The Province of All-Ireland covers the whole island with members in every diocese of the Church of Ireland. We operate as one organisation in two different jurisdictions – Northern Ireland which is part of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. We have 336 branches in both city and rural parishes. With around 7,000 members in all 12 dioceses, Mothers’ Union in Ireland works to support families in many practical ways.
The Most Revd Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh, invited Mothers’ Union in Ireland to challenge ‘the scourge’ of domestic violence and it is a commission the organisation has accepted. In addition to the annual prayer vigils which are held in every diocese during November in support of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, new resources have been developed including a display called ‘The Souls of our Shoes’ which explores the experiences of the victims of domestic abuse through the stories of their shoes.
Ireland held its triennial fundraiser, Mums in May, in 2018 and the overseas project chosen to be supported from that event is one in the DR Congo working against gender based violence, a reflection of our commitment to challenge abuse, wherever it occurs.
Weekend getaways for members (and friends) are a popular feature in Ireland and provide a wonderful opportunity for women to enjoy a little "me time" in their busy lives. Members also offer vital away time to families through AFIA (Away From It All) breaks with almost every diocese now organising short breaks or holidays for families going through difficult times. The provincial Mums in May fund has supported dioceses by providing the finance to enable the development of AFIA across the country.
In addition, branch members continue to support their local hospitals with emergency toiletries, neo natal clothing and trauma teddies. Their knitting skills provide prayer shawls while nimble fingers produce fiddle muffs for those living with dementia.
St Theresa of Avila reminded us that Christ has ‘no hands but ours’ and so we seek to reach out to those in need within our communities, wherever in Ireland they are.