Reflections

Mothers Union: Listening, observing, acting

Find out about current Mothers Union initiatives and activities, including their recent NZ conference, and how you can contribute to their life-changing work

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Reflections

MULOA members at their recent conference in Auckland (image courtesy of Mia Mia)

The Mothers Union was established 142 years ago by Mary Sumner with her vision to support marriage and family life. Today, it has grown to a worldwide membership of over four million in 84 countries. Mothers Union is a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service. In showing Christian care for families, Mothers Union members are involved in projects and activities within their parish communities in their Dioceses, as well as supporting national and global projects.

Many readers will already be aware of the mission of Mothers Union in our Diocese. Members of our 55 branches are actively engaged in supporting families and marriage, taking action to improve conditions in the community and providing prayer support and practical assistance to families wherever possible. Examples of this work are too numerous to mention here, but include toiletry packs for hospitals; fresh start baskets for those leaving a women’s shelter; support for ‘Kids at Risk’; comfort teddies for children in distress; rugs for aged care residents, foster children and refugees; support for victims of domestic violence; a children’s playground at an Anglicare women’s shelter; and, emergency relief for droughts and floods.

One of the hallmarks of the Mothers Union over the years has been its ability to acknowledge and effect change. This is the aim and purpose behind the Mothers Union: Listening, Observing, Acting (MULOA) Conference. Mothers Union is coming together to LISTEN to God, to each other, to the vulnerable and those in need in our communities. We are OBSERVING what we already have and are doing in our work of showing Christian love, care and kindness, and we are ACTING by taking responsibility and feeding back our results and findings with the hope of creating a new vision for the future.

Mothers Union is actively listening to the voices of members worldwide to create a vision for the future that is based on their own views and experience within their own environment. Mothers Union is engaging in a global conversation to explore the essence of what it is to be Mothers Union in contemporary society in our communities.

The Anglican Mothers Union Australia Brisbane Diocese has an exciting but challenging time before it, as it attempts to implement the MULOA process.

The global MULOA process has been happening across the world since autumn 2017 and will finish in spring 2019. It has moved through a series of regional meetings in Zones across the world, aiming to reach and hear from 600+ Dioceses in which Mothers Union works today. Our meeting in Auckland was Zone C and this was the last of the Zones to meet.

Our Zone, which takes in the South Pacific area, drew Mothers Union leaders from Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand and the Polynesia Islands of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, and 19 of our 23 Australia Dioceses.

Archbishop Phillip Aspinall invited The Rev’d Bronwyn Pagram, a Deacon from St John’s Anglican Cathedral, to undergo training to become one of the leaders to facilitate the MULOA Conference in Auckland in August of this year.

Diocesan President Beverley Perry and Vice President Margaret Coombs represented our Diocese and joined over 60 members from throughout the South Pacific. It was a wonderful experience for all involved, as we shared our faith stories and our Mothers Union stories of the present, working through a method of workshops to help answer these recurring questions:

  • Who are we as Mothers Union?
  • Whose lives are we touching, or could be touching?
  • What difference are we making, or could be making in people’s lives?
  • How do we effectively make a difference or how could we be more effective?

The aim of MULOA is to be more effective and to make a difference in the church and community. It also challenges members to think about the future and to be inspired and energised in their relationship with God and each other.

Margaret and Beverley have come back with a toolkit for putting faith into action. The task is now underway to share the MULOA experience with members in Branches and Deaneries and others throughout our own Diocese within the next few months. A follow-up Conference, when the same leaders will gather again to collate and share their experiences, is to be held at St John’s College at the University of Queensland in late January 2019.

From this process, it is hoped a clear framework and direction for Mothers Union globally will emerge and that these will reflect the realities of local communities and help to create a new vision for the future.

To find out more about Mothers Union, including how you can assist with their initiatives, please email brisdiosecretary@gmail.com

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MULOA workshop at the Auckland conference, with Beverley Perry bottom right (image courtesy of Mia Mia)

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MULOA members at their recent conference in Auckland (image courtesy of Mia Mia)

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Comfort teddy and knitted rug, hand-made by Mothers Union members for foster children (image courtesy of Mia Mia)

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Jennifer Murray lights a candle for victims of domestic violence at the Mothers Union 2018 AGM (image courtesy of Mia Mia)

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St Luke's Anglican Church, Toowoomba Mothers Union members prepare posies to distribute to isolated people during Carnival (image courtesy of Mia Mia)