Mothers' Union

Last edited by webmaster on 28 June 2017 - 4:06pm

Branch Secretary is Carole Elliott of 88 Portree Drive, Holmes Chapel; tel: 01477 533882

Branch Treasurer is Dorothy Wood of 1 Furness Close, Holmes Chapel; tel: 01477 533704

If you are interested in joining MU please just turn up for a meeting or ring Carole or Dorothy at the numbers above - we are a friendly group and will be delighted to welcome you.

for more about our Branch click here

 Reports (Jan 2016 onwards: Dec 2013-Dec 2015 available here)

Cheshire Show Babychanging Duty again - 21st June 2017

Every year the Mothers' Union provide a ‘Baby-changing' tent for the two days at the Cheshire Show. This year Dorothy Wood and I were invited to help out on the Wednesday for the day. Jackie Gibson is also one of the organisers.

The tent provides changing mats and facilities for parents (and Grandparents) who need to feed baby or change baby's nappy without having to struggle to find a quiet space somewhere on the showground. It also has an area to occupy toddlers while they are waiting. The MU ladies are there to make sure everything goes smoothly and to provide a constant clean area for baby-changing.

Information on MU was available and also many of the knitted items for purchase. Many parents wrote comments in the book, and all of these were very encouraging and supportive. We actually provided changing and feeding facilities for 200 babies on the Wednesday and 170 on the Tuesday. It was a very warm day, so some parents were thankful for a peaceful area to cool and calm down. Hopefully we will be invited back again next year for a very worthwhile cause.

Carole Elliott

Strawberry Supper 13th June 2017












Photos: Carole Elliott

On Tuesday, 13th June, we held our annual Strawberry Supper. We often wonder if it has had its day because we have been holding this event for many years. However, on the way out, many members said that they really enjoy coming and will be back again next year!

This year we invited all the Congleton Deanery MU members, as well as past Prayer Partners, Henbury and High Legh. Over sixty people came along, including a few guests of members, and we raised almost £460 for the MU “Summer of Hope” appeal to make hope shine brightly in communities in the UK and around the world.

The table quiz is always provided whilst waiting for everyone to arrive. This year Dorothy found a Dingbats quiz, which gave people something to think about. Everyone was provided with a plate of scones and cream, with strawberries and as much cake as they could eat! Wine was served and afterwards, cups of tea and coffee. There was a raffle, a bric-a-brac stall and a good selection of books to buy. 

After the supper, Dorothy’s quiz was handed out, one part of which was called “Around Britain” and the other part was general knowledge - something for everyone! This year the Henbury team won with the most correct answers, and Mossley came a very close second.

A good night was had by all, and this time next year we will do it all over again!

We have to thank our very great team who put in so much time and effort to help on the night. We are very lucky to have these people who may not be on the committee, but without them we could not hold such an event. They know who they are!

Next month, the evening group will be going to the theatre on Tuesday 4th July for their last meeting of the year (one week earlier than usual), and the afternoon group will have their afternoon tea delivered to them in the Church Hall, provided by The Cobbles, on Wednesday 19th July at 2pm.

If any member has not put their name down on the list for this meeting, please let us know on the following numbers - Carole Elliott on 533882 or Dorothy Wood on 533704.

Dorothy Wood and Carole Elliott

26th April 2017

MU group at Diocesan Festival Chester Cathedral




Twelve members of Mothers' Union travelled to Chester for the annual Diocesan Festival held in the Cathedral on Wednesday 26th April.

We gathered outside the cathedral for a photo before going for lunch. Four of the group were missing!

They had set off to treat themselves to lunch at The Grosvenor Hotel, and why not!

11th April 2017


This evening’s meeting was entitled ‘Easter Reflections’. This opened up the discussions of remembering the kinds of eggs we used to have as children and the fact that some of us used to have a new outfit or coat ready for going to Church on Easter Sunday.

Val read us an excerpt from Delia Smith’s book ‘A Feast for Lent’ about the story of Joseph of Arimathea. She then read us a poem by Helen Steiner Rice about Easter.

After more discussion, Jane told us about the day she received Maundy money from the Queen at Derby Cathedral. We were shown the coins and the photos taken on the day.

Our next evening meeting will be on Tuesday 9th May at 7.45pm when we look forward to hearing some more from the International Guides.

2017 Annual General Meetings

Tuesday 14th March (evening) and Wednesday 15th March (afternoon)

The March meetings have now become the AGM when we deliver the accounts for the year and the annual report.

In the evening meeting this was followed by wine and nibbles, and the afternoon ladies were treated to a lovely afternoon tea prepared by Dorothy Wood. There were plenty of sandwiches and crisps, lots of cakes including mini cream scones and a lovely coffee cake made by Margaret Hardwick. I think the evening ladies ought to join the afternoon ladies next year to help us eat all the food!

This is always followed by interesting conversations between members, and often gives us ideas for future meetings. Many members also offer to help us doing particular jobs as they can see what hard work the committee put in throughout the year, but aren’t always able to commit themselves to being on the committee.

They were both very successful meetings and I am sure the MU members would like me to thank Dorothy for all her hard work and effort in arranging a lovely afternoon tea for us all.

Our next evening meeting will be on Tuesday 11th April at 7.45pm and the next afternoon meeting will be on Wednesday 19th April at 2pm. They are both entitled ‘Easter Reflections’ so if any of you have any Easter thoughts, poems or reflections to share with us please bring them along.

Wed 11th Oct 2016
Well, what a wonderful meeting we had! Nick Bianchi and ‘Mr Paul’ both came to talk to us about the history of the Arighi Bianchi shop in Macclesfield. They had done their homework and knew that MU was 140 years old, and told us that Arighi Bianchi was now 162 years old.
It all started when Antonio Arighi came over from Lake Como to Macclesfield to escape the civil war in his country. Why Macclesfield? Well, it was the largest manufacturer of silk in the world, with 71 silk mills to its name, and Como had also been a producer of silk. He first of all successfully sold barometers! Then his niece married a skilled cabinet-maker called Antonio Bianchi, and the rest is history. 
Only the Bianchis now run the business, and have survived through many periods of history including 2 World Wars. Their original goal was to build an emporium to suit all classes from countries all around the world, and in 1892 they constructed the building we know today. The idea was to build it as tall as they could for as cheap as they could – it is a wonder it is still standing today as it has no foundations! In 1973 the Bianchis received an order that the building was to be demolished to build a new road. A petition was set up, and fortunately the family were acquainted with Sir John Betjeman, Poet Laureate, who was able to use his influence to save the building. 
Life has changed and moved on over the years, including the purchase of a fleet of vans which can be seen all over the country, and the setting up of the Coffee Bar, which was an idea Mr Paul brought back from his visit to Chicago. The business has had to change with the times, providing more modern styles of furniture; using the Internet and Twitter; employing many younger members of staff as well as those who have worked there for many years. They are now able to support charities such as the East Cheshire Hospice and Breast Cancer (they have painted one of their vans pink in support of this), and still they remain very much a family business.
They stayed to answer questions, and we could have asked so many more! We all enjoyed the evening, even the husbands who had been invited along to add to the numbers.

 Wed 21st Sep 2016



This month’s meeting was a small intimate affair with only 6 of us present, due to holidays and family commitments!

Dorothy had seen Prayer Cards made at a training meeting and we decided to have a go. We provided some small prayers for those who wanted to copy them out rather than write their own on to the small cards. Then we decorated them and finally laminated them so that people can use them in Church.

It was a really lovely evening with people talking to each other or concentrating on the therapeutic pattern-making on their cards.

At next month’s meeting we will be learning about the history of the Arighi Bianchi store. Please bring a friend along with you.

Wed 20th July 2016

Summer Afternoon Meeting at "Cobbles"

Photo: Janet Hulley

This July we decided to change the format of the Summer afternoon meeting and book Afternoon Tea at Cobbles Tea Room in Holmes Chapel.
A group of 18 of us met up on a very sunny Wednesday afternoon and piled into Cobbles! We had to spread out somewhat as, for a change, it was very warm, but I hope this didn’t detract from the enjoyment of a lovely afternoon tea. It was a very sociable afternoon and I hope that everyone enjoyed it. I would also like to give thanks to Janet, Libby and the team at Cobbles for working very hard to make sure we all had sandwiches, lovely cakes and, of course, plenty of cups of tea!

Our next meeting will be starting again on the third Wednesday in September (21st) when we will be making Prayer cards.


Tues 14th Jun

Strawberry Supper!!


Each year St. Luke’s MU holds a Strawberry Supper for the whole of Congleton Deanery to raise money for overseas funds. This year we raised the excellent sum of £440 for the ‘Big Summer Appeal’.

About 70 MU members bought tickets this year and were invited to do a table quiz whilst waiting for everyone to arrive. Everyone was provided with a plate of scones and cream with strawberries and as much cake as they could eat! Wine was served and afterwards cups of tea and coffee. There was a raffle, a bric-a-brac stall and a huge selection of books to buy.

After the supper they were handed out ‘Rod’s Famous Quiz’ which Rod Pickles provides every year. This year most of the questions were quite manageable and two tables shared the prize having got 42 out of the 43 questions correct.

A good night was had by all, and this time next year we will do it all over again!

Many thanks to all the people who put in so much time and effort to help on the night.
Next month the evening group will be going to the theatre on Tuesday 12th July for their last meeting of the year, and the afternoon group will be going for afternoon tea at Cobbles on Wednesday 20th July at 2pm.

Wed 18th May


Hands up!! - Pilates in action!


Photo: Carole Elliott

Carole began our meeting with a short service. She then told us that our speaker had to cancel at the last minute.  However, Carole rose to the occasion and quickly found us another speaker, Claire Gillmer from the Community Gym, who came and gave us a lesson in 'Pilates'. This was new to most of us, but we soon found ourselves doing the gentle exercises and enjoying it!
Most of it was done whilst sitting down which suited us very well. Claire suggested that we try the exercises at home and so we left with good intentions of doing so.
For our meeting on July 20th we have decided to have afternoon tea at The Cobbles. The cost will be £6.00 each.  Last year we had lunch for our outing but this was poorly attended so hence the change of plan. We hope the afternoon tea will prove to be more popular.
Do come if you can!
Margaret Hardwick

Sunday 1st May

photo: Alan Rickards

Cakes with coffee - MU Away From It All project

The cake stall run by members at coffee time on Sunday 1st May after the 10 am service raised the terrific sum of £146 for the Away From It All project.  Through this the Mothers’ Union provides a holiday for families who cannot afford one themselves. 

Many thanks to everyone who provided the cakes, bought and consumed them, contributing to this fantastic result.

Wed 20th Apr 2016



This afternoon was a very pleasant occasion. Yvonne led our service at the beginning of the meeting.

We were delighted to welcome Anne Jack, who came to introduce us to 'Bag Whist'. It was surprising how we remembered how to play whist even if some of us hadn't seen a pack of cards for years!
Anne skilfully adapted the game to suit our members and everyone seemed to be a winner in the end and enjoyed the chocolates Anne had brought as prizes. It was an enjoyable afternoon and it seems likely that we will try to persuade Anne to make a return visit.

While we had our tea, tickets were sold at £3.00 each for our Strawberry Supper on June 14th at 7.30 pm.
This is an annual event to which we invite other M.U.groups in the Diocese. It is a popular evening and includes 'Bring and Buy', Bookstall, Raffle etc.

We closed the meeting with the Grace.

Margaret Hardwick

Tues 12th Apr 2016



Photo: Dorothy Wood


This month we were treated to a very enjoyable evening led by Pat Riches one of our members. When planning our programme for this year we were delighted when Pat offered to present another evening for us. We all know that Pat is a very accomplished cake decorator and we were expecting a demonstration. Not so - this time we were all going to make something!

The hall was set up for the meeting as usual, plus a large group of tables arranged with small packages, silver boards, paint brushes, paper plates and a picture. When our service concluded we all made our way to a place on this large table.

We were shown finished Christmas cake decorations that had been made by Pat's grandchildren. They looked very impressive. Pat reassured is that making these was easier than they looked. Following Pat's careful instructions we started work. First we made some simple but very effective trees, followed by a Father Christmas. It was amazing to see that although we all followed the same instructions every one was very different and all portrayed a different character! The conversation was lively and everyone was delighted with the results.

Jackie Gibson joined us this month with her Diocesan members. Jackie read about the meeting in the Parish Magazine and asked if they could join us. We were delighted to welcome them, We have had a lovely message from them to say how much they enjoyed their visit.

Our thanks go to Pat for a very enjoyable evening, and to Jane Thomson and Michelle Carter for leading our service. Next month 'The International Guides' are coming to talk to us about their visit abroad last year.

Dorothy Wood

Wed 16th Mar 2016


The March meeting has now become the month for the AGM when we deliver the accounts for the year and the annual report.

After this the afternoon ladies were treated to a lovely afternoon tea prepared by Dorothy Wood. There were plenty of sandwiches and a wonderful coffee and walnut cake – I think we managed to eat most of it between us!

What struck me was the fact that the conversation between the ladies led to what interesting jobs they used to do (one working for Spirella corsets – do you remember those??!). I am sure we could compile our own list of speakers from members without relying on outside speakers! It was a very successful afternoon and I am sure the MU members would like me to thank Dorothy for all her hard work and effort in putting together a lovely afternoon tea for us all.

Our next afternoon meeting will be on Wednesday 20th April when Anne Jack will come along and show you how much fun you can have with Bag Whist! More details will be in the Sunday Link notices.

If you are interested in joining us for that afternoon just come along at 2pm in the Church  Hall on April 20th, or ring me on HC 533882 or Dorothy on HC 533704.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Thurs 10th Mar 2016The meeting for this month was our AGM, now in March rather than November to coincide with the end of the financial year.
Dorothy explained to us the finances for last year - how much money we had from membership fees and other incomes such as raffles, book stall etc, and how much our outgoings were - this all seemed to tally, and we thank Dorothy for a splendid job done as Treasurer.
The report for 2015 was read out, detailing all the activities from the past year.
After that we discussed ideas as to how we could do fund-raising activities for MU projects. Having a cake stall once every 3 months at the Sunday morning coffee time after Church was suggested. We will be trying this out for the first time on Sunday May 1st.
Whilst having our wine and nibbles, a quiz was provided to work on together. This provided much discussion with everyone helping out each other and singing songs to work out the answers!
Next month’s Evening meeting will be on Tuesday April 12th and will be a demonstration by Pat Riches - please come and join us and see what she is going to show us. For the afternoon meeting we will be having a game of Bag Whist - all are welcome!
Wed. 17th Feb 2016

We began our meeting with a short service, starting with a minutes silence as we remembered Sue Mason and Doris Whelan, both of whom have died since our last meeting. We prayed for Vicar Paul, Mark, Heather and Phyllis as they mourn the loss of Sue. Also, members too ill to attend were remembered as always.
Our meeting continued with Michelle telling us about knitting hats for Smoothie bottles for which 25p is given to Age UK for each Smoothie sold with a hat. This was explained in detail in the March magazine as Michelle also led the evening meeting.
We soon discovered that, even if we hadn't knitted for ages, we soon got going and the needles went at a great pace. We were full of enthusiasm and the only difficulty was getting people to stop and have a cup of tea! Michelle brought some smoothies for us to try. It seemed likely that several of us would be knitting some more hats at home. We thanked Michelle for a very pleasant afternoon.
Our next afternoon meeting is on April 20th and is entitled 'Bag Whist'. Do join us if you can.

Margaret Hardwick

Tues 9th Feb 2016


Our evening group met on Shrove Tuesday. The meeting began with a short service lead by Ann Stafford and Michelle Carter. The title of this month’s meeting was 'Knit and Natter' - something different and a chance to do something practical. Michelle had kindly offered to lead this for us and we looked forward to what she was going to do.
We were set a project to knit hats for Innocent bottles! Michelle went on to explain that the company who make Innocent Smoothie drinks had come up with an idea of how to raise some money for Age UK to help older people keep warm in winter. For every hat on one of their bottles the company will give 25p to Age UK. This has taken off in a big way and during February each year little hats will start       appearing on the bottles in the shops. People all over the country are knitting these little hats. We were shown a selection of hats   already made, some lovely variations on the basic pattern. A strawberry, a duck and an owl etc. We followed this by being given needles and wool to start.
There was much chatter and laughter as we all sat round to choose wool and start. In no time at all hats were being produced. Patterns and wool were taken home by those who wanted to knit some more hats. Anybody interested in making these hats can find information on the internet by looking up Innocent Big Knit. (Or contact us and we can give you the information!)
As it was Shove Tuesday it was decided that instead of the usual tea/coffee and biscuits, pancakes would be served instead. This was very much appreciated by the ladies.

Thurs 21st Jan 2016

At the beginning of every year we start off our meetings with our Epiphany Service and party. It seems to be a good way to start off the year and get everyone together for the meeting, especially when food is concerned! Canon Ron took the service for us with a lovely homily on ‘Giving Quality Time’ – a continuation of father Peter’s sermon two weeks ago. We all decided we do make our lives too busy and don’t give enough time to others.

Everyone brought some food to share and amazingly everyone brought something different and there was plenty to go round with plenty left over -  a bit like the Feeding of the Five Thousand! We all had the opportunity to catch up with other members during the meeting, and everyone was also given the name of their particular Prayer Partner, who they will pray for during the year and then finally reveal their identity when they buy them a Prayer Partner Christmas present at the end of the year. We also all had an MU Consultation form to fill in which gave rise to much discussion – how can we encourage new members and younger members??  Jane Thomson also invited us to share her Epiphany ‘Galette de rois’ where Christine Land found the charm in her piece of cake.

We all went away commenting on what a good evening it had been and how nice it was to share things with others.

 Wed 20th Jan 2016

We gathered to meet for our first meeting of the new year on a sunny afternoon. It was good to see so many of our members. As usual we began the year with a Communion Service. Canon Ron led our service treating us to one of his 'homilies' which gave us food for thought. Our annual Epiphany Party followed the service and we were delighted that Canon Ron joined us for a while to enjoy a cup of tea and a chatter with us.
A table of delicious food was provided by our members, this all went down very well with a welcome cup of tea. There was plenty of chatter as following Christmas there is always news to impart.
We had a special celebration too as Cynthia Harris had her 90th birthday at Christmas and we marked the occasion with a cake. We lit nine candles each representing a decade, and of course sang 'Happy Birthday'.

Our new programme is now beginning and we look forward to some interesting and different topics. Our February meeting will be in the Church Hall on Wednesday 17th February at 2.00pm.


December 2013- Dec 2015 reports

 are available here




We have quite a large membership in the Mothers'  Union here at St.Luke’s and meet in the Church Hall on the 2nd Tuesday evening of each month at 7.45pm and  the 3rd Wednesday afternoon of each month at 2.00pm.

A corporate communion is held on the 1st Wednesday morning of each month at 10.30am in church – all are very welcome.

The aim of the Mothers'  Union is to help with all aspects of family life nationwide - see also the corporate website at

The branch recently celebrated its 90th anniversary with a splendid commerative cake shown below with Dorothy, our Treasurer, and Wynne Pickles, our late Branch Secretary:  

Some of our members go into the local secondary schools with virtual babies to point out to teenagers that it is preferable to have a baby when they are ready to cope with such a hard task. Others help at a parent contact centre for divided families where they act as chaperones.

We have also helped in the baby changing and feeding tent at the Cheshire Show. 

Many of our members knit or sew for a local home for teenage Mum’s and their babies.

Fund raising events are also organised for our National M.U.charities, such as overseas disaster funds and literacy schemes, as well as providing short breaks for families who are in difficulties. These are only a few of the occasions when we try to provide help.

We are also a very friendly group and enjoy the social meetings each month, when we either listen to a speaker or have a discussion.

Anyone wishing to join us is more than welcome to attend any of our meetings

Should you require any other information do not hesitate to contact either Carole Elliott – our Secretary on 01477 533882 or Dorothy Wood – our Treasurer on 01477 533124.