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Making a difference
Mothers’ Union is often asked to comment on important issues, influencing the way policy is shaped and decided.
We often describe the 3 strands of Mothers’ Union’s work as ‘praying, enabling and campaigning’, and putting our faith into action is at the heart of Mothers’ Union. As we campaign, it is really important to us that we listen to our members and ask for their input into the various consultations that we respond to.
Given the significant impact that Mothers’ Union faith inspired campaigns such as Bye Buy Childhood have had, we were recently very pleased that many members responded to a consultation from the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life about role of religion and belief in Britain today.
Responding as individuals and also working locally in groups to share their experiences to help shape the final response, Mothers Union shared with the Commission details of the many projects and activities being worked on in dioceses around the country as well as the commitment of Mothers’ Union members to show God’s love to families and communities in a very practical and hands on way through these projects.
Examples included prison schemes; parenting courses for the local community; supporting local women’s refuge centres; assisting with food banks; providing ‘Away From It All’ holidays for families who would not otherwise have the opportunity for a family holiday; working with asylum seekers to help secure the provision of legal advice and clothing; and engagement in Mothers’ Union activities for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign.
FAITH AS A MOTIVATOR
We heard from our members that faith is an important motivator for many to play a role in their local community and be involved in social action, and to ensure that projects succeed.
Direct input from members included in the report read, ‘Our faith encourages us to become involved in social and political action as we are motivated to improve social conditions in our own country and to prompt politicians to act for justice and fairness throughout the world,’
And faith isn’t just a motivator; it is intrinsic to all Mothers’ Union does: ‘Faith is central to the prayer life and activism of Mothers’ Union. It demonstrates God’s love in action. It adds a spiritual dimension to a local community activity. It develops concern for issues worldwide. It contributes to the ongoing spiritual growth and development of individual members.
‘Jesus said that we must love and serve all those around us, not just those we know. He also showed through example and parables that we should seek social justice in the community and the society in which we live. Our branch activities are underpinned by our worship, our prayer and our faith.’ Mothers’ Union’s response reflected members’ firm belief that the role of faith-based organisations in society is an important one, and explained the positive impact that organisations such as Mothers’ Union have on communities and people’s lives.
‘They bring people together and help to strengthen the community. They are important because they raise people’s awareness of the needs of others.
‘They make a positive impact on people’s lives. It makes people aware of their rights and equips them with the skills to question and comment to allow their voice to be heard.’
The response also outlined the impact that a group can have rather than the action of an individual. ‘It is sometimes difficult as individuals to achieve results, but, as a group or organisation, different ways of giving (time, money, experience and knowledge) can be combined, giving members opportunities to make a difference in their communities. They can be important ways of showing that the Christian faith is not just words or being a church attendee. It is loving and caring in order to make life better for someone else, whether in little ways or through long-term commitment. We grow as individuals and benefit too, in countless ways!’ Finally, the importance of the voice of faith-based organisations, particularly in campaigning, was shared.
‘[Faith based organisations like Mothers’ Union] give us the strong base from which to challenge developments or practices which damage or erode life for children and families. They present legitimate concerns to those in power which may be unexpected consequences of developments, or may have become a problem unrecognised at higher levels, for example, the commercialisation of childhood. They are careful to look at reality, good and bad, for families today, and produce constructive ways forward. Campaigns which are for change, and not just anti-modern times, are more credible and effective, and I believe Mothers’ Union is good at this type of campaigning.’
We are proud that ‘our members live out their faith in a loving God through prayer, worship and action’ and that the ‘membership of the Mothers’ Union assists in focusing our faith and our ability to extend our care from our local communities to those nationwide and beyond.’
If you are interested in getting involved in Mothers’ Union, either through campaigning or joining a local branch, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can make a difference.