Reports received for the NBCW Board meeting February 2020

Reports from Diocesan Links

Nottingham Diocese Report February 2020

Hello, my name is Collette Power and I am the new diocesan link for Nottingham. Some of you may know me through the Board, as you kindly supported my internship at the United Nations for the Holy See. It is a great joy to give something back to the Board through this role and it combines with some of my passion regarding the empowerment and advancement of women in my human rights work. I would like to thank Christina Mottram for 16 years of service in this role, serving at diocesan and national level and I hope to build on her work in Nottingham.

I have recently hosted a ‘Blessed is She’ Brunch, with 20 ladies from around the Nottinghamshire area coming together to share food, faith and fellowship. A thank you to Bishop Patrick for letting me host it in his house.’ The following list of upcoming events is by no means comprehensive:

Catholic Women Speak
Another Day for Catholic Women- ‘One Faith: Different Cultures’
Saturday 29th February, 1030-4pm, St Joseph’s Leceister, LE5 6RA

International Women’s Day: ‘Women and Peacemaking’
An afternoon for women in the diocese who care about peace. Hosted by Pax Christi and Nottingham Justice and Peace Commission.
Saturday 7th March, 1.45pm-4.15pm, St Thomas More Catholic Church Wollaton.

 Called to Holiness: Celebrating Women of the Diocese
A day retreat focused on Pope Francis’ Exhortation on Holiness and what that means for Catholic women in our diocese. Input, fellowship, adoration, confessions.
Saturday 21st March, 1030-430pm, St Paul’s RC Church, Lenton

 Blessed is She Brunch
An informal gathering for Catholic women to share food, faith and fellowship.
Saturday 16th May, 1030-1230pm, Nottingham (venue TBC)

Ladies Weekend
A residential retreat for women to be renewed in their faith and refuelled for their mission. Hosted in collaboration with NDCYS and the Briars Retreat Centre
12-14th June, Briars Retreat Centre, Crich, Derbyshire.

 CAFOD Volunteers Day
An interactive day for CAFOD volunteers and supporters led by Bridget Fenwick looking at Laudato Si and the Sustainable Development Goals
Saturday 27th June, Mother of God Parish Leicester, 11-3pm.

 Women in Leadership Conference
A programme forming women for mission and in leadership. I am currently in talks with key stakeholders in the diocese regarding this but we hope this will happen in Autumn 2020.

 As I begin this role, I hope to do a survey/mapping exercise of the diocese to see what is currently going on for women and establish key contacts regarding this, so we can circulate events more widely. I also hope to establish a ‘link’ in the 4 counties of our diocese and develop the core team that seem to be emerging in facilitating the above events. I am also speaking to key contacts about how to factor a ‘women’s dimension’ into existing diocesan events, for example a gathering for women during pilgrimages etc.

I look forward to being the diocesan link, I am not sure what will unfold in the Diocese of Nottingham but I have a sense that this year and these events will be one of ‘celebration.’ It will be an opportunity to recognise and celebrate all the amazing things women are doing in our diocese and, with the support of our bishop, to equip and empower women to be all that God created them to be wherever they find themselves in the Diocese of Nottingham!

Collette Power


Report for the NBCW from the Diocese of Salford February 2020.

•          Caritas Diocese of Salford have recently appointed Ann Cooney as Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinator. In my role as liaison with pupil Caritas Ambassadors in our schools, I recently invited Ann to speak to a group of 50 young people about her work and how they can help to prevent/report signs of trafficking. Ann will be visiting many of our schools to raise awareness, which also includes a focus on County Lines – trafficking of vulnerable young people in this country as drug mules.

•          Launch of Caritas Embrace Reaching Out Project. Back in December staff from Caritas Salford’s Older People’s Service joined Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Bishop John Arnold and Bishop Terence Drainey, along with professionals working with older people, for the launch of the Caritas Embrace toolkit Reaching Out. This is a result of a two-year project that Caritas has been delivering with other partners to offer parishes ways to build confidence in forming activities with older people. Methods used are based on the results of practice development in parishes and deaneries, facilitated by Caritas Salford, Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) and Father Hudson’s Care.

•          Home? Peoples Voice – Heritage Lottery Funded Project. Caritas Diocese of Salford will be a partner in the Home? Project which will focus on the collection, curation and dissemination of lived experiences of migrants (including refugees, people seeking asylum and economic migrants) living in Northern England over the last 50 years. The specific heritage focus will centre on how these communities have settled in (or not) to their new home, covering topics that provide insights and help document the lives of migrants in terms of their domestic, working and social spheres. Through oral history storytelling practices, the project will document how migrant communities have connected with the existing communities and cultures in their new ‘homes’ and explore how they have influenced their neighbourhood’s development.

•          Laudato Si Project. Bishop John Arnold has given over the extensive grounds of the Bishop’s residence at Wardley Hall to be transformed into an eco resource for the community, based on the principles of Laudato Si. The vision is that schools, parishes and local community groups will be able to come and learn about sustainability whilst enjoying the spiritual benefits of an outdoor retreat environment. My role is to liaise with Project Manager, Steve Burrows, to engage our schools in the development of this exciting project as part of our Stewardship of God’s Creation and Care For Our Common Home.

•          GM Citizens. Caritas and the Diocese have become partners with GM Citizens. GMC are part of the non-political national community organising and campaigning organisation. This is an important step as it will give a voice to the Catholic community to influence those in leadership positions to act on issues which matter to the people of Greater Manchester. They have already succeeded in making Salford a Living Wage city. I am representing Caritas on the GMC Chapter leadership team and have recently taken part in a Women in Leadership course run by GMC, attended by care leavers (so inspiring but such a neglected area for concern), parents with children with additional needs and students from Manchester Islamic Grammar School to name but a few. I am also a member of the Clean Air and Public Transport sub-committee. The next major event for GMC is hosting a Mayoral Election Assembly on 30th April.

•          T4CG. After the Train the Trainer course held in Salford in September (as a result of the training day with NBCW), we rolled this out to our Parish Caritas Reps, with the idea they could run this in their own parishes in Advent or Lent. We are only aware of one parish so far who have firm plans for this, so need to revisit this and remind everyone the material is there for use.

•          Diploma in Pastoral Leadership through Hope University & Loyola University Chicago. I have been sponsored by the Diocese to study for the diploma over the next 2 years.

Kathryn Ansley February 2020.


Reports from Committees of the Board


Ecumenical and Interfaith Committee Report February 2020

1.         SHARED EUCHARIST LEAFLET re One Bread One Body (updated version)

The most recent draft leaflet, had been presented to the full Bishop’s Conference in November, where there had been a wide-ranging discussion on the content. An earlier version had already been discussed the year before. Although broadly supportive of the idea of updating, it seems improbable that there could be unanimity about the exact wording of a leaflet within the full Bishops’ Conference.

Janet Ward, Convenor, and Helen Mayles of the Association for Interchurched Families, then met Canon John O’Toole and Bishop Paul Hendrick at Eccleston Square in January to explore what further work is needed. It was agreed that this issue should go back to the next Dialogue and Unity Department meeting in March.

However, Canon John O’Toole, who has been most supportive, left his post as Secretary to the Department at the end of January to take up a role as Episcopal Vicar for Kent (Southwark), so will not be at that meeting. His successor will not be appointed until the summer. Equally, Bishop Paul cannot be at that meeting either as he has ordinations on the changed date. (The date was changed because of the Episcopal ordination in Northampton).

It was therefore suggested that Janet go to see Archbishop Bernard Longley, who chairs the Committee, prior to that meeting to ask him to present this issue to his committee: he has been party to all the episcopal discussions and the departmental considerations. She also is to explore with him possible ways forward. The Committee is anxious that the years of shared work on this crucial document is not lost. The meeting is arranged for 29th February.

2.         RECEPTIVE ECUMENISM (Receiving the Gift)

A printed version of the fruits of Gabby Thomas’ research at CCS Durham, was presented at the 2019 AGM.

The original print run, funded by the university was only 100, as it was to be made available online. There are only a few copies now available. Estimates are needed for a reprint, probably in a cheaper format. The online version of Receiving the Gift is not easily accessible, except it would appear, to members of Durham University. An e-version, on a memory stick, is currently with Mary McHugh. The link to the online version needs to be made more easily reached. The document should also be placed on the NBCW website.

Gabby’s research had led to unexpected but interesting results, with many women expressing how their churches did not nurture them. The report has been written in a very accessible form. The question is now how Receiving the Gift should be disseminated and to whom?  NBCW comment and suggestions would be welcome. One suggestion is to use the diocesan links, and it is suggested that training workshops at a regional level might be required. In the interim, the possibility a brief resume could be emailed to all potentially interested parties to raise awareness of Receptive Ecumenism and women research findings.

On her recent visit to family in the US, Janet Ward was able to meet Gabby, who is now in the Divinity School at Yale University. Gabby is writing a book based on her research, with an added chapter on Power, It will be completed by December 2020, and published in 2021.

Janet Ward: Convenor.


Report from World Day of Prayer National Committee for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI)


There are three new members: Charity Madyenika – Methodist, Ana Gobledale – URC,  Liz Hall - Salvation Army. We are still awaiting new nominations to fill vacancies for Baptist, Moravian and Lutheran among others, and we are recruiting for a new Catholic representative.

Preparation Days for 2020 - ZImbabwe

Since the last report in September 2019, activity has centred on attending Preparation Days to assist those planning a service in March. These began in September and continued up to February, covering all the country. Attendance at such days varies hugely from 12 to 150 people, depending on region, transport and weather (!).  A WDP Zimbabwe National Committee member (Julie Chadwick) has been keeping us updated on the worsening situation there, which is now very grim indeed, with not only political and economic difficulties but a severe drought.

Residential Meeting to plan 2021

In November there was a residential meeting in Derbyshire to plan for the 2021 service in Vanuatu based on the theme “Build on a strong foundation”.  (Matthew 7:24-27) This is the story of the wise man who built on rock, and the foolish man who built on sand, so his house fell once the tempests came – particularly apposite for Vanuatu which experiences many cyclones.

2022 service (prepared by England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

The 2022 service is in its final stages of production, mainly seeking photos which can be used internationally. The data protection laws and the need to consult before publishing photos where people’s faces are visible has made this slower than anticipated.


Bookings are being taken for the Y-Pray Conference  in May 2020, in Northampton, which this year focuses on creative ways to pray and is open to women of all ages.  Details on the WDP website.

Siobhan Canham (Catholic Representative on the WDP National Committee)

For more information see


Interfaith Report January 2020


Archbishop Michael FitzGerald has been made a Cardinal. He has served in the Middle East for many years and worked extensively in the area of Christian-Muslim relations, including developing contact between people of different faith backgrounds using the insights of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate.

October 2019 was designated by the Church for a “time of salvation” in the context of world religions - not so much aimed at promoting a religious ideology, but to make present the time of salvation in which Jesus Christ is acting in the Church.

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is now presided over by Cardinal Guixnot. A special message has been issued for the feast of Diwali, with themes of choosing light over darkness, seeing each other as brothers and sisters and emphasizing a call to peaceful co-existence.


Birmingham took part in a national month of mission in October with the theme of bringing love and mercy to all we meet. One theme picked up was material aid in the light of mission.

Birmingham Archdiocese

There has been discussion of the Interreligious Dialogue Commission’s ongoing role: Clergy days have been good, but attendance less so. As well as supporting clergy, they can enable lay people to fulfil their baptismal calling. Work is ongoing on updating a mission statement for the commission.

Other events have engaged with broad issues of climate change and social teaching discussing with members of other faiths.

Locally, the Columban Summer School in Birmingham took a theme of working together during three evening sessions held in local synagogue, mosque and Sikh temple: subjects included gender questions, justice including climate related issues and reflection on what faiths teach about dialogue between traditions.

In the summer Catholics also joined other faiths including those engaged in Christian-Jewish dialogue in a tour of Walsall’s art gallery which was hosting a special exhibition of work by Jacob Epstein in addition to those celebrating his family connection with the Walsall area. The commentary provided by the curator was of great interest.

In November the annual meeting of the Muslim Women’s Network at the Birmingham Council House provided a fascinating showcase for a wide variety of social engagement by Muslim women together with some men, centred in the Midlands and extending across the country. There were presentations and also ample opportunity to discuss work being done to help women. This included those caught in domestic abuse and conflict, or trapped by marriage arrangements lacking access to the normal legal rights, as well as groups helping those at risk of ethnic or religious hate crimes or forced marriages or exploitation, together with many kinds of help for young people.

 Coventry and Warwickshire

Events around Interfaith Week in November took place in several centres.

In Coventry a forecast for heavy rain led to a positive decision to replace the annual Lord Mayor’s walk around places of worship by joining with an event at the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash, where an excellent religious exhibition was taking place. There was an address by Cllr Anne Lucas the deputy Lord Mayor and prayers from all the religions present. Sikh schoolchildren gave an excellent presentation with their thoughts on what religion means to them.

Interfaith week in Rugby included a well attended event with a meal and a talk and discussion with Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD. This enabled us to reflect on poverty and climate chaos along with others. The event was attended by a group of sixth formers and other people of different faiths.

An interfaith group including Muslims from Wolverhampton was accompanied by Abdul Hamid and Fr Mark Crisp on a pilgrimage of dialogue to Switzerland. Mark van Beeumen spoke about a pilgrimage to the Holy Land also involving interfaith groups.

Other dioceses

Also around Interfaith Week, an evening entitled “A future full of hope” brought together about fifty people at the cathedral in Clifton to hear Lindsay Simmonds, from LSE in London who is Jewish Orthodox, Dr Yafa Shanneik representing Islam and from Birmingham University and Dr Carmody Grey from Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies.

Professor Gavin d’Costa chaired the evening. The changing role of women in the Orthodox Judaism, Islam and Christianity was the topic under discussion.

Lindsay Simmonds spoke of the women of Jewish scriptures starting with Moses’ and Aaron’s sister Miriam and the significance of her having been named.  She went on to highlight many women  who appeared with significant stories across the scriptures. In some ways, it is in our own time that women’s voices are lacking, but the tradition does not bar women rabbis and women cannot be told what they can teach or not.

Yafa Shanneik spoke of the wide varieties of Islamic practice, and a similar wide variation in roles of women and customs around dress and other social issues. Meanwhile Muslim women have been at the forefront of protest and democratic movements, and they can revisit texts and reinterpret them in their lives.

Carmody Grey spoke about the revolutionary nature of the radical equality of the early Christian communities - neither male nor female in Christ - and how these strands continued down the centuries with female monastics in the middle ages. On the issue of women in today’s Catholic church, raised in a question, she felt there seemed little hope of change at this time.

Cathy Wattebot


 NBCW International Committee Report February 2020

We continue to work collaboratively with national and international bodies as our common goal is to work towards the outcome of the 2030 agenda – to eliminate poverty and enable all people to prosper. It is time now for religious groups to assert their influence in ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals achieve a just and peaceful world. Our membership of the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) has enabled us to join an alliance that seeks to ensure rights for all women and girls from young and senior, including widows. Key themes this year have been about Social Protection including the abolition of prostitution, ending modern day slavery, empowerment of young women, implementing Agenda 2030 and other international legal instruments. NAWO aims to strengthen relationships with government and parliamentarians, responding to consultations and enquiries.

Our attendance at the UK Government Report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) demonstrated how effective the collective voice of women can be if they set aside personal agendas and work for the common good. Women from many different groups were able to reach consensus on shared values and choose the most experienced person to present that part of the UK NGO shadow report to the UN Geneva Committee. NBCW’s contribution was to support the report on prostitution and trafficking and unpaid care work. We supported the recommendations for the European Human Rights Committee that they:- investigate and report on the cost of removing local services on women’s mental and physical health and wellbeing; investigate the social costs of labour provided by carers, who are predominately women, in the UK; investigate and identify the distinct types of human trafficking and modern slavery inside and outside of the UK and EU. Some of the recommendations for Central Government and Local Authorities were :- conduct an impact assessment to identify potential risks of Brexit to the rights of women and children and develop a plan to mitigate identified risks or adverse consequences;  to identify what is working in service provision in communities and provide sustainable sources of funding for  organisations providing these services; undertake an immediate review of the support available to carers, especially for those over 65 who are not eligible for allowance and those who undertake paid work and are disadvantaged by reductions in allowance; implement and enforce a ‘duty of care’ to carers, especially those who are vulnerable due to other protected characteristics, disabilities/impairments and/or being victims/survivors of gender-based violence/abuse; develop a plan for the National Crime Agency setting out how work will continue with national and international partners to monitor and combat modern slavery and human trafficking in the event of the UK’s departure from the EU; provide adequate funding for specialist services to support women and girls involved in or exiting prostitution or any form of sexual exploitation, and replace any funding lost in supporting this population as a consequence of withdrawal from the EU; education in schools, communities and wider society about prostitution as a prevalent form of violence against women and girls to mitigate the adverse impacts of normalising prostitution amongst young people. This is especially important in the increasing prevalence of young people accessing hardcore pornography.

Through the alliance we have been able to join with other women of faith to raise awareness of the contribution that our faith-based organisations make to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is a fact that many women and girls in the UK remain unaware of the many international laws and conventions that apply to them and with which they can obtain their rights. Women of faith are beginning to voice their concerns about the breakdown of relationships in societies and are trying to work together to achieve common goals. It is necessary for us to engage in the UK parliamentary processes if we are to ensure that the rights of the family are not undermined by minority groups lobbying for their own agenda. The 18th century Irish statesman Edmund Burke observed that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” We must continue to make our voice heard.

Maureen Meatcher

NBCW International Convenor


Science, Bioethics and Health Committee  February 2020

This link will take you to the Nuffield Council on Bioethic’ interactive infographic showing the range and complexity of issues in bioethics:

The key areas  include:

•          Beginning / End of Life

The Nuffield Council has produced a report on the issues raised by genome editing:

•          Health and Society

•          Data and Technology [including AI]

•          Food and animal welfare

This is a Nuffield briefing note on the health implications and the sustainability of meat alternatives:

•          Environment

In February, Patricia Stoat and Mary McHugh attended a conference on decision-making at the beginning and end of life at the Institute of Health, Leicester University. Christina Mottram was also there, as she is a hospital chaplain in Leicester. The focus of the day was on ‘birth plans’ and their value and use to both pregnant women and midwives; and on ‘advance directives’ and their importance for people approaching death and their families and care teams.

The discussion included consideration of the availability of resources and the pressures on maternity services. Midwifery services are understaffed, and midwives do not have time to encourage and support the use of birth plans – women are referred to websites such as

The advice given is helpful but not tailored to specific needs.

Advance directives were considered in the wider context of patient autonomy, and the legal basis of the Mental Capacity Act. The question of when and whether the courts should be asked to rule on end-of-life decisions was discussed.

We continue to try to monitor developments in all these areas of interest.

We noted with concern recent instances of discrimination by political parties against candidates for Parliament or for office who express reservations about abortion, in line with Catholic teaching.

Patricia Stoat


NBCW Social Responsibility Committee Report for 22 February 2020
The committee met in January at Women@theWell.

Present were Celia Capstick, Jackie McLoughlin, Yogi Sutton, Maureen Meatcher. NBCW  President Margaret Clark attended as a guest and has accepted an invitation to join as a regular member.

Apologies were received from Freda Lambert, Angela Wum Lai and Lynda Dearlove. Alison Gelder sent in her resignation due to family commitments.
The committee continues to monitor  and focus on its current issues of concern: Domestic Abuse, Poverty, Immigration and Refugees, Racial Justice, Trafficking and Prostitution.

Domestic Abuse: the committee has decided to go ahead with the updating and  publication of the NBCW DA Booklet. Marriage Care has already done considerable work on it and a small working group met last week to start more detailed work. The aim is to have it ready for online publication by June and printed by October. However the printing will wait for the passing of the Domestic Abuse Bill into law,  so that any new provisions can be included. A study day on NBCW Domestic Abuse is also being considered preferably hosted somewhere away from London. The committee would welcome suggestions from any diocesan link or organisation which would like to hold it in their area.

Three members of the committee attend the Bishops’ Conference Domestic Abuse Working Group which has been in existence for 11 years. At last week’s meeting (5 February  2020) we were told that it was being closed down to be replaced by an annual meeting and email contact. It is now to be known as the Domestic Abuse Forum. Several members expressed their disappointment and are looking at ways in which the NBCW can continue to keep this as an active and productive working group. The website, CEDAR, is to be closed down and  some of its   resources will be linked to the Bishops’ website.

A 2500 word  article on the work of DAWG and the NBCW and the Church community written by Celia is in the current edition of The Pastoral Review ( sister journal  to the Tablet) in the ministry and leadership section. Jackie is speaking to her deanery meeting on Domestic Abuse in March. The committee would welcome information about any initiatives in other dioceses.

Poverty: the committee is considering setting up an information sharing website giving suggestions and support for specific groups of women needing financial and other forms of help.

In  view of the dire poverty being experienced in this country it was felt we can be more useful in working together with other organisations such as CAP ( Church Action on Poverty) e.g. on their End Hunger Campaign and in supporting local initiatives.   Reforming  the Universal Credit system, which is largely blamed for the increased use of food banks, is a major concern. Monitoring this new government’s commitment to reducing poverty remains a priority. Maureen has written a very useful article, published in the Tablet, reflecting on Pope Francis’ concerns on the structural poverty which is causing widening divisions  between the very rich and the very poor in many societies.

Prostitution and Trafficking: In her absence Sr. Lynda  provided the committee with her report written for presentation at the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in March. It makes a detailed case for the decriminalisation of prostitution for the women and the criminalisation of the demand. Exiting prostitution and returning to normal society will then be possible. 

Migrants and refugees: particular concern is expressed over the government’s refusal to allow refugee children to be reunited with their families in the UK. Jackie continues to do presentations  about  the Sutton response to the  Community Support Scheme for Syrian families. It is hoped more parishes will take up the scheme.

Racial Justice: CARJ (Catholic Association for Racial Justice) is 35 years old.. Yogi reported on the Birmingham celebratory meeting and the continuing need for its work. In the light of Brexit and the spike in racist incidents recently its work is as necessary as ever. It is increasing its work with the  Travelling community The committee noted  their disappointment that few ethnic minorities were represented on the NBCW in spite of efforts over the years to increase their numbers.

Celia Capstick and Freda Lambert co- coordinators.


Catholic People’s Weeks                   75th Anniversary Celebration!

Saturday, August 15, 2020
12:00 PM  7:00 PM
St. Cassian's Centre Wallingtons Road Hungerford, England, RG17 9SP  United Kingdom

CPW has so much to be thankful for that we want to celebrate all we are and all we might be thanks to God’s generosity. As part of our celebrations we will remember our responsibilities to the and to the generations for whom we hold it in trust. The day will provide food for thought as well as ‘soul food’ for people of all ages and abilities.

Our keynote speaker will encourage us to see the world in a new light - God’s light - which we hope will shine through all our praying, singing, dancing, talking and just being together.

If you’re ever been to a CPW (even once!), or you come every year, or you’ve thought you might come but haven’t got round to it, or you’ve just heard about us and you’d like to know more - this day is for you.

Our 2020 Autumn Lecture will be given by Professor Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Open University. A practicing Catholic, Prof Grady will speak about the dialogue between Science and Faith.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020 7:00 PM  9:00 PM

Val David