Published in the Dawlish Gazette  –  under the headline ‘Mum’s the word 140 years on’. 

 We persuaded our clergy team to let us celebrate Lady Day 2016 on Sunday, at the Family Eucharist which is held on  the first Sunday of the month, and we included a pageant in which we told the MU story in 5 scenes.

Members dressed in costume to represent the mothers whom Mary Sumner invited to the vicarage in 1876, and we re-enacted her first meeting with them.  Other scenes were set in 1898 when MU started in Dawlish  (we used historical licence and had Mary Sumner visit in person to inaugurate the branch!);  in 1943 when families were coping with the difficulties of the Second World War;  and in 1976 when we celebrated the centenary.  The final scene looked at family life in 2016 and the challenges we face today.

Dawlish celebrates Mary Sumner's life

Dawlish celebrates Mary Sumner’s life

We have  an exhibition at the back of the church which will probably remain in place for several months, with photo albums, minute books and lots of other memorabilia  –  we have membership lists from as early as 1948!

In May we are holding an Open Meeting entitled “Rubbish!”, when we are inviting the whole town to a presentation by our local District Council (Teignbridge) about the new recycling system which has recently been introduced, hoping to learn what happens to the contents of our bins once they are emptied.

In June we are responsible for the annual Baptism Anniversary Celebration in our Mission Community, and in July we are hosting a 140th Birthday Party for the Deanery.

In August we are concentrating on promoting MU in the community, with a stall at the annual Rotary Charities’ Fair, a presence in Dawlish Carnival, and several Deanery events around Mary Sumner Day  –  a Teddy Bears’ Picnic and family fun day in the centre of Dawlish, “140 Feet in the Sea” in Teignmouth, and possibly a Teddy Bear Parachute Jump from our church tower.  It’s going to be a busy month!

Ann Leigh