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Mothers’ Union

Mothers' UnionMothers’ Union is a membership-based Christian mission charity that seeks to support families worldwide. There are approximately 4 million members of Mothers’ Union in 83 countries around the world. Despite sharing a wide-range of opinions on issues, all members share in an ethos of mutual respect and collaboration, and a belief that our programmes should be driven by and undertaken by members within their own communities. Mothers’ Union is there to work for people of all faiths and of no faith.

Mothers’ Union is an organisation with a long history. Founded in 1876 by Mary Sumner, wife of the then Bishop of Winchester, the purpose of the organisation was to encourage parents in their role of the spiritual nurture of their children. The support of marriage was added fairly soon as another key objective. For over a century now, Mothers’ Union has been an advocate for promoting strong relationships and the role of family, however defined, as being crucial to building healthy communities.

Whilst the ways in which Mothers’ Union operates to fulfil that need may be different to that of the world of the 19th century, the vision today is still of a world where God’s love is shown through loving, respectful, and flourishing relationships. Today Mothers’ Union has a vibrant mission within local communities, where it aims to be transformational by offering hope, support and opportunity as it:

  • Prays for relationships to be flourishing and loving. 
  • Enables development of all kinds: economic, relational and personal so that family life is strengthened.
  • Campaigns for social justice for those on the margins and for greater recognition of the value of stable family life.



Prayer lies at the heart of Mothers’ Union.  The Christian identity is expressed through active prayer and worship and by being “salt and light” to communities through practical, Christ-like work. Across all 83 countries with Mothers’ Union a constant “Wave of Prayer” is carried out by members every day at midday to ensure God’s provision for the work of Mothers’ Union and the families it seeks to serve. On a practical level, Mothers’ Union members frequently head up local Church-based social outreach, fulfilling the Mothers’ Union prayer to “in love and service reach out as your hands across the world.”

Mothers' Union Newcastle members and Bishop John Packer blessing Christmas boxes for the homeless










Through that outreach, Mothers’ Union enables individuals, families and whole communities to discover and use the skills and knowledge they possess to make a positive and sustainable change. Its programmes are increasingly less about responding to need, and more about providing training to ensure that the changes made to eliminate poverty, or to bring communities greater knowledge and awareness on key issues, are solutions that they can tackle with the resources they already have: nurturing relationship, communication and practical skills. By enabling families and communities to help themselves, Mothers’ Union hopes to foster a sense of interdependence within communities, and with the wider donor community, rather than a culture of dependency.



Where social injustice, inequalities or marginalisation have an adverse affect on family life, Mothers’ Union will campaign to challenge those issues; speaking out on issues of concern by raising public awareness and influencing public opinion, and by speaking out for policy reform. Mothers' Union speaks on gender equality, most notably at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women; speaks out against gender-based violence and is currently campaigning within the UK against the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.



Mothers’ Union’s biggest challenges are to raise skill levels, and membership capacity to help the ever-greater number of families where poverty, inequality of opportunity, and countless external pressures undermine the unique value of each individual and family life.

The aim is, therefore to grow membership and to increase engagement with the issues and practical outreach. To do this, Mothers’ Union will gradually alter the way it funds its work, moving away from a needs-based approach to one that looks at the assets it already has and using these to the best of its ability. This will mean a shift in thinking away from funding items such as salaries or cows or seeds, and instead to focus on training and equipping membership – developing their skills so that they can be equipped to work with their local community to solve local issues facing families, and strengthening their relationship with God. 

Mothers’ Union can never have too many members. If you want to offer Christ-like care for families in your community - and have a great time doing it - contact us to find out more here