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Our history

'But the plans of the Lord stand firm, the purposes of his heart through all generations.' - Psalm 33:11

2026: We look forward to celebrating 150 years of Mothers' Union together with our four million members active in 83 countries. Stay tuned for more!

2021: We celebrate 145 years of Mothers' Union and mark 100 years since the death of Mary Sumner.

2018: Our charter and constitution are updated to be fit for the 21st century. Mothers’ Union starts a conversation with thousands of members across the globe to reaffirm who we are and how we should continue to make a difference to lives in the future.

2016: Mothers’ Union representatives from across the globe attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York to lobby governments and the United Nations on women’s economic empowerment.

2010: Our Bye Buy Childhood campaign calls on government to ensure that the advertising and marketing industry value children as children and stop exploiting their natural inexperience to pressure their parents.

2005: We join the Jubilee Debt Campaign calling for debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. Members live in 21 of the 52 severely indebted countries.

2000: We are given consultative status within the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations on issues such as poverty, gender equality and HIV and AIDS.

1996: At least 125 of our members become priests in the Church of England following the Synod’s approval of the Ordination of women.

1965: Away From It All (AFIA) Holiday Scheme for disadvantaged families launches in the UK.

1952: Her Majesty the Queen writes to grant her royal patronage to Mothers’ Union.

1918: We celebrate women over 30s right to vote by advising members on how to use their vote wisely. ‘The vote is a duty we owe to womankind’.

1909: Mothers’ Union becomes the largest voluntary women’s organisation in Britain.

1885: Mary Sumner delivers her first speech. ‘Those that rock the cradle rule the world’. She also called for a Mothers’ Union founded prayer.

1876: Mothers’ Union was founded by Mary Sumner. She wanted to create an organisation for women that brought together rich and poor to build a network that would support mothers of all kinds as they brought up their children in Christian faith.

To find out more about our Founder, Mary Sumner, please see our related resources below:

Mothers' Union - who are we?

With nearly 150 years of history and members across the globe, Mothers' Union is a powerful movement for change.

Ways to get involved

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Mothers' Union Parenting Group, UK

Your gift of £10 could allow a mum or dad in the UK to join a parents group where they will receive support and guidance to help raise their family

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