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One of my favourite hymns is "Summer suns are glowing over land and sea, happy light is flowing, bountiful and free. Everything rejoices in the mellow rays, all earth's thousand voices, swell the psalm of praise" How very true this is at the moment, with the lovely sunshine and the beautiful gardens full of colourful trees and flowers, encouraging people to smile!

I was very pleased to smile n April 5th when I met with June Houghton our Provincial President and the newly appointed Diocesan Presidents for 2019 -2021 at the Mothers' Union office in Leeds, for our first Provincial meeting. We had much to discuss about the future of MU and the way forward to adapt to any new changes that may take place in the next 3 years. One of the most important items was to talk about the arrangements for the Commissioning of June and Bishop John Packer who had recently been appointed as our new Provincial Chaplain for York Province. The service took place on May 7th at 11am in York Minster, led by Archbishop Sentamu. Barbara Taylor presented June to be Commissioned as our new Provincial President, who having received her badge of office, she in turn presented Bishop John, who was commissioned and received a new stole from June. Following the service the banners were processed out of the Cathedral into the sunshine for all the people to see, especially the new Provincial Banner. A wonderful occasion to be celebrated.

When I was given the opportunity to attend the Queen’s Garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 21 st , I was absolutely delighted and proud to represent the work of the members of MU. It was an occasion I shall never forget from the time the preparation began, to choosing an outfit , the travel to London and the 5 new friends I met at Mary Sumner House at 12pm. Of the 5 new people I met, 4 were Diocesan Presidents and the 5 th was Catherine, who is a member of the team at MSH. We were blessed with the beautiful sunshine all day which added to the enjoyment . The band played music for us and the National anthem resounded loud and clear as our Queen arrived with members of the Royal family who smiled and met many guests who were presented to them.

We sat at tables and had delicious sandwiches and cakes with refreshing drinks. I believe over 8,00 guests had been invited .The party ended, and we had to leave the Palace. It had been a wonderful day, one I shall never forget.

Following the excitement of the Palace visit, it was very uplifting to attend the 'Quiet day' at Foxhill on Monday May 27 th . It was led by our very own Chaplain Rev. Christine Broad. The theme was ’Journey with the Psalms’. I have my favourite ones, but throughout the day we were introduced to new ones . We were given valuable instruction and then time and space to reflect in silence the meaning behind what the Psalms were telling us. In this busy life it was good to just be quiet in any part of the building and the beautiful gardens. If you wished to discuss with other people, there were designated areas to do so. A very good lunch was provided by the team at Foxhill who looked after us very well and were always available during the day. W e finished the day with Evening prayer and a concluding address by Rev’d Christine Broad before departing at 4pm. If and when the opportunity is available, I would recommend attending.

The first Council meeting of the year was held on Saturday at the Hartford centre. It was so good to see so many of you able to attend, as it was the start of the holiday season and many people were away. The Trustees were seated at the front of the hall, so that members were clear who the board consisted of. Our remit was that we had to vacate the hall by 1pm as there was a wedding following our meeting.

The Coffee Break was extended so that members could have time to talk to others from different Deaneries and also look at any displays that were available. From the comments I have received everyone enjoyed the morning and are looking forward to the next one in November. Thank you everyone for all your support of our MU Projects.

Finally, the last event I was able to attend was the Cheshire show held at Tabley, near Knutsford. I had such a lovely day helping with Rhain and the MU team in the 'Mother and Baby tent'. It was so good to meet and talk with the Mums and Dads, not forgetting the babies and the toddlers. To see the look of relief as the parents arrived to use the excellent facilities that were provided by the team was inspiring and it helped to make the day enjoyable for everyone . So, a huge thank you to the team and I hope to attend next year.

The General Meeting is on Tuesday and Wednesday September 17th/18th at the Guildhall Portsmouth. I hope that I shall meet some of you there.

I cannot thank you enough for all that you do to make other people’s livesbetter in the way that you support them whether it is Fundraising to provide money to send families on holiday, supporting the people in prison, knitting for the babies and the people in other countries through the Literacy projects and many more.

I do wish you all a Happy Summer and I look forward to meeting you soon.

With my love and prayers

Wendy