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Mission Focus for January

2019 Theme: Listen, observe, act – in step with God

2019 is a year of new beginnings for Mothers’ Union and sees the coming together of our global conversations (MULOA, Mothers’ Union Listen Observe Act) to prayerfully inform our way forward as a movement. As we gain clarity about our God-given purpose and direction in both local and global context we will be energised and inspired for what lies ahead. As the future unfolds we will continue to listen and observe in order to act with insight and integrity; neither running ahead nor lagging behind, but always in step with God.
Across the world, in 84 countries, Mothers’ Union members respond daily to the immediate and pressing needs of hundreds of thousands of people in their communities.  Our four million members are driven by their Christian faith to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable people around them, regardless of their religion, politics or backgrounds.
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Members in the UK are providing English classes for women in the community who do not have English as their first language. In the Diocese of Chelmsford, for example, members from the cathedral provide English lessons and much more! The project which is called “English For Women”, was initially set up for wives of British Army translators from Afghanistan in 2015. Thanks to members’ putting their faith in action, there are now almost 100 women of 20 different nationalities who attend free informal English classes three times a week. This is a women only safe space where they relax, make friends, learn from each other and also have English classes - one of many practical skills they learn together.
By drawing on our strengths of listening and working within the community, we help communities find their own long-term solutions.  This is achieved through a range of transformational programmes such as Mothers’ Union’s Church and Community Mobilisation Process (CCMP). Mothers’ Union in Rwanda set up a savings and credit project across the entire country, training more than 20,250 disadvantaged people in the communities. They formed 889 community managed Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA’s) where members save together and offer one another small loans to start micro businesses. A major positive outcome of this programme is that 94% of female members reported an improvement in their family relationships over the last year as they gained increased access to and control over financial resources.
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We believe that practical faith in action needs to go hand-in-hand with advocating for change. Sadly, we know that our members across the world have either experienced or witnessed gender based violence in different ways – whether in the intimacy of a personal relationship or as a result of violent conflict. Therefore, campaigning and advocating for change on a local, national and international level is crucial.
At the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York we advocated for Women’s Economic Empowerment as a means to reduce conflict and end gender based violence.
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In Britain, the “Souls of our Shoes” project has been exhibiting over 100 pairs of shoes in schools and prisons. Each pair telling the story of someone who has managed to walk away from abuse. Its aim is to raise awareness of domestic violence. People see for themselves the impact that it has on the lives of those it affects.
The Ashtead Branch would like to thank the church for its continued support as a mission partner in 2019.
We only have space to provide a snapshot of the types of activities carried out by MU globally. Locally, our branch is one of the largest in the diocese.  Our members are active in prisons, schools, hospitals and most importantly prayer. There is a Wave Of Prayer at noon each day that stretches across the world. It’s it amazing that MU members are praying somewhere around the world all day long!

We ask that you join us in our annual theme prayer for 2019:

We walk forward together with the compassion of Christ;
neither running ahead nor lagging behind,
but always in step with God. 

The Ashtead branch meets at 10am on the 4th Thursday of each month at SGCC. Further information is available from Carol Kester, 276711.