Updated 29 October 2019

   Linked with Pacong - South Sudan, Kutigi - Nigeria, Southern Nyanza - Kenya, Ijesha North - Nigeria, Karnataka Central - South India

The Mothers Union was started in 1876 by a lady called Mary Sumner when her

eldest daughter Margaret gave birth, she was reminded how difficult she had found

the burden of motherhood. Inspired, Sumner publicized a meeting of mothers in the parish

to offer mutual support. Her plan was quite radical in its day as it involved calling women of all

social classes to support one another and to see motherhood as a profession as important

as those of men, if not more so. Since 1876 the Mothers’ Union has grown to an

organization of over four million women and men in over 80 countries of the world and

reaches out to families of all faiths and none. The Mothers’ Union is the world’s largest lay Christian membership charity.2016 marked 140 years of faithful outreach to families of all faiths and none.  Since 1876, when Mary Sumner first brought together parents in her own Hampshire parish to build their confidence in bringing up their children, it has grown to an organisation of over four million women – and men – in over 80 countries of the world, promoting stable marriage, family life and the protection of children through praying, enabling and campaigning.  Prayer is central to the work of Mothers’ Union and each day, at midday, members pause to pray.  The Wave of Prayer is a continuous expression of their commitment in prayer to each other in

this country and worldwide.

Mothers’ Union Objectives.

• To promote and support married life

• To encourage parents in their role to develop the faith of their children

• 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

More About The Mothers’ Union.

Work carried out in the provinces includes marriage and relationship support, dealing with problems of poverty of opportunity with Literacy and Financial Education programmes, vocational training, health education, care for vulnerable adults, prison work, community support, advocacy and campaigning and provision of relief.  Thousands of people benefit each year from the work done by Mothers’ Union members in their communities.

The Mothers’ Union was first established in the Bristol Diocese in 1898 when there were 12 Branches and around 400 members. Today there are 29 branches and 691 members.  Members support our Diocesan Projects either by volunteering or by raising funds and giving donations.  There are 82 members who volunteer to be at Bristol Cathedral so every week day visitors are met and made welcome by MU members.  MU members started the Friends for Parents scheme at Bristol Children’s Hospital providing a friendly face, supplies of tea and coffee and practical help for parents who arrive from all over the country.


Donations of toys, clothes, sometimes furnishings (for the RISE project in Chippenham), tea and coffee (for Friends for Parents in Bristol Children’s Hospital), rice and tins of fish (for Asylum Seekers in Bristol) come from all over the Diocese and many  members are busy knitting children’s jumpers to go overseas to orphanages, to refugees and others in need.  Some of our jumpers were taken to Nepal only a few weeks after the earthquake there had devastated the country. Also our jumpers were being given to refugees in Europe some time before they became headline news.

Mothers’ ‘Union provides coaches for a day by the sea for families from deprived areas across the Diocese, meaning

that children who’ve never previously seen the sea will enjoy a day at the seaside.

Every parish linked to a Mothers’ Union branch benefits from the help MU members give to a wide range of activities including supporting Wedding couples and families who bring children for Baptism, taking on leading positions on Parochial Church

Councils and providing tea and cake at various functions.  In North Wilts teams go into school with “Open the Book” and in several churches the Mothers’ Union members are key to the running of ‘Messy Church’ or Sunday School activities.

THE MOTHERS’ UNION CELEBRATED its 140th Anniversary in 2016 and there was a Celebration Service in Bristol Cathedral on Saturday 23rd April 2016 with the Bishop of Bristol presiding.  The Lord Mayor of Bristol and the Mayor of Chippenham were in attendance. We have so much to celebrate and there is still so much to be done.  We always need new members and anyone interested can find out more about the Mothers’ Union by visiting the national website (Mary Sumner House)


For more information please contact Aurea Hart, Diocesan President aurea.hart@gmail.com or 01225 891453 or to visit a page about our local activities click here