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Respond don't ignore abuse, you can't let it pass,

Inform someone who can help help them at last,

Support those who suffer often in silence,

Empower them to leave and find a safe house,

Unite those who've suffered with aid to be safe,

Pray for them always for help and God's Grace.

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More Musings of a Man in the Mothers Union.

I've now been a member of the Mothers' Union (MU) for 8 years. Its probably the second time in my life that I have been blessed when perceptive ladies may have seen something in me that I didn't realise myself. They offered opportunities that would not have occurred to me without their prompting, or invitation.

Throughout my lifetime I've been a member of various organisations. The first that I remember was the Cubs. This was before Beavers, for even younger children, was on the scene. From Cubs I progressed to the Scouts (I was a little disappointed that the bush hats had been been replaced with berets in the uniform).

At the same time, I had also joined the Boys Brigade. The group met in the local baptist church. Their uniform was really was really the addition of belt, sam-brown belt and pillbox hat, to our regular school clothes. I remember having to blanko the white parts and polish buttons.

About a year after I had moved up to Scouts, Dad's job moved and so our family moved house. I joined the new to me local scout troop, but didn't find the same satisfaction there. There wasn't a Boys Brigade unit nearby. Instead, I joined the Air Training Corps. I eventually reached the rank of Sergeant before leaving the ATC to also leave home and start my apprenticeship, the beginning of my engineering career.

In between everything above and now, I was a member of the local Amateur Radio Club (I hold a class 'A' licence) and later, a model aircraft flying club (years before the modern digital drones and took some skill to fly). In this I also hold a class 'A' licence. These last two organisations did not, of course, include an element of service. They were entirely for my enjoyment.

In all this time once my days of Sunday School were over, which Dad had insisted my brother and I attended, I didn't go to church except by invitations for special occasions. In 2006, my Christian Faith was reawakened. That journey can be found here. I suppose that re-awakening was also the beginning of my journey to and then with the Mothers' Union.

I joined the MU in 2015, at the invitation of an inspiring lady, who at the time was the leader of the local branch branch. That lady is now the MU president of the diocese. At the time of writing, I am a member of not just the MU but also the branch committee and also, occasionally report to the diocesan committee/trustees.

Now you might be wondering what much of the foregoing has to do with the MU. They are all organisations to which I have belonged at one time or another. So, what's so special about the MU? Of all the organisations to which I have belonged at some time, the MU is the only one to which I don't just belong but also feel a sense of belonging. It has given me a greater sense of satisfaction than any of the other organisations I've been a part of. The effort I put in is rewarded many times over with the friendships and friends I have made. MU members don't just care about their work as a charity, with its reach around the world. They care for, not just about, each other.

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RISE UP is an international campaign against Gender-Based Violence. The 2023 campaign is supported by the Mothers' Union, which will join in 16 Days of Activism. More about that later in this article.

Yesterday (14th October) I found myself one of only 2 men in a room full of, I estimate, about 80 women. "Women" perhaps is doing them a disservice. I should probably say Ladies. Every one of them that I know, I wouldn't describe otherwise. The MU is the only organisation I have been a part of to which I don't just belong, as a member, but feel a sense of belonging.

Anyway back to RISE UP, which is not just a name. It is also an acronym:

Respond Inform Support Empower

Unite Pray

The symbol of the campaign is an origami dove, in the preferred colours purple and white. I was in that room full of Ladies, the Bristol MU Autumn Gathering, because I had been offered the privilege to demonstrate how to fold a dove. Not because I am an expert at origami, but the Bristol MU president happened to spot a picture I posted on social media of a couple of doves that I folded from the instructions from the MU's UK website.

By the date I was to demonstrate making the dove I had quite a lot ready made, by practicing to ensure that whilst showing the ladies what to do, I could make a dove without referring to instructions.

Whilst the RISE UP campaign, of which the dove is the symbol, is intended to keep awareness of domestic violence in the public eye 365 days a year, it is particularly relevant as we prepare for the 16 Days of Activism campaign during November and December. In 2023 the campaign will start on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It will run until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

The campaign against gender based violence was started by members of the Women's Global Leadership institute in 1991 and is supported by the United Nations (UN).

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Members'  Musings

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