Working together to build God’s Kingdom – a message from Jill Cannings (Mothers’ Union Diocesan President)

As a lay minister and Mothers’ Union Diocesan President, I am a great believer in both lay and ordained working together to build God’s Kingdom. We may have different roles and responsibilities, but are all gifted by God to share the good news of salvation. We may think of it in terms of the great commission of making disciples (Matt 28:19), or in the prayer of our founder Mary Sumner where she wished to “touch lives for Christ”. Working and praying together in our churches and communities can be mutually supportive.

Sadly, many of our churches may no longer have an MU branch, and the only evidence of past activity may be the old banner in the church. However, in my role as Diocesan President, I am aware that across the diocese every possible support role in our churches is undertaken by MU members – lay ministers, church wardens, choir members, welcomers, intercessors, readers, servers, vergers, sacristans, brass cleaners, and in many other roles. I became starkly aware of this fact when, as a branch leader, I was struggling to find MU members to run our popular homemade produce stall at the Church Christmas bazaar. I then realised that MU members were involved in all other stalls.

Mothers’ Union can also fill our churches. My first engagement as Diocesan President was to speak at a Lady Day service. Although the service was held on a Tuesday, the church was full and every role including welcoming, presiding, preaching, serving, reading and interceding was undertaken by MU members. And, of course, after the service was a fabulous spread with tea and homemade cakes.

Many clergy are MU members. In my church we are blessed that the Rector and her husband are members, plus our curate and our youth worker. Together we can achieve so much more in ministry and mission.


For 2021 I have come up with an idea for raising funds for (and the profile of) the Mothers’ Union (and also for keeping fit). I’m going to walk the length and breadth of the diocese.

2021 will be my last year as Diocesan President and I initially hoped to be out and about visiting branches and churches, but of course many things may need to be virtual. Before the current lockdown, I joined family in a support bubble in Weyworth, and was also able to visit the golf course, so I’ve already done 150 kms (93 miles). I’ll keep walking for as long as the money comes in.

If you would like to sponsor me, please visit

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