Mothers’ Union Celebrates 140 years of faith in action

The international Christian charity, Mothers’ Union (MU), whose volunteer member transform the lives of over half a million lives worldwide every year, is to celebrate its 140th anniversary in the city of its founding, Winchester. A service of celebration and thanksgiving at Winchester Cathedral [22nd September] will be presided over by Mothers’ Union patron, Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mr Nigel Atkinson. The Mothers’ Union `Mary Sumner Choir’ from Zambia, is to sing and representative members from all over the world including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Uganda will be joining over 3,000 members at the Cathedral. In a letter of greeting to the membership for the anniversary, Her Majesty The Queen sent her best wishes for the “continuing success of a charity that has given hope and strength to so many.”The celebrations will continue on the Friday [23rd September] 1,600 will attend the General Meeting of the organisation in Basingstoke, to hear keynote addresses from Worldwide President, Lynne Tembey and Chief Executive, Beverley Jullien who was appointed last year.  The day will celebrate the history of the last 140 years, particularly in a play newly commissioned by Mothers’ Union and written and performed by Saltmine Theatre Company which will be premiered at the event. Speakers will also cover some of the key ways in which Mothers’ Union has made a difference, for example, lobbying for the minimum age of marriage to be raised to 16 years (1927).  Sadly in some parts of the world it is still as necessary to campaign for the rights of the girl-child as it was in Edwardian England. Worldwide President, Lynne Tembey will speak about the women and girls she met in DR Congo who are being helped by the charity to overcome the consequences of gender-based violence, and about her meeting with internally displaced congregations in South Sudan living in the most desperate situations.  “I met Reverend Rebecca who took us to the camp she called home. So many stories of pain and distress. I don’t know if my family is alive, I don’t know if I will ever see home again.”Looking to the future, the meeting will include inviting members and staff to make practical pledges which will enable the Movement to reach over one million beneficiaries every year by 2021. Chief Executive, Beverley Jullien will say “Family life is under increasing pressure and the call on our resources is higher than ever.  Together we are on a journey of change, which will ensure that we remain as relevant and valued in the future as we were 140 years ago.”