Mothers’ Union: What of the Future?

Commendations are appropriately directed towards the Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands for 120 years of ministry. Through the instrumentality of Mrs. Margaret Williams of the church in Kew Park, Westmoreland, Mary Sumners’ dream and vision materialised in this Diocese.

The establishment of a Mothers’ Union branch in Jamaica as far back as 1898 was an innovative concept that has had an indelible impact in the Diocese. According to Joan Gallos in the publication, Organization Development; “Supporting, developing and fully utilizing initiative and expertise are keys to an organization’s success.” This perspective cannot be overlooked in the current celebrations; and, in fact, should be ingrained in the culture of the Diocesan Mothers’ Union.

In moving forward, therefore, new ideas and practices aligned to the organisation’s goals must be accommodated if they have the potential to enhance its mission. Boldness, openness and the ability to cultivate a mind-set that promotes growth are essential. New ideas and new personnel, particularly in leadership positions, should be encouraged to make the Mothers’ Union more relevant and attractive to millennials.
The Mothers’ Union cannot allow itself to be locked in a context of nostalgia, or selective memory episodes. Rather, our celebration of this historic milestone should propel our membership to engage in century-appropriate strategies that will promote renewal and provide the anchors and pillars to support Mary Sumner’s dream and vision to transform family-life.

It is, therefore, timely for the Mothers’ Union to develop a viable and sustainable strategic plan in order to attract the generation younger than the present cohort of members whose average age range is over 50.
The Parenting programme has enjoyed success in some Deaneries, and it has tremendous potential for growth. However, there is no data to show that beneficiaries remain committed, connected and contribute to the life of the church. While there is no stipulation for them to become church members, this would help to increase the number of women of child-bearing age in our congregations, and also engage men who are involved in the programme. The latter would serve as models for young men and excellent sources of motivation for their daughters. Dr. Herbert Gayle, one of our prolific researchers, has repeatedly presented statistics which indicate that almost 80 per cent of girls who have cordial and positive relationships with their fathers are more likely to become self-actualized women. This finding validates the thinking that men should be actively involved in the strategic initiative to engage millennials as the Mothers’ Union marches into another century.

Contributed By:
Deaconess Dr. Elaine Cunningham
Former President, Mothers’ Union