The Union of Catholic Mothers

January 2019


National Officers’ Reports January 2019

 Equalities Commission 

Churches Together 
A mile with Jesus  
World Day of Prayer
Evensong of Thanksgiving
Welfare Report 
Church in Need 


Gender Pay Gap:

Equality body calls for employers to play their part in tackling the gender pay gap by publishing their action plans.

Transparency of data has been an important first step in addressing and tackling the gender pay gap. Currently the publication of action plans is not mandatory, however the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said it is essential that these plans are published if a business wants to demonstrate a real commitment to reducing the gap.

The Equalities Commission have carried out an analysis of employers’ gender pay gap action plans to understand what they are doing to drive meaningful change and tackle inequalities facing women in the workplace.                              Important findings include:

-only one in five employers sampled has produced an action plan to close the gender pay gap

- only 11% had set themselves targets that would enable them to measure progress of their plans year on year

- larger employers were more likely than smaller ones to set themselves targets, as employers with

fewer than 499 staff were less likely to publish an action plan as part of their gender pay gap figures than larger ones

The report also makes several recommendations for what to include in a good action plan, such as:

- anonymising CVs and application forms

- transparent recruitment and promotion procedures

- advertising all jobs as open to flexible working from day one

- actively promoting Shared Parental Leave to staff

- developing short apprenticeship programmes

- providing opportunities for mentorship schemes

Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

‘Earlier this year gender pay gap reporting shone a light on some of the issues women face when accessing, progressing and staying within the workplace. Employers must play their part in reducing the gap, starting with publicly setting out how they intend to address it in their organisation.

As the body responsible for enforcing the gender pay gap regulations, the Equalities Commission would like to see employers go further and are calling for the government to make the publication of action plans mandatory, so that reporting can drive meaningful change.’

Shift Workers and Caring Responsibilities:

When many of us were preparing for a Christmas break with our families, it is was possibly all too easy to forget that there were thousands of people working through the holiday period – from firefighters to bar staff.

39% of shift workers are responsible for children. For some children, that means being without their main carer on Christmas morning.  

This is just one of many dilemmas that shift-workers and their employers are presented with. But working parents can still enjoy a rewarding career in some of the most fulfilling professions with some creative thinking.

The Equalities Commission recently invited employers operating in a shift-based environment to a Working Forward event to look at how employers could support shift workers with caring responsibilities.

Employers should consider

1. How to manage the shift rota

- Encourage teams to complete their own rotas and collaborate with colleagues – this will promote

teamwork and build an understanding of the complexities involved in creating a rota that works for everyone. Royal Mail provide a good example of this.

- Share the rota in advance – shift workers need sufficient notice of their rota so they can plan for childcare arrangements. For example, nurseries may be closed in the evening when an employee has a shift.

- Find creative solutions – allowing line managers the freedom to find creative solutions with colleagues helps build relationships and lead to better long-term solutions.

2. Offering all shift workers flexibility

- Trust your employee to work productively when working flexibly – employees that are treated with respect and trust are more productive and less likely to leave.

- Communicate flexibility in job adverts – 92% of millennials identify flexible working as a top priority when job hunting.

- Leave loudly – when working flexibly, use your leadership to set an example and explain why you are leaving early or late                                                 ? Review your flexible working policies and practices – this can help you understand how flexible working has an impact on your workforce.

- Understand why people need flexibility – empower employees to share their human story and explain how flexibility will help the team.

 - Explain the business reason if you say no – and allow employees to discuss compromises.


Joint meeting of Catholic and Anglican Bishops:

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales and Church of England bishops met Leicester in January for their biennial conference.

Together 27 Anglican and 27 Catholic bishops explored a diverse range of subjects including opportunities for closer collaboration at a regional and national level. Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishops Justin Welby

and John Sentamu were present throughout. Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Welby addressed the gathering.

Dr Paula Gooder and Professor Paul Murray, members of the Anglican Roman Catholic International

Commission, led the bishops in reflection on its latest document Walking Together On The Way. Drawing on their rich experience of walking together as fellow pilgrims, the bishops considered the life of their global communions. They explored similarities and differences between the structures of their churches.

The bishops also discussed how they might work together to address issues of national importance, including the UK’s relationship with the EU, recognising the unique role the Church plays as an instrument of reconciliation and peace in society.

The spirit of the meeting was expressed by Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, who said &quote: All good conversations start round the table over a meal.

&quote; This 24-hour period has been a highly stimulating and honest time of sharing: prayer, fellowship, laughter and mutual support. I would like to think that the body of Christ has been enriched by this time and look forward to other opportunities to engage together. 

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley commented: “This meeting has highlighted how very far we have come in our fraternal discussions in the past 50 years. We have a strong bond, we are dealing with the same problems which we must continue to tackle in our different ways and support each other in our love for Christ and His flock. & quote; This meeting has been frank and realistic. I am both encouraged and strengthened by this sincere dialogue and our friendship as brothers and sisters in Christ. We journey onwards in hope - we have so much in common - in this drama of Redemption.”

The bishops gathered together for Evensong at Leicester Cathedral and for Mass and Morning Prayer at Holy Cross Dominican Priory.


Rachael Fola-Taiwo, prayer co-ordinator for Neighbourhood Prayer Network, spent most of July, August and September visiting churches across Greater Manchester, to encourage them to prayer walk their local streets- to go a Mile with Jesus.  A huge congratulations to Rachael for gathering seventeen churches together to take part on this day…Here is her report.

On the 29th September 2018, forty people, a proportion of those who had been prayer walking their local community in the morning, gathered in CWA auditorium on Oldham Road to pray for the nation. Earlier in the morning people had been prayer walking Little Hulton, Walkden, Swinton, Salford Crescent, Salford Quays, Media City, Trafford Park, Sale, Altrincham, Manchester Airport, DIdsbury, Hulme, Whalley Range, Manchester Piccadilly, Moston and other areas. More had prayed general prayers over Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Oldham, Little Hulton, Farnworth, Stockport, Longsight and Gorton.

Seventeen churches took part: RCCG Overcomer Parish, RCCG Alive, RCCG City of Praise, The New Baptist Church, Methodist Church Walkden, RC Church, Little Hulton, Bethany Family Worship Centre, Prayer Command Centre, Covenant of Peace Assembly, Jesus Touch Ministry, Living Hope Christian Church, Evangelism Missionary Outreach, Deeper Life Bible Ministry, CWA, Living Faith, New Harvest church, Audacious.

Bible texts for the day included Joshua 1:3; Luke 3:3-6; Isaiah 56:7 with the Word for the Day being, ' The Lord said he would use the vision to pass through the land& #39.

Afterwards, there was fellowship together with light refreshments and the service was ended with prayer and grace shared together. Next year, it is intended to use this as a springboard for a larger event, to get as many streets as possible covered with people praying “A Mile with Jesus ” There is an invitation for local groups to join us on 29th September 2019 and we are hoping that there will be a few events similar to this across the UK next year, would you like to follow Rachael’ s example, so we can get as many streets as possible, in the UK prayer walked?


“Come - Everything Is Ready”

The World Day of Prayer (previously Women’s World Day of Prayer) is a women-led, global, ecumenical movement. The WDP service takes place around the world on the first Friday of March every year when women from around 120 countries are joined together in prayer.

The 2019 World Day of Prayer service has been written by the women of Slovenia, and will take place on Friday 1st March 2019. The title and theme of the service is: “Come – Everything is Ready!”

In a recent press release, WDP say:

“Everything is ready, and the invitation is for everyone – men, women and children of all ages – to join this Day of Prayer. Women of Slovenia, one of the smallest and youngest countries in Europe, have prepared this years’ service and they encourage us to reflect on the barriers they have faced since the end of the Second World War when their country was a part of Yugoslavia, a Marxist socialist republic. They share the challenges they have met and the hopes they have for the future.”

For information about WDP, Slovenia, and the theme of the service, to find details of preparation days and services across the UK, and to download resources, go to WDP website;

Maureen Woodward National Vice President




WESTMINSTER ABBEY   17th November 2018

After waiting outside for about 25 minutes, with only about 20 people ahead of us in the queue, Val and I were admitted to the Abbey, after the compulsory bag check.

We then stood, almost to the time for evensong in a side aisle, first near the memorial of Stephen Hawkings, Michael Faraday, Isaac Newton and other notable scientists, then in the music section of Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar to name but a few.

Eventually we took our seats in the front row of the congregation, between the choir stalls and the high altar, from where we had an excellent view of the proceedings. As the choir and clergy entered, we recognised Bishop John Rawsthorne among them.

The Dean of Westminster, Very Reverend Dr John Hall, welcomed the congregation then Jenny Bond, Churches together in England, read a passage from the writings of Oscar Romero. After the choir had sung Psalm 39, ending with the “Glory be….”, Rev Jane Sinclair, Canon in Residence, read the first lesson from Micah(6). We stood while the choir sang the Magnificat, then Christine Allen, Director of Christian Aid, read from Colossians(3). The choir sang ‘Nunc Dimmitis’, before we all faced east (the high altar) to recite the Apostles’ Creed.

Following this was the Lord’s Prayer and the responses, the sung collects of the day, and the prayer for the Royal Family. The choir then sang the Anthem, which I found to be an unusually discordant composition.

To mark the centenary of the birth of Oscar Romero (2017) James McMullen was commissioned by the Dean and chapter of Westminster to compose a hymn, which was sung by us all, after the intercessions. Cardinal Vincent Nicholls should have preached the sermon next, but due to his illness, the Dean took his place and recounted the courage and holiness of our newest Saint. We then sang “Praise to the Holiest.” (John Henry Newman) before the service concluded with the Act of Rededication and a blessing from the Dean.

On our way out of the Abbey we spoke to Bishop Rawsthorne. (Just to let him know that UCM were there).

Overall it was a very significant recognition of the holiness of Saint Oscar Romero.

Margaret Kerbey National Treasurer 

National Welfare Report 

Housing Justice

Happy New Year, from all at Housing Justice.

For many the New Year is a time of fresh starts and new hope. For those of us with a Christian faith, we draw particularly on the Christmas message for that sense of hope.

At Housing Justice we believe that homelessness should not mean hopelessness and within the next couple of weeks the majority of Church and Community Night Shelters across England and Wales will be opening their doors.

More than 6,000 people will pass through winter night shelters run or supported by Housing Justice over the next few months. Our hosting project continues to provide accommodation to some of the most marginalised people in society. Our Faith in Affordable Housing project has worked to deliver over 50 genuinely affordable homes in the last few years. We continue to take our grassroots understanding of these issues to the national policy level through lobbying and advocacy with MPs, Peers, Mayor’s and Councillors to advise on a push for change.

Despite this huge impact, we remain a small charity in a challenging financial climate reliant on donations to fund this crucial work. Please remember Housing Justice in your prayers none of our work would be possible without the generosity of faithful supporters such as you.

Housing Justice Wins Gold Award at Christian Funders Forum

 Each year, the Christian Funders’ Forum makes awards in recognition of outstanding work undertaken by churches, charities and volunteer groups across the UK. At Housing Justice, we were delighted to receive the Gold award for efforts to support Housing and Poverty. 

The award was sponsored by the Andrews Charitable Trust. Executive Director, Si?n Edwards, said:

I never fail to be impressed by the amazing work that churches and Christian charities do to tackle some of the biggest social issues our society faces today [. . .] By highlighting some of the best in class projects, members of the Forum want to shine a light on this great work and celebrate their achievements.”

 Human Trafficking Day 8th Feb 2019

This is the Feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of human trafficking victims and is set aside for us to pause and reflect on the scale of the challenge facing these who support victims and combat modern slavery. This year there is a special celebration in St Chad’s Cathedral Birmingham. Mass is being celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley, the speaker is Rev Alastair Redfern retired Anglican Bishop of Derby and Chair of the Anti- Slavery Commissioners Advisory Panel. It is organised by the Medaille Trust and starts at         6-00pm all are welcome to attend.

Mental wellbeing Newsletter 21st Jan 19

The following two items come from the January update of the Catholic Mental Health Project which we are privileged to receive.

 National Mindfulness Day

The National Mindfulness Day for Christians is a one-day conference exploring the areas of mindfulness, mental health and Christian spirituality. In particular the focus is to enable Christians to engage with mindfulness for health and mindfulness of God in an informed way. The keynote speakers are all experts in this field and will bring psychological, biblical and historical perspectives to the cultural phenomenon of mindfulness. The conference will be invaluable for both individuals and professionals. For more information and tickets, please click here:

Organ Donation

NHS Blood and Transplant have written to notify us of their introduction of a faith and belief declaration on the registration form for the NHS Organ Donation Register. You can view it here:

During the Government’s organ donation consultation in England, some faith groups and individual observers of faith and beliefs also requested visible ways for people to show their support for organ donation in the context of their faith and beliefs. A donor card is not needed for organ donation to go ahead when someone has registered to donate on the NHS Organ Donation Register, but we know that many people see the organ donor card as a useful symbol to show their support, or to start conversations with their families about organ donation. The digital donor cards can be downloaded, shared on social media or printed out and kept in purses or wallets so an individual’s decision on organ donation can be clearly understood. You can find them here:

The author has requested “please let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to include on next month’s newsletter “and as usual please feel free to forward this information on to anyone who you think might be interested.

If any of you would like an appropriate issue discussed please let me know and I will forward it to her.

Brigid Hegarty National Welfare Officer


We were welcomed by Lord David Alton of Liverpool who is a board member of ACN. Every two years the ACN produce a report on religious freedom in the world and how this has changes in the intervening period. 2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Genocide. Mass graves were recently found in Northern Iraq. Lord Alton had recently been in Pakistan where they were protected with guns going to Church. We must use our liberties for others who cannot speak he said.

The speaker was Lord Ahmad who is the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The role, which supports the Prime Minister’s commitment to religious tolerance in the UK, will allow Lord Ahmad to demonstrate the country’s commitment to religious freedom by promoting inter-faith respect and dialogue internationally. He said, Faith gives you deep conviction to do the right thing. Because of our faith it is our duty to defend the rights of others. The report launched today makes for grim reading, not just for Christians but for all. We must stand up for minorities in other countries. Women in Iraq are persecuted and raped because of their faith, we must stand up for them too. Freedom of belief in an inherent right of human life; we are equal citizens irrespective of our religion or none. We can criticise each other but we must respect the individual’s choice to follow whatever faith they choose. Ghandi said we must become the change we wish to see.

The author of the report, John Pontifex, said it had been a mammoth task looking at every country’s legal situation and the incidents of persecution and aspects of change for either better or worse in 196 countries and 38 nations. He said Iraq, Syria, Kenya and Tanzania had improved. In Iraq, Christians and others are returning to their homelands after Daesh (ISIS) was pushed back. The Government respects freedom of worship but minorities are not well protected. Kurdistan Government law in 2106 upholds religious freedom and draft constitution recognises the rights of non-Muslims. In Syria the extremist’s groups which were responsible for targeting faith groups have lost most of their territory. Whilst human rights abuses are common to both Government and Rebel areas it is in the rebel areas where most religious freedom violations occurred. Syria and Iraq are still classified as ‘persecuted’. Kenya and Tanzania have changed from ‘persecuted’ to ‘unclassified’. In Kenya there has been a sharp decline in attacks by Al Shabaab because of Government security crackdown. In Tanzania there has been a decline by militant Islamist groups with no serious incidents in the period under review. Religious freedom prospects have improved. However, 21 nations are categorised as ‘Persecuted’ and 17 as ‘Discrimination’ and 18 nations are worse now than two years ago.

Worsening intolerance towards religious minorities meant that for the first time in the report' s 19-year history two new countries: Russia and Kyrgyzstan - were placed in the discrimination category. The report adds that in a number of cases, such as Saudi Arabia and North Korea, the situation was already so bad that in the period under review it was virtually impossible for it to get any worse.

Turning to the West, the report highlights a surge in extremist attacks by militants against targets in

the West. The report says the danger from such terrorists is universal, imminent and ever-present.

You can download the report at

Val Ward National Deputy President



Pope`s Intentions - May 2019

Pray that the church in Africa, through the commitment of its members, may be the seed of unity among her peoples and a sign of hope for this continent.