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Building Hope and Confidence

Mothers' Union is an international Christian charity that seeks to support families of all faiths and none through practical outreach, prayer and advocating family friendly policies within both government and public life. By supporting marriage and family life, especially through times of adversity, we tackle the most urgent needs challenging relationships and communities.
Our members are not all mothers, or even all women, but are single, married, parents, grandparents or young adults who are just beginning to express their social conscience. For all 4.1 million members in 83 countries what Mothers' Union provides is a network through which they can serve Christ in their own community through prayer, financial support and actively working at grassroots level in programmes that meet local needs.


Mothers'  Union Annual Gathering (formally the General Meeting) 2020 will no  longer be taking place on 26th September. We can confirm that it has  been rescheduled for the same venue, the ICC in Belfast, on 25th September 2021. There will be a thanksgiving service taking place in the Cathedral on Friday 24th September 2021.
An updated information pack will be available towards the end of this year.


Click on the image to access
Indoor Member Reflection for November

Click on the image below to access the
Autumn Diocesan Indoor Member Letter

Shopping online?
A quick reminder that Amazon
will donate 0.5% to Mothers’ Union if you shop through
smile.amazon.co.uk and select Mothers’ Union
as your preferred charity to support.

If you don’t shop at Amazon but shop at M & S, Argos, and Next etc.,
you can also support Mothers’ Union on your next shop.

The brilliant Axel Scheffler has produced a book about Covid-19 Coronavirus just for children

Do  you know of somebody who is cocooning or caring for someone vulnerable,  Age Action and the Irish Red Cross are giving grants to people in the  Republic of Ireland to help ease the problems faced by those who have to  social distance. Spread the word

The Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland has put together a super comprehensive booklet providing advice for people who have experienced a bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Two other booklets are also available in this series – one dealing with practicalities and the other a children’s story helping children to cope with the death of a loved one.

Click on the symbol below to access our BLOG.
This contains all our latest news.

The Administrative Officer
The Mothers' Union Office
St. Michan's Church
Church Street
Dublin 7

Tel: +353 1 873 5075

FOOD,  a basic necessity for all of us and during the current crisis we all  want to do our best to ensure we provide for our families.
Unfortunately,  not all families can afford to stock up in case of emergency, in fact  for 1000s of families across Ireland, north and south, daily food  poverty is a harsh reality.
Breakfast clubs and free school meals, where they are available, are a lifeline for many of these families.
However  with the closure of schools and colleges in the South and the  likelihood that Northern Ireland will follow suit these families have  been plunged into a totally unexpected crisis. They need our help now  more than ever!
How can you help?  Keep donating to community food banks; help local initiatives in your  area to distribute food packages to those in need or if you can’t find  such an initiative in your area maybe consider starting one!
When we all find ourselves facing the unknown, the smallest act of kindness can mean the world to someone in despair.
Click on the image of the prayer diary to bring you to the web page for
The Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

Prayer for December

We pray for all those whom the celebration of Christmas is difficult;
those who are ill, at home or in hospital,for the bereaved, the lost and lonely.
May they know the light of the Christ in their lives at this time.
Almighty God,who wonderfully created us in your own image
and yet wonderfully restored us through your Son Jesus Christ:
Grant that, as He came to share in our humanity,
so we may share in His divinity;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen

Commissioning of June Butler

All-Ireland President Mothers' Union
Letter from June ~ All-Ireland President ~ December 2020

Dear Members and Friends of Mothers’ Union
We begin this Advent Season in a state of uncertainty and perhaps unease. That is the situation in which we have found ourselves since March 2020 and it is likely to continue for many months to come. However, in our own lives, and in the world of Mothers’ Union, we have learned new ways to cope in this Covid world……we have had to become more flexible, think about everyday matters in different ways, plan carefully rather than act instinctively,  often adapt to new technology and, most importantly of all,  we have learned to give more consideration to others and to count our many, many blessings. In every aspect of our lives we have faced upset and concern, but we have tried to provide comfort to others in loneliness, despair and loss - and sometimes we too have received such comfort and support from others.

However, as we move into Advent, we think about the hope which came to our world at Christmas with the birth of Jesus. This reflects the hope which has filtered to us all in recent weeks with the possibility of a vaccination to counter coronavirus. It also mirrors the theme for Mothers’ Union in 2021 - we will be rebuilding our hope and confidence in every aspect of our lives.

Within Mothers’ Union in Ireland in recent days we have been concentrating on our “16 days” campaign to highlight gender based violence  and  our  special Prayer Diary, including bible readings and reflections,  has been circulated among members and clergy and has been widely used at services and diocesan “on line” events. Our thanks to everyone seeking to highlight the many types of abuse which are perpetrated, to those who are actively supporting the victims of abuse and to all who have kindly donated money and goods to make their lives more tolerable. I also chair the central MU Advisory Committee on Policy and Advocacy and my hope for 2021 is to make significant progress - worldwide - towards campaigning against GBV on 365 days each year rather than our current focus on 16 days.

This Christmas season will be very different but we have to think positively: few of us may be able to attend services in church but we will be able to join many more  services on line; some may not be able to be at their normal family celebrations but the love which permeates their family will not be diminished; some in our communities may feel lonely or distressed but we should all make an effort to think about who might be feeling this way and do something - however small - to bring some comfort into their lives.
This is the season of hope and God gave us all hope through the birth of His son, Jesus in whom we must put our trust for the future -  not only for ourselves and our families, but for all communities and for Mothers’ Union to be able to survive and to thrive after such a turbulent year in 2020.
My prayer for everyone is that we may all be prepared for the future as well as for Christmas (this is the theme  of the reflection below, kindly prepared for us by the Primate)  that that we all may be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the Kings, the peace of the Christ Child and the hope which he brought to this world.
With love and every good wish for a blessed Christmas and for health and happiness in 2021.
The reflection below has been prepared for Mothers’ Union in Ireland by the Primate, The Most Reverend John McDowell. He has very kindly also recorded this for us and it can be viewed below on our Home Page.

 MU Advent Reflection 2020

Advent is celebrated one way and another in parishes throughout Ireland. The short prayers which usually accompany the lighting of the Advent candles and the Collects of the four Sundays certainly combine to mark the season with some of the most memorable words which our liturgies can offer.

And of course the Fourth Sunday has a particular emphasis on the role of Mary who the Father “prepared" to be the mother of his son. I can’t help thinking that must have been a fearful preparation of joy with much sorrow.

Advent has always had those notes of both preparation and watching associated with it. As well as the preparation of Mary, there is a special emphasis on the ministry of that mysterious itinerant, John the Baptist, preparing the way of the Lord in his own manner; calling people and equipping them to have a change of heart. To take stock of the direction in which their lives and the direction the communities they belonged to are heading. And to turn around. To repent. Just as the Father had prepared Mary’s heart by the fierce trial of his love.

So, what will you and I be preparing for during Advent? And what will we be watching out for?

Almost certainly we will be preparing to celebrate Christmas much more simply that usual. Fewer people in our homes and around the dinner table. Maybe even fewer presents. And watching maybe for a son or daughter or a grandson or granddaughter coming home from university or from where they live in Great Britain or further afield. Or watching an elderly mother or father, a little unsure of what’s for the best..to see them often or to see them less often.

And as we watch and prepare perhaps we’ll be able to see what, in the middle of all this, God is preparing us for. I hope I don’t sound too self sure when I say, I think I know the answer to that question.

He is preparing you for exactly the same thing that he used the prophets to call Israel to prepare for. He is preparing you, and asking you to watch out for the same thing that he inspired the Wisdom writers to prepare sensitive hearts for. He is preparing you in exactly the same way he prepared Mary and the way he called John the Baptist to make a clear path through the wilderness of the world and the desert of their hearts.

He is preparing you to fulfil the task of rebuilding the hope and confidence of the families, the parishes and the communities in which you live and witness.

He is preparing you to receive his Son.  

+John Armagh

Click on the image above to find more information
about this initiative
(The Scheme is available for key workers in the United Kingdom
and Ireland)

Click on the image above to download a poster for
The Mothers' Union Virtual Service
Nine Lessons & Carols

Click on the image above to access
Sheran Harper's Indoor Member Christmas Letter

The Video features "An Advent Reflection"
The Archbishop of Armagh and  
Primate of All Ireland
The Most Reverend John McDowell
The Big Give

I hope by now that all our members will have received the new Annual Prayer Diary and with it some information about this year’s Christmas Appeal for an excellent literacy project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is wonderful that this year Mother’s Union has been accepted as a partner by The Big Give, which through monies already pledged will be able to double our on-line giving during the period from 1st until 8th December.

The Appeal letter tells us how our generosity can make a significant difference to the lives of the women of DRC not only by educating them but consequently educating their communities and combating gender inequality and also gender-based violence(GBV)

What you may not know, is that it is the generosity of Mothers’ Union in Ireland which has made this entire appeal possible.  We have held over “Mums in May” contributions since 2018 - €13,000 had been allocated to DRC to support a project on GBV but the  MU infrastructure there at that time was erratic and we were advised by the central charity that funds should and would not be forwarded. However, you will see from Marte’s letter with the appeal that things have improved considerably in DRC and that some education programmes have now commenced. However, many more are needed.

The All Ireland  MU Trustees recently agreed to release our “ring-fenced”  MIM donation  to this project and it is great that by pledging it though The Big Give that it has already been doubled by another trust fund. The aim is to double the funds now held to £52,000 through this week’s appeal to support the DRC project.  So, if you are able, I would ask you please  to consider giving - either on line or by the using the freepost envelope -  to this wonderful project which has been in hearts of Mothers’ Union members in Ireland for a number of years. In this way, we can demonstrate our Christian care and concern for the women of DRC.

Thank you so much


The Big Give
Christmas Challenge

To donate and read more about the "Big Give" in conjunction with Mothers' Union, and the projects that will be supported through it, click on the picture above.

All money donated through the "Big Give" website between noon 1st and noon 8th December will be doubled and will be used to finance MU projects in DR Congo.
ANNUAL GATHERNG 2020 ~ Building Hope and Confidence in a Covid World

The Annual Gathering (Building Hope and Confidence in a Covid World) which took place virtually in October is still available to view on the Mothers' Union You Tube Channel. Click on the image to bring you to this site.

Begins on Wednesday, November 12th 2020

Please follow his progress on the website as he travels around the diocese and back over the past 150 years
Donations to Bishops’ Appeal  literacy projects in the developing world would be much appreciated from  today until mid-December via

The DISESTABLISHMENT 150 VIRTUAL TOUR by the Right Reverend Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory will take place between November 12th and December 12th.

Originally planned as a road trip round the diocese thebishop will, due to lockdown, instead provide an online reflection about one year in each the past 150 as he ‘visits’ each of the 150 churches in his diocese over a period of 15 non-consecutive days.

All funds raised will go to Bishops’ Appeal literacy projects in the developing world in association with Mothers’ Union and Feed the Minds.

“Although my peregrination plans are now largely virtual, they can, perhaps, in some way warm our hearts as we prepare for a rather strange Christmas,” Bishop Burrows says.

“This ‘virtual’ road run also makes a measure of historical sense as the years between 1870 and 2020 are now bookended by two crises which shook the Church of Ireland and the society in which it is set  …Disestablishment and Covid-19. Both tested the resourcefulness of the church; both involved great faith and generosity to allow the church to travel safely through a human, pastoral and economic crisis.

The audio talks will be available on the diocesan website cashel.anglican.org and on the Facebook page at the time originally scheduled for Bishop Burrows’ arrival at each particular church, providing a cumulative chronicle of his tour.

Click on the poster to download and
read more information
Rebuilding Hope and Confidence
Living with Covid-19
Zoom Breakfast ~ Saturday 6th February 2021

The proposed "Women's Getaway" which was planned for 5th - 6th February 2021 in the Springfield Hotel in Leixlip has been cancelled due to ongoing concerns as to how it can be safely organised with the ongoing restrictions to try and stem the spread of Covid-19. The organising committee instead has planned a "Zoom Breakfast" for Saturday 6th February. To register for this event email:

Please register before Friday 15th January 2021

A poster is available to download with details of the event and information about the key speakers..

The planned schedule for the morning is as follows:
  • 10.00a.m. - 10.15a.m. ~ Welcome
  • 10.15a.m. - 10.45a.m. ~ Speaker - Lydia Monds
  • 10.45a.m. - 11.00a.m. ~ Activity
  • 11.00a.m - 11.15a.m. ~ Comfort Break
  • 11.15a.m. - 11.45a.m. ~ Speaker - Karen Grey
  • 12.00p.m. - 12.30p.m. ~ Midday Prayers including Annabelle Hayes Celebration

I walk unyielding pavements by the roads
past nature clipped, pruned, mown, confined
by hedges, fences, walls and wire
past soaring trees with tarmac round their roots
their seeds adrift on stony ground.

I think about a dark brown path
through leafy gaps in beech and thorn
soft underfoot
that leads me up the hill through lush wild woods
the brackish ponds
the smell of green all round
the sun that spotlights curling ferns
and then legs aching
breathing short
the top is reached,
the fallen tree its roots exposed,
the bench nearby
and there
the open country stretched away
and Strangford gleaming in the mist-filled light.
A car goes roaring past too fast
exhaust fumes linger, air is stale
I turn for home on dusty paths.

Valerie Reilly, Belfast Cathedral MU ~ Connor

All-Ireland Mothers’ Union
Poetry Competition Results

Thank you to all those who entered the Poetry Competition and congratulations and very well done to all of the prize winners. A special word of thanks to Jacqui Armstrong, who coordinated the competition, and to the judge, Averil Meehan, who is a published poet  

Averil had the following to say about the winning poems:

"Blue Hands is a very moving poem that had me in tears when I read it first, and remained as powerful on each re-read. Dislocation is an excellent poem, does not mention COVID, yet subtly demonstrates it, hinting, with the beautiful language choices, the context of this un-named menace. Both Blue Hands and Dislocation deserve to be winners".
 Blue Hands
Olive Thorpe, New Ross /Fethard-on-Sea MU, Cashel, Ferns & Ossory
Valerie Reilly, Belfast Cathedral MU, Connor

If you have missed reading all of the poems that were highly commended or commended please click on the image below to see all of the poems.

               BLUE HANDS

She stood beside the bed – blue from head to toe;
Her wide, brown eyes peeping out from the blue
Swimming in glistening tears that dropped silently on
blue gloved hands, holding feeble hands of love.
She knew it would be the last time her hands were held;
She knew it would be the last time to hold these hands;
Where did all the time go to – why was she always so busy?
Why were we always so busy?  always trying to catch up
Catch up on what?
Never did a hand feel so good and never did it feel so bad;
She closed her eyes, a small smile appeared on her wrinkled face
Brown eyes wept quietly, while the blue hand
gently touched the face of love one last time.

Olive Thorpe, New Ross /Fethard-on-Sea MU  
Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

             Painting by Nadia Corridan
                  (by kind permission)
Mothers' Union during Lockdown

All Mothers' Union meetings and services have had to be put on hold due to the restrictions imposed on movements with Covid-19. Mothers' Union members and Branches , however, have not been idle and many have been busy sewing scrubs and masks, organising food parcels and finding new inovative ways of keeping in touch with each other and helping those in isolation.
Dioceses have held zoom meetings, recorded festival services and many Branches have used various forms of technology and media to keep in touch with members.
Click on the image to read all about an initiative in which Down & Dromore was involved ~ Mini Bootcamp and Lunch Giveaway in Cregagh

https://www.mothersunion.org/resources-support-us-challenging-times ~ has resources for use during these challenging times
Mini Bootcamp and Lunch Giveaway in Cregagh

The Irish Hospice Foundation Bereavement Support Line is a national freephone service
1800 80 70 77
It is available from 10am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.
Many people have experienced and will experience the death of someone they love during the COVID-19 pandemic. It may have been a COVID-related death or a death from other causes. People may also be finding a previous bereavement more difficult at this time. While we may be seeing reductions in the number of deaths connected to COVID-19, we know that people’s pain and grief does not diminish as quickly. In the face of such loss and trauma, the Irish Hospice Foundation Bereavement Support Line, in partnership with the HSE, has been launched to provide connection, comfort and support in these exceptional times. COVID-19 restrictions have changed the traditional ways we mark our grief. For the moment, it is not possible to come together as we did traditionally, resulting in additional challenges for those who are bereaved.

Click on the images to download a poster and information sheet & leaflet:

Canon Robert Deane, MU All-Ireland Chaplain ~ November 2020

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
For all who have contracted coronavirus, we pray for care and healing.
For those who are particularly vulnerable, we pray for safety and protection.
For all who experience fear or anxiety, we pray for peace of mind and spirit.
For affected families who are facing difficult decisions between food on the table or public safety, we pray for policies that recognize their plight.
For those who do not have adequate health insurance, we pray that no family will face financial burdens alone.
For those who are afraid to access care due to immigration status, we pray for recognition of the God-given dignity of all.
For our brothers and sisters around the world, we pray for shared solidarity.
For public officials and decisionmakers, we pray for wisdom and guidance.
During this time may your Church be a sign of hope, comfort and love to all;
grant peace; grant comfort; grant healing.
So be with us, Lord. Amen.

Heavenly Father,
we turn to you in time of need.
We come to you in weakness. We come to you in fear.
We come to you in trust, for you alone are our hope,
and we place before you the disease present in our world.
Bring wisdom to doctors.
Give understanding to scientists.
Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity.
Bring healing to those who are ill.
Protect those who are most at risk.
Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one.
Welcome those who have died into your eternal home.
Stabilize our communities. Unite us in our compassion.
Remove all fear from our hearts and fill us with confidence in Your care.
We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Mothers’ Union Prayer

Loving Lord,
We thank you for your love so freely given to us all.
We pray for families around the world.
Bless the work of the Mothers' Union
as we seek to share your love
through the encouragement, strengthening and support of marriage and family life.
Empowered by your Spirit, may we be united in prayer and worship,
and in love and service reach out as your hands across the world.
In Jesus' name.

Portrait of
Mary Sumner

The Mary Sumner Prayer

Written in 1876 by Mothers' Union founder, Mary Sumner

All this day, O Lord,
let me touch as many lives as possible for thee;
and every life I touch, do thou by thy spirit quicken,
whether through the word I speak,
the prayer I breathe,
or the life I live.
Reference and administrative information

Republic of Ireland:
Mothers’ Union in Ireland is recognised as a Charity by the Revenue commissioners, 5161.
Registered charity number- 20007331 (Charities Regulatory Authority).

Northern Ireland:
Not registered with The Charity Commission NI as a single entity.
Instead individual diocese have been registered separately.
Mothers’ Union All-Ireland

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