Women Organizations in Anglican Communion.
Mothers’ Union is an international Christian organization that seeks to support families worldwide. The Union is specifically concerned with all that strengthens, preserves marriage and supports Christian family life especially in times of adversity.
Brief History of Mothers’ Union
The organization was founded by Mary Sumner in 1876 in the Church of England.
She recalled her difficulties in child-care and training coupled with house chores and work place, and realized that mothers have enormous responsibilities. She was inspired to bring mothers of all social-classes together to provide support and training in motherhood so that they would be equipped to face the responsibilities in their marriage and family life. She taught young wives how to make good Christian home and bring up their children in the fear of God.
In 1885 Mary Sumner addressed the women in a conference. She passionately explained the power God has bestowed on women to change the family, society and the nation at large for better. A good number of the women present in the conference were encouraged and their lives were touched as they were exposed to the word of God. They returned to their various parishes to set up similar women’s meetings. These meetings grew into MOTHERS’ UNION and it was declared a Diocesan Organization by the Bishop of Winchester. The movement grew beyond the Diocese of Winchester and rapidly spread to other Dioceses and Provinces of Anglican Communion. Mothers’ Union membership flourished and women were empowered to make disciples of all ages. They encouraged entire family, and supported people to grow in faith so that they were excited to boldly witness the Gospel of Christ to others.
During Mary Sumner’s Diamond Jubilee, Queen Victoria became the Patron of Mothers’ Union with unprecedented stamp of approval. She lived to lead the Mothers’ Union to act in rebuilding the heart of people after First World War. She also organized the first Mothers’ Union Conference of Overseas Workers.
The branch members of this organization are chain-connected and bonded to one another. The grass-root level of Mothers’ Union are the churches which make-up the parishes, the archdeaconries and the dioceses with the Bishop’s wife as the President on Diocesan level and finally to the provincial level with the Arch-bishop’s wife as the President. Members from different provinces make up one strong Women Organization known as MOTHERS’ UNION throughout Anglican Communion worldwide. Each of these branches supports the worldwide President. The headquarters of Mothers’ Union worldwide is in Mary Sumner House in Westminister London. The worldwide President is Mrs. Lynne Tembey. In the Diocese of the West, the Bishop’s wife Mrs Lilian Orji is the Diocesan President of Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild while our lord Bishop is the Patron.
The Union emphasizes the importance of prayer. It organizes a Wave of Prayer annually. Mothers’ Union expresses its Christian identity through its life of prayer and worship. It is this spiritual life together which underpins its work with families and communities. Every day a wave of prayer goes around the world as members stop and pray in the middle of the day to pray for the work of Mothers’ Union and international issues. Attached is Worldwide Mothers’ Union Wave of Pray for 2015. At Mary Sumner Office, London, workers go to the Chapel at noon for Wave of Prayer. These daily prayers follow an annual pattern which means that every Mothers’ Union region is prayed for at least once a year. Each diocese is given a set day to pray for other dioceses, and within each diocese each branch is given a specific time to pray. This gives to members a sense of unity in prayer for one another as the wave of prayer moves from branch to branch and from diocese to diocese.
"Lord, we pray for the flourishing of Mothers’ Union worldwide. Today we pray for the people and work of..."Members pray for each other every day through the Wave of Prayer and each year an annual theme is decided, which focuses members' prayers and actions on particular aspects of Mothers' Union's work and faith. The theme for 2015 is UNITED IN PRAYER.
As a global movement of women, Mothers’ Union supports churches with prayers and funds. It promotes the activities of its branch members and local communities through social outreach projects. It provides its members with child training, parenting and skills that will enable them to be self-reliant. Mothers’ Union campaigns against violence against women as well as child trafficking. It is the highest women organization in Anglican Communion that addresses social ills. It is also the voice of women in Anglican Communion in the church, diocese, provincial and international levels.
Mothers’ Union Vision is to build a world where God’s love is shown through loving, respect and flourishing relationships.
Mothers’ Union Motto is Phi. 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Aim and Purpose
Mothers’ Union is particularly concerned with all that strengthens and preserves marriage and Christian family life. It helps in the advancement of Christian religion in the sphere of marriage and family-life. This is done by
(a) Developing prayer and spiritual growth in families.
(b) Studying and reflecting on family life and its place in the society.
(c) Resourcing her members to take practical actions to improve conditions for families.
(d) Demonstrating the Christian faith in action by the transformation of communities worldwide through the nurture of the family in its various form.
In order to carry out these aims and make them achievable, it is broken down in chunks.
Mothers’ Union Objectives.
1. To uphold Christ’s teaching in the nature of marriage and to promote its wider understanding.
2. To encourage parents to bring up their children in the faith and life of the church.
3. To maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service.
4. To promote conditions in the society favorable to family life and the protection of children.
5. To help those whose family life has met with adversity.
Mothers’ Union Prayer:
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who gave marriage to be a source of blessing. We thank you for family life, with all its joys and sorrows. May we know your presence and peace in our homes. Fill them with your love and use them to your glory.
Bless all who are married and every parent and child. Pour upon us your Holy Spirit, so that we may truly love you and serve you. Bless the members of the Mothers’ Union throughout the world, unite us in prayer and worship, in love and service, that strengthened by your grace, we may seek to do your will through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Every member of Mothers’ Union has automatically promised by God’s grace to faithfully do the following:-
1. To confess the faith of Christ crucified and continue to be his faithful servant to the end of one’s life.
2. To uphold and support the objectives of Mothers’ Union by ward, action and deed.
3. To try to plan one’s life to include worship and service in the church, prayer and Bible reading and study.
In the Church of Nigeria, membership to Mothers’ Union is open for women who are baptized, confirmed and wedded in the church.
The four Unit committees
Action and Outreach
This unit promotes activities that will help members to achieve its aim- the advancement of knowledge of God in the sphere of marriage and family life. The unit plans training programs and workshops that will educate people on issues that promote Christian marriage and family life. Participants are exposed to skill-training for self-reliance. Evangelical Outreach programs are planned and carried out in order to reach people at the grass-root level with the gospel.
Prayer and Spirituality
This unit carries out the third Mothers’ Union objective – to maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service. It plays a central role in the lives of all members because prayer is central to everything Mothers’ Union does. The unit helps members and non-members to grow in Christian faith through writing and publishing prayers for special services, Bible study guides, and tract. It encourages and plans regular fasting, prayer vigils and special programs for women in churches, archdeaconries and diocesan levels.
Finance and Central Services
This unit is in charge of the Union’s finances. The accounts are audited annually. It supports members, organizes elections of officers and constantly revises the list of members.
The marketing Unit is responsible for increasing membership, generating income through fund raising and sponsorship, augmenting public awareness of the aims and activities of Mothers’ Union.
The Women’s Guild is an important Women Organization in Anglican Communion. Women are first admitted into Women’s Guild before going into Mothers’ Union. It was founded with more open membership. Women who are full church members but not eligible to join Mothers’ Union are free to be members of Women’s Guild and serve God with commitment in the Church. In Nigeria, Women’s Guild was founded by Mrs. Malina Jones in 1921.
Aim and Purpose
Women’s Guild is specially concerned with all that strengthens and preserves family life. To learn very well the best way to live a wholesome life and draw people to our Lord Jesus Christ through good conduct, selfless service at home, church and society.
Objectives of Women’s Guild.
1. To read the Bible and pray daily.
2. To keep the marriage vows and bring up all children entrusted to us with loving care
and teach them to pray daily.
3 To avoid debts and abstain from strong drinks, except with strict moderation.
4. To attend regularly Church Services, Bible class and Guild meetings.
5. Try to win others for Christ through a life of service for his sake.
6. To visit the sick and the bereaved.
Women’s Guild Prayer:
O God our heavenly father, we pray you to bless every member of our Guild. Cleanse us with the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior so that we may be cleansed from all our sins. Bind us in love and prayer. Help us to keep all rules of the Women’s Guild. Make us trustworthy women and loving mothers. Help us to use all efforts to make others know you, that at last we reach the heavenly joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
These two women organizations in Anglican Communion namely Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild, produce women of virtue and integrity who are good Christian Mothers. They build their homes with God’s wisdom and raise godly children. They also bring positive changes in their families, communities, society and the world at large.
Difference Between Mothers’ Union and Women’s Guild
Every soul is very important to GOD because He loves us and Jesus died for everybody. Hence these Women Organizations are organs in Anglican communion through which women unite themselves as one body with one mind and one goal to serve God effectively and efficiently.
Mothers’ Union is the highest women organization and members are expected to be a model of Christian Mothers at home, Church, community, and society at large. Members are baptized, confirmed and wedded in the church. They must know the word of God, and Anglicanism and be helpful in training others. Mothers’ Union supports monogamous marriage and family life so aspirants must be wedded in the church and be faithful to their marriage vows.
Women’s Guild has more open membership to give all women equal opportunity to love and serve the Lord in spirit and in truth. Unmarried women, or single and unwedded mothers who are zealous for God are admitted in Women’s Guild.
Women are first admitted into Women’s Guild before being admitted into Mothers’Union. In other words, all Mothers’ Union members are also members of Women’s Guild.
Both Women Organizations have different uniforms. Mothers’ Union has blue back-ground uniform while Women’s Guild has green back-ground uniform.