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Mothers' Union -- Prince Edward Island Chapter
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The Mothers’ Union was founded in England in 1876 by Mary Sumner, who wanted to create an organization for women that built a network of rich and poor to support mothers to raise their children in Christian faith. By 1909, the Mothers’ Union had become the largest voluntary women’s organization in Britain. In 1952, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted her royal patronage to the Mothers’ Union. In 1996, some 125 members of the Mothers’ Union became priests in the Church of England, following the Synod’s approval of the ordination of women.
The Prince Edward Island chapter of the Mothers’ Union was formed in March 1982. Among the activities undertaken by the local group included: hosting pancake breakfasts on the first day of Sunday School in early September; baking simnel cakes (a form of fruitcake) as part of Mothering Sunday; participating in the annual Christmas pageant; stitching needlepoint covers for church kneelers; organizing “Winter Games” events (evening gatherings of parishioners and others to play card games and board games in the church hall in winter); and holdings prayer sessions and meetings for members. The Mothers’ Union also provided support for refugees and newcomers to the Island and created a “link letters” activity comparable to “pen pals”. An Island-wide renewal meeting was held in November 1988. A major project for the Prince Edward Island chapter was the creation of a Mothers’ Union banner, which was unveiled on 24 May 1992. The banner still hangs in the church, as of 2020. Mothers’ Union activities began to decline as the Binney Group and Inglis Group became more active, eventually ceasing operations around 1995.
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Information about the Mothers' Union in the United Kingdom can be found on the Mothers’ Union official website (https://www.mothersunion.org/). Information about the Prince Edward Island chapter is drawn from analysis of the archives along with input from former Mothers' Union member Cindy Annett, who met with St. Peter's Cathedral Church archives representatives on 5 December 2019 to review the archives and artifacts and provide contextual and background information.