THE DIOCESE OF THE NORTH EASTERN CARIBBEAN AND ARUBA (NECA) MOTHERS’ UNION
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Subject: Thy Kingdom Come Dear Sisters in the Province In my Provincial
Provincial President’s Message for Provincial Week – West Indies 30th April to 6th May 2017 Theme: “Faith in Action”
Provincial President’s Message for Provincial Week – West Indies 30th April to
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The Mothers’ Union
Mothers’ Union is an international Christian charity that seeks to support families worldwide. Its members are not all mothers or even all women, as there are many parents, men, widows, singles and grandparents involved in its work. Its main aim is to support monogamous marriage and family life, especially through times of adversity.
The organisation was founded by Mary Sumner in 1876 in the Church of England parish of Old Alresford, near Winchester, where her husband was rector. She was inspired to start the movement after the birth of her first grandchild. Remembering her own difficulties when she was first a mother, Mary Sumner wanted to bring mothers of all social classes together to provide support for one another and to be trained in motherhood, something which she saw as a vocation.
In 1885, Ernest Roland Wilberforce, the first Bishop of Newcastle, was preparing to address churchgoing women in the Portsmouth Church Congress. Finding he had nothing relevant to say to churchwomen, he contacted Mary Sumner and asked her to speak to the conference in his stead. Although she was reluctant and beset by nervousness, she addressed the women passionately about the power of mothers to change the nation for the better. A number of the women present were encouraged to return to their parishes to set up similar women’s meetings, and the Bishop of Winchester, who presided over the congress, declared that the Mothers’ Union become a diocesan organisation. The growth of the movement beyond the boundary of the Diocese of Winchester was due to the emphasis in Victorian British society on morality and contending with social ills as well as the growth in Anglican mission throughout the British Empire.
Mary Sumner’s Mothers’ Union set up branches throughout the British Empire, beginning in New Zealand, then Canada and India. She lived to lead the Mothers’ Union to act in rebuilding the heart of Britain after the First World War, and saw the first Mothers’ Union Conference of Overseas Workers in 1920.
The Provincial Council of the Mothers’ Union in The Province of the West Indies
The Provincial Council of the Mothers’ Union in the West Indies was established at a meeting called by the Archbishop of the West Indies, His Grace, Archbishop Orland Lindsay on September 4, 1992 in Antigua. It was at this meeting that the Constitution, which was drawn up on the basis of proposals coming out of several meetings of representatives from the Dioceses in the West Indies, was ratified and signed by Archbishop Lindsay and those attending the meeting.
The idea of a Provincial Council was born as far back as 1970 in Barbados at the first meeting of representatives of seven Dioceses of the Province. However, it was not until 1986 that a Steering Committee, comprising members from seven dioceses of the Province, met and later, in 1987, drafted a Constitution with the help of the then Mothers’ Union Central Secretary, Mrs. Margaret Chapman.
In 1991, the Central President, Mrs. Pat Harris, and representatives from other dioceses were invited to share in the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Mothers’ Union of Trinidad and Tobago. We took the opportunity to review and modify the draft constitution at an informal meeting chaired by Mrs. Harris. On September 5th, 1992, at elections conducted by His Grace Archbishop Lindsay, the first Executive was elected and the Provincial Council was established with His Grace the Archbishop as Patron.
The Mothers’ Union in the Province of the West Indies continues to make progress, as we face the many challenges and changes in family life. The Dioceses are working assiduously in trying to alleviate the many ills in our society, through their various ministries.
We maintain our link with Many Sumner House with the Annual Visits and meetings of the Central Council which are attended by our President, and by our contacts with the various departments.
Our Dioceses maintain their links with each other and others Worldwide.