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Archbishop pays tribute to remarkable work of the Mothers' Union

Jane Williams, Cordelia Moyse and Margaret Sentamu at the Mothers' Union book launch

Tuesday 10th November 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has paid tribute to the work of the Mothers' Union, describing it as 'The most influential and widespread lay movement in the churches of the Communion, and probably among the most active lay groups in any Christian denomination.'

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and his wife, Jane Williams, have written a foreword for the book 'A History of the Mothers' Union 1876-2008: Women, Anglicanism and Globalisation', by Cordelia Moyse and held a book launch at Lambeth Palace last night.

The book charts the Mothers' Union from a parish women's meeting in 1876 to the present day where 'it has done an extraordinary job in keeping the congregations of the Church of England conscious of their international links and responsibilities.'

The Archbishop frequently speaks in support of Mothers' Union, and particularly for their work in Africa.  In the foreword for the book, the Archbishop and Mrs Williams said: 'In the ravaged environments of African states that have been through nightmare conflict, the MU offers what no other group can: the local, effective, liberating building of capacity and mutual support among women.'

The Mothers' Union has 3.6 million members in 78 countries worldwide, involved in a range of programmes covering literacy, development, trauma counselling, and family life issues. '[Mothers' Union] is manifestly the most effective deliverer of education in primary health care, post-trauma counselling, micro-finance, education and the general advancement and empowerment of women in societies of the global south.'

'Given that it is generally recognised that women are central to the development of their communities and societies, this is a monumental contribution to the Millennium Development Goals – and one that is still barely understood or acknowledged by many in the 'development' world, governments and secular NGOs alike.'

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