Recent News
Pop-up Shop


The last Pop-up Shop before the summer holidays, it's the end of Season Clearance Sale! Why not pop along and learn more about Mothers' Union and pick yourself up a wee bargain.





Craigs, Dunaghy & Killagan Enrollment Service


At a recent Lenten Service, the Rev'd Adrian Halligan enrolled 9 new members into the Craigs, Dunaghy and Killagan Parish Mothers' Union Branch. The Branch has a packed programme planned from now until the end of December. Great to see Mothers' Union flourishing in our Diocese.





Following a dream….


About 3 years ago I had a dream - I dreamt that I was working in a charity shop in my home village. There was stock everywhere of all kinds and everything was as I like it to be - sitting to perfection!

In the small back room, I had tea-making facilities and tea was on tap for all who visited the shop. The dream was so real that I woke up exhausted from a hard night’s work in my shop!! I found it almost impossible not to think about the shop and my excitement was such that I did tell more than a few people! When I shared the idea with my Branch members at St John’s Crumlin they were crystal clear in their response which was simply that I should ‘DREAM ON’! I began to wonder why I didn’t know of any MU Charity shops ANYWHERE.

I was invited to attend the ‘EQUIPPED TO SERVE’ MU Conference at Swanwick, by our then DP Valerie, and thought I might get some more answers there. I did raise the subject at a few opportunities but realised that my dream was unique and that no MU Charity shops exist. I came home still wondering ‘why not?’

Time passed and my dream was never far from my thoughts. I raised the subject again with my Branch members. We knew from our coffee morning type fundraisers that MU was always well supported by the community in the village. I suggested that we try a ‘POP-UP’ type charity shop from 10 -12 noon on a Saturday morning, once a month, as an experiment and, to cut a very long story short, we opened for the first time last November.

The support and buzz created has been astounding! Donations of stock have been overwhelming! We have had 3 ‘POP-UPS’ – Nov, Dec and Feb - and have raised in total £1347.68. However, it’s not all about the money! We have a great sense of fun along with all the hard work. We are supported by many friends and church members who are becoming more aware of the work of MU.

I think we are on a very important journey in the life of MU in St John’s Crumlin. In many ways we are becoming a name held in high esteem within the community and our profile is being raised in the process. There are many ways we can change each month to keep the interest going. We are full of big ideas and have dates set for the upcoming second Saturdays of each month.
What’s not to be excited about?!!

by Lyn Cassidy, Branch Leader of St John’s Crumlin

(The article above first appeared in the latest edition of In Touch which is edited by Moira Thom)






Mid Connor Area Pop-up Shop & Coffee Morning 2019


Congratulations and well done to all the ladies in Mid Connor who raised over £600 at this event on Saturday. The hall was full of chat, laughter and fellowship and everyone enjoyed the morning. For further information on the Pop-up Shop have a read at the "Following the dream..." article on our Facebook page, website and also in the latest edition of In Touch.

More photos of the day can be found in our gallery.






Belfast Cathedral's Mothers' Union April Meeting


Jo-Anne Dobson, Northern Ireland ambassador for the patient support charity Kidney Care UK, was a guest of Belfast Cathedral’s Mothers’ Union on Saturday, April 14. The former Assembly Member, who donated a kidney to her son Mark in March 2018, was invited to the branch meeting to talk about kidney donation and raise awareness of all types of organ donation.





Festival & Commissioning Service 2019


Mrs Sally Cotter was commissioned Diocesan President of Connor Mothers’ Union at the annual Festival Service in Belfast Cathedral on Sunday, April 7.

Mrs Cotter, who succeeds Mrs Valerie Ash, was commissioned by the Chaplain of Connor Mothers’ Union, the Ven Dr Stephen McBride, Archdeacon of Connor. The theme of the service was ‘Listen, Observe, Act – In Step with God.’

The preacher was the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Stephen Forde. Worship was led by the Cathedral Choir. The readings were by Mrs Lyn Cassidy, Mid Connor Area Secretary, and the Rev Dr Bob Cotter, husband of the new President. The Prayers of Intercession were led by Joyce Bond, Faith and Policy Unit Co-ordinator, and Irene Gates, Diocesan Secretary.

Banners for all Mothers’ Union Branches in Connor Diocese were carried in procession and presented to the Diocesan Chaplain before the service and carried out again in procession at the end.

Sally Cotter, a former primary school teacher, has been a member of the Mothers’ Union since 1989 and has held posts at all levels.

Her first branch was St Nicholas, Carrickfergus, where she was branch young members rep; area education rep. She was on the Prayer and Spirituality Unit and in 1996 was appointed Diocesan Marketing Co-ordinator.

In 2001 Sally became All-Ireland Marketing Co-ordinator and in 2007 was appointed to the Marketing Unit Committee at Mothers’ Union headquarters in Mary Sumner House.

She was Diocesan Worldwide rep from 2007-2013, and since 2013 has been Vice-President of Fundraising and Communications in Connor Diocese.

Sally joined the Broughshane branch of Mothers’ Union in 2010, when her husband Bob became a curate in the parish of Skerry Rathcavan and Newtowncrommlin, Broughshane.

The couple met when they were both singing with the St Anne’s Cathedral Evening Choir in 1979. Sally was organist in First Lurgan Presbyterian Church for five years and in Holy Trinity Parish Church, Woodburn, for 13 years. She currently plays in Donegore Parish and has been a church organist for 30 years.

She ran a Mothers’ Union choir in Carrickfergus for 21 years. Named ‘Sally’s Singers,’ the choir sang all over Ireland, north and south, and raised money for charity.

Sally has been a trustee of Carrickfergus Home Start for 20 years and has also been a Sunday School Superintendent and a Girls’ Brigade Officer.

Sally taught in King’s Park Primary School in Newtownabbey for 31 years before taking early retirement. She and Bob have one son, Christopher.

Report as it originally appeared on the Diocese of Connor webpage on Monday 8th April 2019.






Tree Planting in Holy Trinity, Ballycastle 2019


On Tuesday 2nd April our new Diocesan President had the pleasure of planting a Rowan tree in at Holy Trinity, The Diamond, Ballycastle. This was the tree to mark 130th Anniversary of MU in Ireland. Trees have now been planted in all twelve dioceses in Ireland. The 13th tree is depicted on a piece of stained glass in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. The trees represent 13 decades of MU in Ireland. Trees were planted to acknowledge Mothers’ Union being rooted in prayer and faith and reaching out to our communities through our branches and members.

Along with the tree, Sally placed a pendant which belonged to Mrs Pat Mayes, who was the General President of the Mothers’ Union in Ireland 1977-1983. It represents her committed leadership and that of many others in the MU.

The tree planting was followed by the North Connor Area Service; a very meaningful service of Holy Communion conducted by Rev. David Ferguson. The sermon was given by Diocesan Lay Reader, Mrs Sharon Wilson. She spoke about the various qualities of different trees. We too have different qualities and talents that we can bring to Mothers’ Union.






Mid Connor Baby Basics Presentation 2019


Congratulations and well done to all the branches in Mid Connor who put together 2 filled Moses baskets plus some additional items for the Baby Basics project. Jill Hamilton attended the Muckamore Branch Meeting on Monday 25th March to collect items. She also gave a brief talk to the members. Lyn Cassidy, Area Secretary and Irene Paget, Area Chair made the presentation on behalf of Mid Connor.





St Patrick's, Broughshane AGM 2019


St Patrick’s Broughshane Mothers Union chairperson Mrs Allison Campbell pictured with Mrs Geraldine Ramsey at the recent AGM. After many years of dedicated service as Branch Secretary Geraldine is taking a well-earned break! Well done Geraldine!





16 Days of Activism Vigil


The plight of abuse against women at home and around the world was highlighted at a Vigil hosted by Connor Mothers’ Union in Belfast City Hall on Monday, November 26.

The Vigil and Reception, attended by Deputy Lieutenant of Belfast, Mrs Michele Marken, was organised to raise the profile of the Mothers’ Union’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

The guest speaker was Jacqui Armstrong, All Ireland Faith and Policy Co-ordinator. Other high profile attendees included Phyllis Grothier, All-Ireland Mothers’ Union President; the Archdeacon of Belfast, the Ven George Davison; and Heather Flanigan of the Christian Police Association.

Representatives of branches across Connor Diocese were among the 75 guests.
The international 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign takes place each year from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until December 10 (International Human Rights Day).

Throughout the campaign, Mothers’ Union joins many others globally in calling for an end to gender-based violence in all forms and in all societies.

On Monday evening, following refreshments, guests were welcomed by Valerie Ashe, outgoing President of Connor Mother’ Union, who played a short video about the work of Mothers’ Union.
All-Ireland President Phyllis Grothier highlighted the importance of the 16 Days of Activism. “This campaign is at the core of what Mothers’ Union is all about as we reach out to families who don’t enjoy all that should be in a family relationship,” she said. “We seek to stand with people who are in trouble and let them know that we care, to let them know that there is another life out there.”

In her address, Jacqui Armstrong said that when she began working on this campaign in 2014, she had no idea of the extent of gender-based violence, particularly against women.

“Gender-based violence is a new term and means violence against women and men, but our 16 Days campaign focuses on women due to the disproportionate number of women affected,” Jacqui said.
One in three or one on four women will be affected, and the statistics are the same in every continent, she said. In Northern Ireland five people a year are killed by their partner, and the victims are predominantly women.

The campaign aims to explore the root causes of gender-based violence, to highlight the issue of abuse and to seek to end it.

During the 16 days, Mothers’ Union members will be lighting candles, tweeting daily, writing to politicians and undertaking other activities to highlight the issue, Jacqui said.

She spoke about how the Mother’s Union was also tackling gender-based violence overseas, using as an example the Democratic Republic of Congo where, thanks to intervention by the Mothers’ Union Prison Programme, prison authorities had agreed to house women and children in separate sections of a prison to men.

Jacqui concluded quoting the words: “Let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”

As the Vigil ended Connor MU Social Policy Contact, Cathy Doig, lit a candle, and following a pause for reflection, the prayers were read by Mothers’ Union members Jean, Evelyn, Cathy and Joyce.

Before leaving, guests were invited to view the exhibition ‘Souls of our Shoes,’ which uses footwear to tell stories of survivors of gender-based violence.






Diocesan Quiet Evening 2018


A beautiful Summer evening in June saw members from all over Connor Diocese gather in St Patrick’s Church Hall, Broughshane for a “Quiet Evening” which was facilitated by Louise Bowes, a Diocesan Reader and the Northern Representative on the World Day of Prayer National Committee.

The aim of the evening was to have a quiet time, some down-time and some God-time. It was based on the MULOA process, giving those present the chance to think about Listening to God, Observing the Moment and Acting out God’s will.

Louise reminded us that in the midst of our busy lives, we often fail to take time to rest our bodies and our minds and through Readings, Prayer, Music and Meditation, we were inspired, rejuvenated and calmed in equal measure.

We were reminded of how prayer is an important part of our Mothers’ Union membership and that our action and outreach is based on Biblical principles and encouraged to think about how and when we pray and to be aware of Gods’ response to our prayers.

Of course, no gathering of Mothers’ Union members would be complete without a cup of tea and chat and this was kindly provided for us by the members of St Patrick’s, Broughshane Branch.






Presentation of PS4


Presentation of PS4 to Central Belfast Contact Centre, which was purchased using the proceeds of East Connor Mothers' Union Prayer Breakfast. Well done ladies and we are sure the children have lots of fun using it.





Baby Basics Visit 2018


Emma and I recently visited the local headquarters of Baby Basics (Church Army, Tennent street Shankill Road) to hand over East Connor’s Baby Basics basket. We received a very warm welcome from Sister Karen, who showed us around their very well organised operation. The photo above shows Sister Karen and me with our basket next to a beautiful filled one ready for a young mother and baby.

Many branches have shown interest in filling baskets making a contribution to what is a very much needed resource. Ladies give it a go!

Lynne x






Craigs, Dunaghy & Killagan Hospital Gifts 2018


The Craigs, Dunaghy and Killagan Mothers' Union Branch held a very successful projects night in October and the fruits of their labours were presented to various wards in Antrim Area Hospital the following week. In total, the ladies produced 56 colouring packs, 34 baby cardigans, 28 baby blankets, 56 toilet bags, 33 baby hats and 7 angel baby items. The photo above shows branch members Alice Logan, Betty Johnston, Wendy Halligan and Christine McFall handing over some of the colouring packs to staff in A2 Children's Ward in Antrim Area Hospital. Congratulations on all your hard work ladies!





Worldwide Evening 2018


Connor Diocese Mothers Union members enjoyed a Worldwide Evening, held in St Patrick's Ballymena on Tuesday 11th September, to Celebrate the work of Mothers Union members around the world. 80 plus members attended the event, raising £385 for WW.

The evening began with an Icebreaker game, followed by a short presentation and videos of MU work abroad.

The ladies had the opportunity to walk about viewing Display Boards about Connor Link Dioceses in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria and South Korea and the Mothers Union Programmes at home and abroad.

The ladies enjoyed mingling & chatting & catching up with members from different MU branches while they viewed the many table displays such as Food from around the world, as well as talking to Verah from Kenya about her costume, lifestyle, childhood, culture, tasting Kenyan food, etc. A fun quiz proved popular and of course Tea and Cake was enjoyed by all.

Noreen x






Curry in a Hurry 2018


Connor Diocese presenting Curry in a Hurry cookbooks for the students in the University of Ulster.
L-r. Valerie Ash, Diocesan President, Glenda Campbell, Accommodation Officer UU, Kathleen Lunn, Diocesan Project rep.






All Saints' MU Branch go to Specsavers


All Saints’ Parish Church, Antrim, Mothers’ Union has recently turned its focus to glasses, collecting over 100 pairs to donate to Vision Aid Overseas through Specsavers.

A word from the store director: Davin Quinn, Antrim store director, explains: ‘Specsavers has worked with Vision Aid Overseas for many years to increase eye care services across Zambia. The second-hand glasses which are donated are recycled by the charity and the income generated goes directly to establishing vision centres and training local eye care workers. 'We are very grateful to the ladies from All Saints’ Mothers’ Union who have made a fantastic effort in collecting so many frames for the cause.’






Mum's in May Event - Mad Hatters Tea Party


All Saints' Parish Church, Antrim, Mothers' Union held a Mad Hatters Tea Party for their Mums in May project. This turned out to be a lovely fun evening for all the family.

The hall was very tastefully decorated by Noreen Hurst with the help of her husband William and The Rev Aaron and Melanie McAlister, the tables were also set to fit the Occasion. Mother's Union members prepared a delicious supper which was enjoyed by everyone.

The Children enjoyed the film "Cat in Hat", while the adults enjoyed some entertainment with Dr Brian Ford, which included a sketch entitled Poor Willie John, a game of Mr and Mrs with Lara Burton Ford. The evening finished with a sing along with Archdeacon Stephen McBride. A great evening was had by all!

More photographs are available in our Events & Gallery section.






Holy Knitters!


All Saints' Parish Church, Antrim Mothers' Union Branch started a Holey Knitters Club on Monday evenings and after 6 weeks hard work these are some of the items ready for delivery to the Neonatal Unit and Children's Ward at Antrim Area Hospital. They have also been working on Fiddle Blankets for Dementia Patients for one of their local nursing homes.

Why not visit our Gallery in the Events & Gallery section for more photos!






Mary Sumner Day Celebration


Mary Sumner’s Day in Craig's Parish Church, Thursday 9th August Emma and l set off to find Craig’s church. It was a lovely summer evening, we arrived in good time to find a beautiful church in an equally beautiful setting. The service was to celebrate Mary Sumner Day, the Faith & Policy Unit pulled the whole thing together. It was a lovely service. Rev’d Adrian Halligan, the Curate in Charge, gave us a very thought-provoking sermon about Mary and all her work, which was not without many struggles. He finished by introducing MULOA principals (listening, observing, acting).

As the collection was taken up some of our ladies brought up a trauma teddy, a MULOA booklet, a ribbon for 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a Mary Sumner booklet (that was really touching). We finished with Holy Communion.
The large crowd then retired to the church hall to be served a lovely supper; worries were soon forgotten as to would we have enough!

Thanks to Joyce, Cathy, the lovely tea ladies and of course Rev’d Adrian and Wendy Halligan.

God Bless,
Lynne Coleman






New Connor Diocesan President Announced


Huge congratulations to Sally Cotter who has been appointed Connor Mothers' Union Diocesan President effective 1 January 2019. We wish Sally God's richest blessing as she prepares for this very important role and assure her of our prayerful and practical support.





MIM 2018 - Molly Craig's 95th Birthday


Molly Craig, Rosalind Bloomfield's Mum recently celebrated her 95th birthday and to mark the occasion they held a party to which between 60 -70 people were invited to Rosalind's house. The weather was glorious and not only did they celebrate Molly's special birthday but they also raised money for the All Ireland Mums in May triennial fundraising event the money was in lieu of presents. The party raised £675 which has been split between MIM (£500) and a Donkey Sanctuary (£175). Molly really enjoyed her day and along with her daughter and a couple of friends will go to visit the Donkeys in a few weeks.





Mid Connor - MULOA Conversation


The first of the MULOA conversations. Participants were Joyce Bond, Jean Kennedy, Valerie Ash DP, Irene Paget, Cathy Doig, Lyn Cassidy, Patricia McWhirter, Isabel Rodgers, Sally Cotter DP-Elect, Sylvia Beacom.





Belfast Marathon 2018


Mums in May is the All-Ireland Mothers’ Union triennial fundraising event which enables us to reach out to our communities both locally and globally. The Worldwide Project supported by Mums in May this year is a programme in DR Congo which is tackling gender-based violence while each diocese in Ireland will identify local projects to be supported by the fund. This year we have been challenged to take part in sponsored walks, tea parties, a fireside quiz, a novelty tea cosy competition, and write a story about a tea cosy, real or imaginary!

So, on Monday 7 May in glorious sunshine, 5 members of the Mothers’ Union in mid and north Connor undertook an 8-mile walk, while 2 teams from north Connor consisting of not just Mothers’ Union members but also their friends and family, 3 of which were men participated in the team relay walk. Each one was walking “In Mary Sumner’s footsteps”, our 2018 theme and raising money for Mums in May.

The members who completed the 8-mile walk were Caroline Glover, Roslyn Graham, Wendy Halligan, Yvonne Little and Geraldine Ramsey. The relay teams consisted of Kim, Derek, Mark, Karen, Elizabeth, Andi, Derek, Judith and her daughters Hannah and Cerys.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Belfast Marathon 8-mile walk and the team relay walk, you did the Mothers’ Union proud!






Women's Health & Wellbeing Morning


On a sunny Saturday morning, almost 60 women came together in the Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim, to take time out for themselves and hear from four speakers, three of whom covered mental, physical and spiritual health and the other spoke about Mothers’ Union itself.

The women were drawn from parishes all over Connor Diocese and were a mix of Mothers’ Union members and non-members. Our Diocesan President, Valerie Ash, opened the morning with a Bible reading, prayers and a brief introduction to her role in Mothers’ Union. Alison Skillen, Vice President of Action and Outreach, introduced each of our speakers.

First on the programme was Lynda Bryans, the former radio and television journalist, who spoke about her own mental health journey and how she had found great support not only from her family and friends but also from her faith. She challenged us to ask ourselves: “What do you do on a regular basis to look after your mental health?”

Dr Laura Bunting, a General Practitioner in Broughshane Medical Practice, spoke about the importance of physical health and gave us advice regarding screening, diet and exercise. Despite the seriousness of the topic, Laura brought her own unique humour to the talk, whilst still getting her message across.

Our spiritual health speaker was the Revd Elizabeth Hanna, rector of St Nicholas’ parish in Belfast. Elizabeth spoke about the importance of prayer, reading and service for our spiritual health and also of us looking at “which step have we reached today?” The eight steps ranged from “I won’t do it” to “Yes, I did it!”

The last speaker was Wendy Halligan, Mothers’ Union Young Members’ Representative for Connor Diocese, who spoke about the work of Mothers’ Union and her journey from being a “Reluctant M.U.M.” (Mothers’ Union Member) to the enthusiastic member she is today.

At the end of the morning, each person was given a ‘goodie bag’ containing literature on Mothers’ Union, health screening and some treats. A special thank you to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for contributing packets of seeds and literature in connection with their Bee-licious campaign (further details can be found here http://www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/Residents/Community-Wellbeing/Biodiversity/Bee-Licious).

Feedback about the morning has been very favourable and Mothers’ Union in Connor has possibly gained a few new members. The event was organised by the Connor Diocesan Young Members’ Committee and was funded by a ‘Mums in May’ grant.






Mid Connor Area Coffee Morning


The Mothers Union members held a coffee morning on Saturday 21st April 2018 in St Patrick’s Church Ballymena. Great fellowship was had by all present on such a lovely spring day. A superb amount of £550.00 was raised that will go toward those requiring financial support from the Mothers Union Relief Fund.

Grateful thanks go to all the branches and the members for all the support given. Especially the members of St Patrick’s Ballymena who hosted
the event.
Irene Paget
Area Chairperson