The Mother's Union, which celebrates its 140th anniversary this year (2016), is well known in the UK and Africa. Its founder, Mary Sumner, is remembered in the Anglican Church's Festival Calendar on August 9th. Being an American, and unfamiliar with Mary Sumner, I decided to do a little research and found the following quotations that reminded me of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20, 21:
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. . . . 20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. [ESV]
Mary Sumner's advice in the following excerpts is directed at mothers and assumes the father of the home is too busy working outside of the home to be involved overly much in the nurture and education of children. However, God's commandments to Moses in Deuteronomy are directed at fathers, as well, if not primarily.
Even so, Mary's advice is wise, biblical and worth recovering, especially at a time when God's role for fathers, mothers and the family are being redefined by a culture who does not know God and often rejects righteousness.
Message at Portsmouth 1885 (excerpts)
" Rich homes and poor homes — all alike — must be won for our God ! It is a call to every one of us to live in prayer, that His help, His blessing and His inspiration may rest upon our earnest efforts."
" Let us settle it in our hearts that the greatest work we can do for the nation is to strive to bring the Church into the Home; which means Christ Himself into hearts and homes; Christ must be in every home, if it is to be in any way a home of peace and love ....
" . . . . God's plans are better than our own, and He has ordained that the training-place for His human creatures should be the home: the training-place for parents as well as children ....
" . . . . Our task is to restore true family life — for it is God's own institution, and therefore a divine thing — and to convince all our members that there are these two Divine Institutions in the world — the Church and the Home. The Home is God's institution as truly as is the Church: let that be the truth that we proclaim ! "
Conference of November 1887 (excerpts on principles)
" The Principles upon which we would build our work are these: —
" That the prosperity of a nation springs from the family life of the homes.
" That family life is the greatest institution in the world for the formation of the character of children.
“ That the tone of family life depends in great measure upon the married life of the parents — their mutual love, loyalty and faithfulness the one to the other.
" That religion is the indispensable foundation of family life, and that the truths of the Christian faith should be taught definitely at home as well as at school.
" That parents are themselves responsible for the religious teaching of their children.
" That character is formed during the first ten years of life by the example and habits of Home.
" That example is stronger than precept, and parents there fore must be themselves what they wish their children to be.
" That the history of the world proves the divine power given by God to parents, and to Mothers especially, because children are placed in their arms from infancy, in a more intimate and closer relationship with the Mother than with the Father, and this moreover, during the time when character is formed.
" That the training of children is a profession.
" That it needs faith, love, patience, method, self-control, and some knowledge of the principles of character-training.
" That it is the duty of every Mother with her own lips to teach her child that he is God's child, consecrated body and soul in Holy Baptism to be our Lord Jesus Christ's soldier and servant unto his life's end.
" That every baptised child should be taught the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments .... and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul's health."
Excerpts from archive.org here.
Mary Sumner's Prayer
O Lord, fill us with thy Holy Spirit, that we may firmly believe in Jesus Christ, and love him with all our hearts. Wash our souls with his precious blood. Make us hate sin and to be holy in thought, word and deed. Help us to be faithful wives and loving mothers. Bless us and all who belong to the Mothers' Union; unite us in love and prayer and teach us to train our children for heaven. Pour out the Holy Spirit on our husbands and children. Make our homes, homes of peace and love and, may we so live on earth, that we may live with thee for ever in heaven; for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen
From: A biographical companion to Common Worship, by John H. Darch and Stuart K. Burns