Pakefield Church’s Mothers’ Union meets from 2.00 – 3.30pm in the Church Hall on the third Thursday of each month. They are a friendly group of ladies (although men may also join). Some of them run the monthly Teddy Edward Club in church for babies and pre-school children and their parents. They also host and lead the Living for Life course that we run as part of our marriage preparation course. And two of them are the Diocesan organisers of AFIA (Away From It All) holidays for families who need a break but who can’t afford it.
Working with Rev. Sharon, MU facilitators, Marguerite and Pat attended the Marriage Preparation Day ‘Loving for Live’ in our church on the 16th March. An opportunity for couples getting married in our church to explore their relationship. The day also offers a time to discuss the order of service, choose the music, book the choir/bells and order flowers. Time for lunch prepared by members of our branch and another opportunity to talk to couples getting married this year whilst sharing a meal.
Africa was much in the news at the time of our meeting on the 21st March reporting on the devastating cyclone to hit the south-east of the country. Bea led the meeting her theme being about our fellow members in Africa. They are, it is reported in ‘Anglican Communion News Service, ‘A force to be reckoned with, particularly when it comes to social justice, with around 1.3 million members and when these women speak they are heard’, speaking out on a range of issues which continue to blight societies in Africa today. Julian Claxton was our speaker and he knows first hand the deprivations of rural living in that country and documented his journey with computer-generated images. In 2012 he cycled from England to Africa (Rwanda) taking 64 days, some 5,500 miles, through 14 different countries. Thus started his love affair with this continent sharing his time there with the village community. Some time later he went back loaded with cameras and all that goes with photography with an idea to ‘give a child a camera’, the title of his talk. In his travels in rural Africa, he came across a dirt track and in a field he spotted 30-40 children, some in rags, most without shoes, singing their national anthem. Their teacher and director, Ronald, was teaching the children in a mud hut. Julian explained to him that he would like to teach the children basic photography to which Ronald agreed, but first enquired what was photography! These children walk miles to come to school very early to sing and learn and they were very keen to learn about this new project put before them. To 25 children, the number of cameras Julian had, he gave to those who seemed to have grasped the basics and they were asked to document what was important to them. The results were totally amazing and had a long-lasting effect on the community. Africa continues to be his joy and passion and each time he goes back, perhaps because of the publicity engendered by his project, there are improvements, bigger classrooms and facilities money donated by visitors and now a lavatory block for which he raised funds. He still raises funds so that the children can continue to use their cameras with the equipment they need to which members gladly donated.
There is not enough space to tell all his stories of this rural community and the border towns where he also took his project and where danger and poverty exists. It brings home to members the suffering of people, especially women and children, who are affected by AIDS. Where there is delight in the children of rural areas, it is not the case for urban children and it took him a long time to gain their trust. Hopefully, Julian will return to tell us more about his projects. Sheila L gave the vote of thanks.
It was a special time when Anne, having read the notices, was suitably surprised when members presented her with a chocolate cake, a speciality of member Ticia, and their good wishes for a very happy birthday. Various other cakes made by members were for our refreshments. There also was a well-stocked raffle. After a very busy afternoon, members left to meet again next month on the 18th April when our own Rev. Sharon speaks on ‘Lent Meditation’.