In 1876 Mary Sumner saw the need to develop support for married women in their family life. From that starting point Mothers’ Union grew so that by 2016 there are branches in 83 countries and a membership over 4 million. In Peterborough Diocese we have just under 1000 members and 48 branches.
There is only one requirement for membership of the Mothers’ Union in the United Kingdom if you decide you would like to support the objectives it pursues. That is that you have been baptised in the name of the Trinity.
Like all branches Oakham meets regularly. Yes you say but what do they do?
Good question and all branches strive to be Faith in Action.
St James tells us: ‘if faith does not lead to action it is, in itself, a lifeless thing’
What Mothers’ Union seeks to do is summed up in the mission it has and the objectives through which it pursues that mission. I quote from its constitution:
As a Christian organisation to promote the well-being of families worldwide
To uphold Christ’s teaching on the nature of marriage and to 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
Yes but what do they do that achieves these objectives?
They raise a lot of money but that is only the oil that fuels the efforts. Grapevine, the magazine of Peterborough Diocese together with Families First and Families Worldwide will tell you. These may well be around the church or you can speak to any MU member or download a copy here. Some Examples are:
- We run worldwide literacy, numeracy and parenting programmes.
- We provide holidays for families who have rarely or never enjoyed them.
- We are running a lunch club in Kettering which is young but now beginning to show signs of real growth.
- For some of our hospitals we provide basic essentials boxes for those who enter hospital without them.
- We have a very powerful prayer chain.
- We support the Central Organisation in its work across the world.
All these activities and many more which get on with it, perhaps too quietly, make a real impact in our world but action needs people as well as faith. Can you really see anything in Mothers’ Union objectives that you don’t think worthy of support?
As St James has said, reminding us of Abraham – ‘Surely you can see that Faith was at work in his actions and that, by his actions his faith was fully proved’