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Mother’s Union and the member who left a legacy

Mother’s Union and the member who left a legacy


Mothers’ Union is a global Christian movement brought together in care and compassion. We are 4 million members in 84 countries who help the world’s hardest to reach communities to transform their lives. Because we believe that when people come together to solve local challenges, amazing things can happen.


Throughout our work, we are:

  • non-judgemental
  • loving and compassionate
  • persevering
  • bold

We work with people of all faiths and none, often reaching people who others cannot. We welcome people from all walks of life and offer whatever help is needed, to whoever needs it, whenever it is needed. ‘It’s like throwing a stone in the water and seeing the ripples. Karen, a member from Portsmouth said, “I’ve gone from feeling I can’t do anything to realising that although my “stone” is small, it is creating ripples as I use my skills to help others.’

Mothers’ Union members are not all mothers, or even all women. They are single, married, parents, or young adults just beginning to express their social conscience.  There are also non-Christians who belong as ‘friends’ and support the initiatives.

And – you may never have heard of us, even though we’ve been around a while.  We are not very good at promoting ourselves, instead we quietly get on with what needs to be done.

Alison Daunton-Fear, some of whose talks are in the book Treasures from a Deep Mine was a devout member of Mothers’ Union.  She used her talks to encourage and empower others in their ministry to their families and each other.  This is still the ethos of Mothers’ Union, although she may be surprised by some of the changes within the charity.

Her talks are useful in many ways – for MU members to use in meetings, but also for individuals or groups to use for spiritual growth, reflection, of to study as an Advent or Lent course.  They pay reading more than once!

Global and Local

Members provide a network through which they can serve Christ in their own community. This is done through prayer, financial support and actively working so that each area considers local needs and their initiatives are geared to that need.

We focus our work on three interlinked areas:

  • Stopping violence through peace & safety
  • Stopping injustice through gender justice
  • Stopping hunger and increasing self-reliance

Worldwide: By working to achieve gender justice, create a peaceful and safe environment, and build sustainable livelihoods, we focus on supporting women and vulnerable children in facing and overcoming the challenges of daily life, and the societal and cultural challenges they face every day. For example, since 2014 Mothers’ Union has enabled over 32,500 people to join community saving and loan groups to support local enterprise and financial security. We have also helped over 16,000 adults to become literate, enabling them to improve their livelihoods and fund schooling for their children. The organisation has modernised and its focus has broadened very substantially from its roots. Whereas, in the 19th Century, MU largely directed its support to Anglican Christians, it is now ecumenical in its outlook and, whilst its ethos remains based on the values of compassion, its focus has moved from ‘Mothers’ to ‘Women’ in line with global societal trends – which MU has been instrumental in championing.


UK reach: Our activities vary geographically to meet local needs. In the UK, we are:

  • Supporting those affected by domestic abuse
  • Supporting male and female prisoners and their families and loved ones
  • Assisting the disadvantaged take family holidays
  • Promoting family resilience and cohesion – burden sharing and management • Fighting female oppression – including combatting FGM, slavery and abuse
  • Providing practical support for the most vulnerable – for example the homeless and premature babies

How we started

The Mothers’ Union movement began in 1876. Mary Sumner, the wife of a rector in Hampshire, set up a group to support mothers of all kinds in bringing up their children. After delivering a speech in 1885 to churchgoing women at the Portsmouth Church Congress, she inspired many of them to go back to their parishes and set up similar groups.  Over time the groups who met as Mothers’ Union became embedded in their communities. They forged strong links with local people and the Anglican Church. They worked to support one another and give a voice to disadvantaged women while addressing wider societal issues. 

In 1926 Mothers’ Union became a charity with Royal Patronage.

Mothers’ Union today

The movement today is made up of hundreds of individual Mothers’ Union charities spread across 84 countries. Mothers’ Union is unique in that members work together to solve challenges in their local communities. By helping to restore and strengthen relationships in families and communities, the movement gives a sense of belonging and acceptance to the stigmatised and vulnerable.

Our Vision

Our vision is a world where everyone prospers. We actively pursue this vision through prayer and action, helping to build confident people and resilient communities. Our movement seeks to bring about justice, challenge prejudice and advocate change.

Our Mission

We aim to show our Christian faith by helping the sustainable transformation of communities worldwide. We do this by helping to nurture strong relationships at all levels, promoting peace and reconciliation locally, nationally and globally.

Our Aims

  • 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
  • to promote and support married life.

Each diocese tends to have its own website, but to get an idea of the variety and breadth of the work we do look at the central website and our Annual Review tells of many stories of our work

About ‘Treasures from a Deep Mine’

This book is a collection of 40 talks by Alison Daunton-Fear, a gifted preacher whose ministry spanned a large part of the twentieth century, including during the years of the Second World War. As the Church of England did not allow women to be ordained at that time, she mainly preached to women’s groups, especially the Mothers’ Union, but her powerful sermons speak to us all today. Her work complemented that of her ordained husband Richard, who eventually became an Archdeacon in Australia.

Alison’s talks reflect her radiant Christian faith and beauty of spirit, her extensive knowledge of the Bible, and her deep love and understanding of the needs of humanity. They are concise but packed with spiritual truth with practical application that both challenges and encourages.

Presented as daily readings, each with a scripture to meditate on, this book can be used as a daily devotional (for example, during the 40 days of lent), as a resource for small group studies or as a treasury of teaching material for church leaders.

Treasures from a Deep Mine

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