Last October (2008) we held two Overseas Days in the Diocese. The first meeting
was at St Columba’s, Largs on Saturday 4 October and the second at St Ninian’s, Castle
Douglas on Tuesday 21 October. The two meetings made it easier for members across
the wide geographical spread of our Diocese to attend. Both days followed a similar
pattern. Below is a report from the Castle Douglas event. The photo above shows
(left to right) Margaret Horrell, Alison Bayne, Hilary Moran and Angela Sibley at
Overseas Day South
St Ninian's, Castle Douglas, was the venue for this event, brilliantly organised
by Hilary Moran accompanied by Enid Scobie, Diocesan President. Fifty MU members
from Dumfries and Galloway were present and it was certainly a very enjoyable and
rewarding day, starting at 10.30am and ending with a Church Service at 4pm. There
was a break while a soup and sweet lunch was served by the local MU ladies,with tea
and coffee to follow.
During the morning session, Hilary addressed the crowd, while using her computer
to project slides to illustrate her talk, no mean feat, as anyone who has attempted
this will freely admit! Every aspect of the work done by MU throughout the world
After her address, members were allocated time to make their own contribution to
the programme. Jessie Lockhart led with her impressions of the Stirling Roadshow
in June. She was evidently very inspired by what she had learned about the scope
of the organisation and the variety of projects in hand. In fact, at the end of this
particular day, someone was heard to comment that it was just like a miniature version
of the Roadshow. Praise indeed!
Next came Helen Stephen who gave an interesting account of her recent visit to Antigua,
where she had been invited to participate in the Centenary celebrations of the founding
of MU in NE Caribbean and Aruba. As this coincided with a Provincial Conference
in the West Indies, it must have been a great thrill to be involved in both events.
Margaret Horrell spoke next about the MU Parenting Programmes and also very amusingly
about recycling in Africa. It appears that mobile phones are very popular there as
a means of communication since every time telephone wires are erected, the locals
steal them to make items of jewellery which they can sell! In Nigeria, the law states
that reception must be available along all the main roads for use in an emergency.
She spoke too about the people in Sri Lanka who lived on rubbish tips where every
scrap was used.We have a lot to learn from them, it seems,about recycling.
Angela Sibley’s account of her visit to Canada, where she attended a Provincial meeting
of MU, dealt with another aspect of the work. She set up 3 workshops and being an
expert knitter, showed the members how to make prayer shawls. She left one to be
completed by the ladies of the diocese.
After lunch, Angela gave a brilliant exposition of how one of these schemes would
develop in village life - how one act of kindness, which was appreciated, would encourage
that person to reach out to others in need and gradually, concern for each other
would develop as the feeling of belonging to a community took hold. A very important
point is that MU supply the funds, but it is the local people who can speak the language
who implement the programmes. (Angela is on the central worldwide grants committee
that oversees the allocation of money from our Overseas Fund and Relief Fund.)
Finally, Enid Scobie spoke about the Family Life Programme (FLP), which is operative
in 8 provinces of Uganda with hopes of further expansion. Communities gather to identify
their own particular problems and they themselves raise the funds to deal with each
situation. It was very interesting to hear that new stoves were being provided. These
require much less wood to cook and so this is helping to stop deforestation and erosion
of the countryside. An added bonus to these is that there is much less wood smoke
and so eye problems are becoming less of a problem.
At this point we all moved into the church for the final service of the day. The
rector told us the story of St Kentigern and his mother, St Thenew, who was an early
believer in Christianity in pagan times.The highlight of this service was the Prayer
of Intercession - candles were lit in remembrance of other women who had made a significant
contribution to Christian life through the ages. It was a fitting end to a really
memorable and inspiring day.