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Outgoing Mothers' Union chief executive looks back on evolving ministry

Posted on: July 8, 2015 10:45 AM

[Mother’s Union] “All good things must come to an end” and never has a truer word been spoken than for Mothers’ Union Chief Executive, Reg Bailey CBE, who leaves the organisation after 17 faithful years.

The last 17 years have seen much change to the organisation; there was a re-branding exercise to update the organisation’s image, the introduction of the Church & Community Mobilisation process in overseas work, the creation of projects and programmes such as Away From It All holidays and Loving for Life, the creation of Mothers’ Union enterprises (MUe) and an increasing emphasis on individual fundraising to ensure financial stability for the charity.

A lot has been going on, but as Bailey points out “whilst there is a single family out there that needs to know about the love of our relational God, we still have work to do”. So whilst it is an end of an era, the organisation will continue to push forward and evolve.

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of his career with Mothers’ Union was the influential Bailey Review which he undertook on behalf of the UK government.

The Review looked at the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood and gave recommendations for industries going forward – many of which have now been successfully implemented. The Mothers’ Union will continue its advocacy for the cause, highlighted with the publishing of the Bye Buy Childhood 2015 Report in March.

Bailey has also overseen the increase of membership overseas, for example in places such as Tanzania where membership has doubled. However he admits his frustration at the lack of uptake in membership across the UK and Ireland. He says; “We are not simply a cosy group; our members are involved to be salt and light to the earth”.

One of his wishes for Mothers’ Union as he leaves is that membership becomes more confident in what they can achieve and as such is revitalised and energerised in the important work that they are carrying out in communities throughout the world.

When looking back on his time with Mothers’ Union, Bailey is very clear that it is the people he will remember and miss the most. At his last General Meeting at the end of June, he told the audience about a Mothers’ Union Member in Uganda, Jolly, who had adopted the nine children of her neighbours that had succumbed to AIDS:

“I asked her ‘why would you adopt them?’ ‘But why wouldn’t I’ she responded ‘I am a Christian’. And then she said something that will always remain with me as it chimes with everything that we stand for in Mothers’ Union; ‘I want to enable them to become complete men and women who can be blessings to the world in the way the live their lives”.

And so as Bailey takes his leave, Mothers’ Union [is] left [not only] with his legacy of all that he has achieved for the organisation but also with his challenge to turn faith into action - making a difference and supporting families throughout the world.