Mary Sumner Day

posted by: Joan Vine | on: Wednesday, 15 August 2018, 10:56

'Family Life' Given to me after 6years as MU Leader

'Family Life' Given to me after 6years as MU Leader

We celebrated the life and work of Mary Sumner on 11th August. Mary Sumner, who I believe inadvertently became the founder of the Mothers Union as it is today. Mary married and had three children, two daughters and a son and as she watched her own daughter’s responsibilities whilst rearing their children it prompted Mary into action. Being a clergyman’s wife meant that she was able to focus on the lives of those around her and decided to invite mothers from all the social classes around Old Alresford to meet in the Rectory. The first ever MU meeting in 1876 was quite small and a talk was given by her husband George encouraging mothers to give religious teaching and leadership to their children at home.

For the first decade or so the Mothers’ Union remained quite local even although a few other groups had started up around the country. Nevertheless in 1885, Mary spoke at a women’s meeting of the national Church Congress informing them of her ideas central to the Mothers’ Union which was for mothers to set a good example to her children and husband by keeping prayer central to the life of her family.

The idea was applauded and praised by the Bishop of Winchester, Harold Browne, and this encouraged many women to return to their homes and start up a Mothers’ Union group in their own parishes. The idea quickly spread across Britain and the Commonwealth and within a year Mothers’ Union had spread across four continents. Mary Sumner stayed actively involved with the Mother’s Union and lived to see her seemingly, simple idea become a worldwide organisation with millions of members. Mary died in 1921 and is buried outside Winchester Cathedral.

How did you celebrate Mary Sumner Day? We don’t have a MU group at St Mary’s in Broomfield, but a brief history of her life’s work was read to us at Morning Prayer. If you celebrated Mary Sumner’s life and work perhaps you would like to send me the details and a photo to add to the website. E:

To read more about Mary Sumner go to the top of this website and click on ‘History’

 Posted: 15 Aug 2018 | There are 0 comments

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