Worthing volunteers join Katherine Jenkins in special edition of Songs of Praise, celebrating Mothers’ Union

The work of a Mothers’ Union group in Worthing has been highlighted on BBC One in a special edition of Songs of Praise.

The Mothering Sunday broadcast on March 22 celebrated the transformative work of Mothers’ Union, the powerful stories of people in Worthing and the NHS.

The West Tarring branch supports staff, patients and families in many different ways through a partnership with Worthing Hospital.

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Father Mark Lyons, vicar at St Andrew’s Church, West Tarring, said: “I was delighted when I was advised that Songs of Praise had chosen our Mothers’ Union branch to feature on the Mothering Sunday Songs of Praise.

The Mothers’ Union West Tarring branch with Katherine Jenkins at St Andrew's Church

“Personally, I have been a member of Mothers’ Union for a number of years and but have experience of their work, locally, nationally and internationally with connections I have in South Africa.

“As for our local branch, although I am no good at sewing bags or baking cakes, I do help with the packing of the bags and of course importantly ask for God’s blessing on our gifts, that our labours of work maybe visions of Christ’s healing, glory, and love in the lives of the babies and families who receive.

“As for the day of filming itself, I hadn’t realised that for about five to ten minutes of film, it would take the day to film. However, if it shows the devotion that Mothers Union has in offering God’s love to the world, in whatever context they find themselves, then the time was well spent.”

Karen Hill, West Tarring branch leader, featured on the programme, alongside singer Katherine Jenkins, one of the presenters.

Kylea Reynolds and Katherine Jenkins with the remembrance tree which includes baby Logan

She talked about its Ministry of Cake project, which sees volunteers from St Andrew’s Church deliver cake every Monday, and provide tea and a listening ear to anyone who needs it.

Karen said: “ People might think that tea and cake is a very Mothers’ Union thing to do. What they might not realise is it really breaks down barriers, shows people they are loved and cared for, provides respite or a distraction to a parent that is dealing with more than they can really process and gives a staff member that has had a difficult shift a real lift.”

Supporting families through childbirth is another important role for Mothers’ Union. Maternity packs, with essential items such as soaps, flannels, combs and sanitary products, are provided to ease the stress of an emergency or unplanned visit to the hospital, and for the hardest times, when babies are stillborn, Mothers’ Union provides a memory bag, made with love.

Mum Kylea Reynolds, who benefited from the support of the West Tarring branch, said: “I had a very complicated birth with my third child. I was in and out of hospital throughout my pregnancy, often with no warning. The maternity packs provided by Mothers’ Union were a little bit of home for me, it just felt that when I was in a really difficult place, someone else cared and was thinking of me.

West Tarring members at work making maternity packs

“My beautiful Logan was born at 20 weeks and the few hours we had with him before he passed away were some of the most precious minutes in my life.

“The staff at Worthing Hospital were amazing and charities like Mothers’ Union just make one of the most difficult times in your life more bearable. The special things, including the gorgeous blanket that Logan was wrapped in and a memory bag to capture all the memories of the short time that we was with us, was incredibly precious.

“You often hear of the impact that large charities make but for me, it is the support and love that comes through the local activities that Mothers’ Union does that should be celebrated.

“Never underestimate the feeling of comfort and hope that small gestures like this make. I will always remember the charities that helped me in this difficult time and hope that others will continue to support them so that they are able to continue this support for people that don’t know yet that they will need it.”

The Diocese of Chichester said Mothers’ Union gives the simple hand of friendship to incredible community projects.

Bev Jullien, Mothers’ Union chief executive, said: “Our work in Worthing and with Kylea is a flagship example of a community approach to active faith and fellowship. We are truly a grassroots movement, making a difference when people really need it and work alongside them, learning and growing together.”