdom

As a lay minister and Mothers’ Union Diocesan President (DP) I am a great believer in lay and ordained working together to build God’s Kingdom. We may have different roles and responsibilities, but are all gifted by God to share the good news of salvation. We may think of it in terms the great commission of making disciples (Matt 28:19 ), or in Mary Sumner’s prayer “touching lives for Christ”. Working and
praying together in our churches and communities can be mutually supportive.

Sadly many of our churches may no longer have an MU branch and the only evidence of past activity may be the old banner in the church. However, in my role as Diocesan President I am aware that across the diocese every possible support role in our churches is undertaken by MU members – lay ministers, church wardens, choir members, welcomers, intercessors, readers, servers, vergers, sacristans,
brass cleaners, etc. etc. I became starkly aware of this in two examples.

As a branch leader I was struggling to find MU members to run our popular homemade produce stall at the Church Christmas bazaar. I then realized that MU members were involved in all other stalls. MU can also fill our churches. My first engagement as DP was to speak at a Lady Day service. On a Tuesday the church was full and every role including welcoming, presiding, preaching, serving, reading and
interceding was undertaken by MU members. And of course after the service was a fabulous spread with tea and homemade cakes.

Many clergy are MU members. In my church we are blessed that the Rector and her husband are members, plus our curate, and our youth worker. Together we can achieve so much more in ministry and mission.

Jill Cannings


Greeting from Nat Stiles – Youth Worker and MU Member

My name is Nat and I am currently about to start my second-year training as a Children and Youth Minister in the Peterborough Diocese. When my training is finished, I will be working for the Rutland Deanery.

I live on my family farm, with my husband Pete and two teenage daughters Evie 13 and Abigail 16 and up until a year ago I managed a 20,000-bird poultry unit and was making plans for my next move to a bigger farm – silly me!

I have felt God’s call in my life for a while and would like to say I embraced it but being human I doubted I had the skills and knowledge to follow that call, I still do! I have been on our village PCC for a few years and served as Church Warden, I also helped to start a messy Church group, I thought all of these things would ease that sense of God’s calling, but I couldn’t ignore it any longer, so here I am!

I love being part of the Mothers’ Union family; it supports two of the things I am most passionate about, one being intergenerational worship and the other the power of prayer.

I was lucky enough to grow up with both sets of Grandparents and a Great Grandma, and although I didn’t realise it at the time my Great Grandma was the one who helped to sow that first seed of Faith.

My Great Grandma lived independently by herself till the day she passed away at 94, cooking for us all and always making sure to have the sweet jar full, she really was a very special lady. She hadn’t had the easiest of lives, contracting polio as a child left her partially deaf, she lost my Great Grandad to cancer when she was in her early 50’s, she also lost her son to a motor bike accident, he had only just come home from the war.

Her house was always busy with friends and family and I don’t think I ever saw her get cross or say an unkind word. Every night she would kneel next to her bed to pray even at 94, and when having a sleep-over I would kneel next to her, I didn’t really understand it but I knew it felt special. Her faith was very important to her and part of her everyday life, and she gave us the gift of taking the time to share it with us. I was only 14 when she passed away so she never got to see what a difference she made to my faith journey, but I guess she knows.

How privileged we are as Christians to have the opportunity to live out our faith every day, touching the lives of others for Christ.

I grew up in the environment of a large, loving family, a mix of all generations, sharing skills and knowledge with each other and empowering us all when we were young, and now, to go out and try to succeed in some things and make mistakes with others, with the confidence they would be there to support.

I now live next door to my sister and my mum and dad aren’t far away, and we have tried to do the same with our two girls and my nephew – it is a team effort!

But family doesn’t just mean someone we are related to, people I have met over the years have had a huge impact on my life, my Church family is one of them. As a Church it’s so important that we come together to worship and learn from each other.

It continues to amaze me the things children and young people say, things that can completely turn your thoughts around, they look at scripture with different eyes. I find they help me to think about how my faith and the way I share Christ with others, which can make a real difference and be so relevant in these new and sometimes troubling times.

Praise God for the individual gifts and skills we all have to offer across the generations, and though we may never know the difference we make to others, we just have to trust in the awesome wonder of His plans.

‘We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders he has done’ Psalm 78:4


Here are some family friendly links to some easy to use resources, if I can be of further help please get in touch, I would also love to hear about any resources you have found useful.

The Church of England, Faith at Home

Parenting for faith

Flame, creative children’s ministry

Pinterest has so many ideas to chose from.

The kitchen table project

The Bible society

Scripture union


Nat Stiles      email:


Mothers’ Union Retreat at Launde Abbey, 12th – 14th October 2020


Launde Abbey

Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th October 2020

Theme: 20/20 Vision

MU members are very good at looking after others; we are not always good at looking after ourselves.  There were times when Jesus needed to get away from the crowds and spend time in prayer and contemplation.

A MU retreat, in beautiful surroundings with good food and the company of friends, gives the opportunity for both peace and quiet and also for fellowship.

Total cost: £199.10

A deposit of £39.82 is required when booking.

Send cheque made out to Mothers’ Union Peterborough Diocese

to Lyn Ridley, 58 Britannia Road, Kettering, NN16 9RY.

Some bursaries are available – speak to Lyn.


Spotlight on Wellingborough Deanery


  • All Hallows
  • All Saints
  • Earls Barton
  • The Harrowdens and Orlingbury
  • Wollaston and Strixton

Our Deanery Leader is Barbara Haynes, the past President of the diocesan Mothers’ Union.

We come together as a Deanery to meet after Forum, to celebrate at our annual Deanery Festival and to hold a social evening to fund our current project. We are a deanery that believes in working together and also enjoy each other’s company during social and fund raising events.

Our project just completed was ‘purse bells’.

After hearing that a member’s purse had been stolen we decided to be pro-active in trying to make purses more secure. We purchased bells and the components to make them able to be fixed to purses. Several members met to put them together one afternoon. They have now been completed and distributed to every member in the deanery. Not only will they deter purse thieves but also if we hear them, and we will, we will be pretty sure that a M.U. member is in the vicinity.

We are now supporting the new Night Shelter in Wellingborough by supplying filled toiletry bags and towels for the people using the centre. The branches are now busy preparing these bags ready for when the shelter opens on 1st November 2019. This project will be on-going.

All Hallows meet once a month and have a Corporate Communion on the first Saturday of the month in The Lady Chapel at 9.30 which is open to all.

All Saints meet monthly in the church’s Lady Chapel and always begin with a said Communion service. We enjoy hearing from the varied speakers, with our talks based on the theme for the year. We are a prayerful and practical branch with projects including caring for the church’s children’s corner, providing toiletries for the Skylark Ward at Kettering General Hospital, and observing what is needed and getting on and doing it [M.U.L.O.A].

Earls Barton branch meets in member’s homes, and is run by a committee of the members. This group are very active in their village and help out at village events.

The Harrowdens & Orlingbury meet monthly for prayer & fellowship, offering support to the Rector of the Benefice, providing Baptism cards and Baptism anniversary cards. They are also committed to supporting MU Charities and projects.

Wollaston & Strixton branch hold quarterly, seasonal meetings. Due to the maturity of the members, they work to their strengths and are committed to fund-raising for the Mothers’ Union projects and also to praying for the Church and Mothers’ Union. This year they have raised over £500.00 for Mothers’ Union projects worldwide.

Past Events

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

The members in Peterborough Diocese are all taking part in the campaign for the 16 days from November 25th – December 10th. Some branches have held vigils, some have had services using the resources from Mary Sumner House or prayer meetings and some have had displays in their churches to raise awareness.

The picture shows the prayers written by Kingsthorpe branch for women and girls around the world who are abused in any way, which were then placed on the map.

Barbara Haynes, Diocesan President.

Past Events

50 Years Membership Certificates at Kingsthorpe Branch

Kingsthorpe Branch were pleased to welcome Barbara, our president, to present 50 years membership certificates to Margaret Glover and Mary Cheer at the morning service at St Mark’s Church on the 29th April. At the same service Helen Hickman was enrolled as a new member. The service was followed with cake and nibbles.

Ruth, Branch Leader



Grapevine Spring 2018

Click here to read Grapevine Spring 2018 – you will need software capable of reading PDFs

Past Events

Receiving Maundy Money From The Queen

On Maundy Thursday I travelled to Windsor to receive Maundy money from the Queen. All arrangements and the service are meticulously organised. One is invited to attend with a carer/ companion, and my daughter Emma was delighted to take on that role! We stayed overnight in Windsor and arrived early at the appointed car park on the “long walk,” the impressive entry into Windsor Castle. After politely undertaken security checks, we were driven in a royal coach into the castle grounds. We took our places in St George’s chapel and were treated to wonderful music and the arrival of an array of people with amazing titles and costumes. The Lord High Almoner briefed us on what would happen. People processed in including the Yeomen of the Guard, the Military Knights of Windsor, the Dean and Canons of Windsor, the Wandsmen, and many more with roles of historical significance. Four children chosen from local schools came carrying nosegays which traditionally masked the smell of the recipients!

Precisely at 11a.m the Queen entered with her own procession. Sadly, Prince Philip was not able to be there. It was the first time he had missed a Maundy service. The Queen is a diminutive figure. She was smartly dressed in a royal blue coat and hat. As a strong Christian she apparently loves this Maundy service. She has been handing out Maundy money since 1953. After the first reading from John 13:1-15 (Jesus washes the feet of the disciples) she proceeded around to personally hand two pouches of Maundy money to 92 recipients. After a brief sit down for a hymn she was up again after a second reading (Matthew 25:31-46) to dispense to the remaining 92. She smiled warmly at each recipient making it a very special moment.

After the service we had a reception in some of the magnificent rooms of Windsor; St George’s Hall, the Waterloo Chamber, the Grand reception room and the Garter Throne room.

We certainly do history, pomp and circumstance very well. However, this was also a very humbling experience. The service derives its name from the Latin “mandatum” meaning a commandment. The service starts with the words of Jesus “I give you a new commandment: Love one another: as I have loved you, so you are to love one another.” The Royal Maundy can be traced back in England with certainty to the 13th century. The first recorded Royal Distribution was in Yorkshire by King John in 1210.

From the 15th century the number of recipients has equalled the years of the Sovereign’s life. At one time, recipients were required to be the same sex as the Sovereign, but since the 18th century gender equality has been established, hence 92 men and 92 women received this year. Recipients are now pensioners selected by Bishops because of the Christian service they have rendered to the Church and community.

The Distribution is in two parts. A red purse contains a nominal allowance for clothing and provisions. A white purse contains the Maundy coins; silver pennies, twopences, threepences and fourpences according to the age of the Sovereign. The pouches are carried in six alms dishes dating from the reign of King Charles 11. All this is legal tender, but I will not be using it at the local shops! What a day to cherish.

Jill Cannings

Barbara, the diocesan president, is very pleased to see that Jill’s M.U. badge shows up so well on her white coat. Thank you.