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The Mothers' Union (often abbreviated MU) is a worldwide movement of Anglican women, whose aim is to strengthen and preserve marriage and family life through Christianity. The MU calculates its membership to be about 3.6 million in 78 countries. Anglicanism commonly refers to the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Communion, the churches that are in full communion with the see of Canterbury. ...



The organisation was founded by Mary Sumner in 1876 in the Church of England parish of Old Alresford, near Winchester, where her husband was rector. She was inspired to start the movement after the birth of her first grandchild. Remembering her own difficulties when she was first a mother, Sumner wanted to bring mothers of all social classes together to provide support for one another and to be trained in motherhood, something which she saw as a vocation. Mary Sumner was a lady who was a saint. ... Year 1876 Pick up Sticks(MDCCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The Church of England logo since 1998 The Church of England is the officially established Christian church[1] in England, and acts as the mother and senior branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as a founding member of the Porvoo Communion. ... A parish is a type of administrative subdivision. ... Old Alresford is a village and civil parish in Hampshire, England. ... Winchester is a historic city in southern England, with a population of around 40,000 within a 3 mile radius of its centre. ... The word rector (ruler, from the Latin regere) has a number of different meanings, but all of them indicate someone who is in charge of something. ...

In 1885, Ernest Wilberforce, the first Bishop of Newcastle, was preparing to address churchgoing women in the Portsmouth Church Congress. Finding he had nothing relevant to say to churchwomen, he contacted Mary Sumner and asked her to speak to the conference in his stead. Although she was reluctant and beset by nervousness, she addressed the women passionately about the power of mothers to change the nation for the better. A number of the women present were encouraged to return to their parishes to set up similar women's meetings, and the Bishop of Winchester, who presided over the congress, declared that the Mothers' Union become a diocesan organisation. The growth of the movement beyond the boundary of the Diocese of Winchester was due to the emphasis in Victorian British society on morality and contending with social ills as well as the growth in Anglican mission throughout the British Empire. 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The following have been Bishop of Newcastle. ... Arms of the Bishop of Winchester The diocese of Winchester is one of the oldest and most important in England. ... The Diocese of Winchester forms part of the Province of Canterbury in England. ... The History of British society demonstrates innumerable changes over many centuries. ... Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India Victorian morality is a distillation of the moral views of people living at the time of Queen Victoria (reigned 1837 - 1901) in particular, and to the moral climate of Great Britain throughout the 19th century in... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...

Rapidly, the Mothers' Union spread to the dioceses of Ely, Exeter, Hereford, Lichfield and Newcastle, and then throughout the United Kingdom. By 1892, there were 60,000 members in 28 dioceses, which grew to 169,000 members by the turn of the century. In 1893, annual general meetings were organised, and, in 1896, the Mothers' Union Central Council was formed. Mary Sumner was unanimously elected president, a post she held into her nineties. In 1897, during her Diamond Jubilee, Queen Victoria became patron of the Mothers' Union, giving it an unprecedented stamp of approval. Mary Sumner's Mothers' Union set up branches throughout the British Empire, beginning in New Zealand, then Canada and India. She lived to lead the Mothers' Union to act in rebuilding the heart of Britain after the First World War, and saw the first Mothers' Union Conference of Overseas Workers in 1920. The Dioecese of Ely is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury. ... The Diocese of Exeter is a Church of England diocese based in Exeter, covering Devon. ... The Diocese of Hereford is a Church of England diocese based in Hereford, covering Herefordshire and part of Shropshire. ... The Diocese of Mercia was created by Bishop Diuma in around 656 and the see was settled in Lichfield in 669 by the then bishop, Ceadda (later Saint Chadd). ... The Diocese of Newcastle is a Church of England diocese based in Newcastle upon Tyne, covering the historic county of Northumberland (and therefore including the northern part of Tyne and Wear). ... A Diamond Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 60th anniversary. ... Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India from 1 May 1876, until her death on 22 January 1901. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...

The Mothers' Union today

As a global movement of Anglican women, the Mothers' Union supports local churches with the prayers and activities of its branch members, as well as being a worldwide campaigning charity. Particularly concerned with the plight of women in the world, its projects include literacy and healthcare education and campaigning against violence against women and the trafficking of women. The Mothers' Union is part of Make Poverty History and the Jubilee Debt Coalition. // The Make Poverty History campaign (which is written as MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY) was a British and Irish coalition of charities, religious groups, trade unions, campaigning groups and celebrities who mobilized around the UKs prominence in world politics in 2005 to increase awareness and pressure governments into taking actions towards relieving absolute... Jubilee Debt Coalition (Drop The Debt) is a coalition of national organisations and local groups around the UK, calling for the unpayable debts of the poorest countries to be cancelled. ...

Of its 3.6 million, approximately 1.9 million Mothers' Union members are from Indian dioceses (from the formerly independent churchwomen's organisations of the Church of North India and the Church of South India, which affiliated with the Mothers' Union in 2001 and 2003 respectively). A further 1.3 million Mothers' Union members are in African dioceses, with the largest membership, 680,000, in Tanzania. Membership within the United Kingdom is around 110,000. The Church of North India has united various denominations and missions and orders in India. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Aim and objectives

From the Mothers' Union website:

The aim of the MU is to strengthen and preserve marriage and family life through Christianity.

In order to carry out this aim, the MU's objectives are:

  • To uphold Christ's teaching on the nature of marriage and promote its wider understanding.
  • To encourage parents to bring up their children in the faith and life of the Church.
  • To maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service.
  • To promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children.
  • To help those whose family life has met with adversity.


The Mothers' Union has developed within the Anglican Communion and uses its structure as its own. Individual branches are usually based on parishes or small groups of parishes. There are often levels of co-ordination corresponding to deaneries and archdeaconries, that link the branch organisations with that of the diocese. The Anglican provinces each have their own administration, which, in turn, supports the worldwide President, currently Rosemary Kempsell. The worldwide headquarters is in Mary Sumner House in Westminster, London. The Anglican Communion uses the compass rose as its symbol, signifying its worldwide reach and decentralized nature. ... In the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church, a deanery is a collection of parishes within an archdeaconry. ... An archdeacon is a senior position in some Christian churches, above that of most clergy and below a bishop. ... Pope Pius XI blesses Bishop Stephen Alencastre as fifth Apostolic Vicar of the Hawaiian Islands in a Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace window. ... A province is a territorial unit, almost always a country subdivision. ... Westminster is a district within the City of Westminster in London. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...


The Mothers' Union emphasises the importance of prayer underpinning its work. Each year, the Mothers' Union organises a Wave of Prayer. Each diocese is given a set day to pray for other dioceses, and within each diocese each branch is given a specific time to pray. This gives to members a sense of unity in prayer for one another as the wave of prayer moves from branch to branch and from diocese to diocese.

Another sign of unity is the Mothers' Union Prayer. Originally composed by Mary Sumner for her parish women's meeting and revised a number of times, this prayer often concludes worship together in branch meetings. The current version of the prayer is as follows:

Loving Lord
We thank you for your love so freely given to us all.
We pray for families around the world.
Bless the work of the Mothers' Union
as we seek to share your love
through the encouragement, strengthening
and support of marriage and family life.
Empowered by your Spirit,
may we be united in prayer and worship,
and in love and service reach out
as your hands across the world.
In Jesus' name.
© The Mothers' Union [1]

Informally, a particular, personal prayer of Mary Sumner is often used by members when they meet together or in their private devotions:

All this day, O Lord,
let me touch as many lives as possible for thee;
and every life I touch, do thou by thy spirit quicken,
whether through the word I speak,
the prayer I breathe,
or the life I live.
© The Mothers' Union [2]

See also

The Womens Institute (WI) is a membership organisation for women in England and Wales. ...

External links



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