Mothers' Union

Mary Sumner founded the Mothers’ Union over 125 years ago at her home, the rectory at Old Alresford in Hampshire. It has now grown into a worldwide organisation and is particularly strong in African countries.

As in the beginning, it seeks to promote Christian family life, and to do so in the context of life today. It is involved, particularly in third world countries, in projects that help women and children to play a more complete part in the lives of their communities.

For example, Literacy Project are in place to teach people basic skills of reading and writing. It also, through the Overseas and Emergency Funds, sends aid to areas where it is needed, when it is needed. This is done through MU workers to make sure it is not diverted. A large donation has recently been sent to Malawi. Mothers’ Union has worked hard in recent years to support the Debt Campaign for the relief of debt in third world countries.

It is not a political organisation, but it is not afraid to speak out on matters that affect the stability of family life. Men as well as women can become members. You don’t need to be married, or to have children. Divorced people are not turned away. It is not necessary to become a member of a branch: BUT it is necessary to support the Aim and Objects of the organisation.

Mothers’ Union is a praying organisation, aiming to keep a never-sleeping chain of prayer alive right round the world.

Jean Osbond - (Mothers’ Union - Melbourne)

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Melbourne Mother's Union Centenary Celebrations

Melbourne Branch of the  Mothers’ Union began its centenary celebrations on  March 25 when almost a hundred people gathered in the Parish Church for the Lady Day service. The Bishop of Repton came to preach and celebrate Holy Communion.  Diocesan Officers and many members from branches in the Archdeaconry of Derby were present, and enjoyed birthday cake and bubbly drinks as they mingled afterwards.
The Mothers’ Union is a movement begun by Mary Sumner in 1876 near Winchester.  Mary was the wife of the vicar at Alresford, Hampshire, and when her eldest daughter was bringing up her first baby,  Mary organised a meeting of mothers in the parish to support each other practically, and raise their families in the Christian tradition.   The meetings were very popular locally and  ten years later became an official movement in the Diocese of Winchester.  By the early 20th century it had over 250,000 members including branches in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Burma and China, with Mary Sumner as Worldwide President until 1909. 
It was in 1914 as Europe was preparing for war, that a group of over sixty ladies at Melbourne Parish Church decided to start a branch which was inaugurated on Lady Day by the vicar at the time, the Revd L. Robin.  Their menfolk would have been called up later in that year, and the women would have found strength and support from each other as they struggled through the next four horrendous years of the Great War.  Seventy years later in 1984 Melbourne Branch still had over fifty members and again celebrated its birthday  on Lady Day. 
Today the Mothers’ Union has four million members around the world


Melbourne Mothers' Union meets at 2pm on the first Tuesday of the month in Church House unless announced otherwise.

Corporate Communion is held the first Thursday of the month at 9:15am in Melbourne Parish Church.