Astbury Ladies Fellowship.

The April meeting was the 25th AGM and silver anniversary of the founding of the Fellowship. We had a
communion service in church, led by the Rector, followed by meal in the village hall. During his sermon, the rector referred to ‘jubilee’ – which comes from ‘juba’, the instrument which herald the great celebrations for the Jews in ancient times and ‘fellowship’ as supporting one another. We prayed for members who were unable to join us and hoped that they will soon be feeling better.
After the service we made our way to the village hall and took our seats at three long tables. We said the Fellowship Prayer and Mrs Goodwin thanked members for the beautiful flowers she had received for her special birthday. She thanked the committee for their hard work in the last year; Janet Hardie-Woolridge, Secretary, for tackling things with great zest and making seven tablecloths for us – and here the rector interposed with thanks for the altar cloths she had made. Logos were being considered. Treasurer Christine Brooks was thanked for her
dedication in keeping us well in order; Assistant Treasurer Kath Wainwright, who is also our village hall representative for her detailed reports; Speakers’ hostess Margaret Pennington and also for help on the
raffle; and Margaret McLeavey and Ina Lomas for making the welcome cup of tea at our meetings. Sheila Norman continues to arrange our luncheons, and she was taking names for the Summer one on 19th July at the Legs of Man (£17).
Sadly we lost Betty Clark last summer. Members were asked if they would consider joining the committee. All the above members were re-elected. The treasurer presented her annual statement. Subscriptions have increased to £18
and are now due. Mrs Wainwright gave the village hall report. There will be an afternoon tea in the village hall in aid of the St George Foundation on 25th June and the AGM is on Monday, 12th June at 7.00 pm in the village hall.
Mrs Goodwin gave a brief account of the Fellowship, which had been founded on 22nd April 1992. The first committee meeting had been at Radnor Bank Farm, the home of Bill and Betty Wainwright. The chairman had been the then rector’s wife Mrs Dawn Brazier; vice-chairman Mrs Una Bibby; Secretary Mrs Betty Wainwright; Treasurer Mrs Joyce Taylor; Programmes Mrs Dorothy Holliday; Outings Mrs Betty Clark and teas Mrs Taylor and Miss Phyllis Broad. The first members’ meeting was held in the village hall on 21st May 1992 with 35 members attending. The subscription was £3 and tea 25p. 50 members in July, and an open meeting raised £600. Funds were needed for the roofs of Astbury and Smallwood churches and Somerford Chapel. 64 members attended the first Christmas party organized by Mrs Lily Barber and were entertained by handbell ringers. At the committee meeting on 14th October 1992 it was decided to have a banner incorporating the logos of Astbury, Smallwood and Somerford. Mrs Brazier made enquiries and the cost would have been £450. This was deemed ‘exorbitant’ and the matter was put on hold. In September 2011 a
sub-committee was formed, chaired by Mrs Geraldine Barrett to take the matter forward. Eighteen months later we had a material banner, St Mary’s blue and the Astbury daffodils. The machine embroidery was done by ‘Lucky Sevens Embroidery’ (3,000 stitches for the church alone) and the stand was made by Kevin Beresford.
Thanks were expressed to Congleton Inclosure Trust which made a donation towards the cost, and to Mrs Toni Morgan who had hand sewn the raw edges of applied gold braid. In a service of dedication on 17th April 2013 the then rector Jon Sharples made reference to the concept of ‘fellowship’ as it appears in the Bible. The Greek word ‘koinonia’ means fellowship in a very active sense, not just being together but proactively doing together and moving forward. So on 19th April 2017 we reflected on 25 years of meeting together, cleaning the church,
providing church teas on Bank Holiday weekends, making cakes for May Day, taking part in the Women’s World Day of Prayer, donating through our speakers to various charities and the orphanage in Sierra Leone and towards church flowers through the season.
Our next meeting will be on 17th May when there will be a speaker on Christian Aid. We are having a stall at the May Day on Saturday 20th and will need cakes, plants and good bric-a-brac. We hope you will have time to support this. You could bring items to the May meeting. When the rector had said Grace we enjoyed a delicious meal of
gammon and Cumberland sauce with all the trimmings and a choice of sweets, followed by tea or coffee all brought to us by Beech Tree Catering. The chairman cut the cake, made by Mrs Jane Goodwin, and when we had had our glasses charged with Bucks Fizz, the rector proposed the toast to the Fellowship. Members chatted as the raffle was
drawn. There were more prizes, as Mrs Hardie-Woolridge had made Easter table decorations and donated them to the raffle.
As the meeting closed the chairman wished members a safe journey home.

Carole Goodwin