Mothers' Union. Church of England women's organization, founded in 1876 by Mary Sumner, wife of a Hampshire rector, originally as a parochial body aiming to uphold ‘the sanctity of marriage’ and to nurture young families in a Christian environment. Having developed into a diocesan organization by 1885, it spread rapidly, launched its own journal, formed a central council (1895), and was granted a royal charter (1926); the first overseas branch was founded in 1897. It now operates throughout the Anglican Communion, admitting spinsters, men, and divorcees, and continues to promote stable family life, with active involvement in many social concerns.
A. S. Hargreaves
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