books, reviews

Book Review: The Church, Who Needs It? We Do! – Yvonne Bennett and The Women of Mummies Republic

A group of mums in South London living in poverty come together to form a group to help each other.

They talk of their struggles on Universal credit and the ways in which a pioneer Methodist missionary has brought them together. Not all have a faith, but all believe in the power of prayer. Their struggles escalate as the pandemic lockdown comes into play.

They start a blog and use this to express their feelings. This book is their voice.

My thoughts:

This was a really interesting study looking at the role of the Church (encompassing all denominations) in modern life. The women who attend the Wednesday meetings of Mummies Republic are not all regular church goers but that doesn’t matter. The assistance, support and fellowship they receive there transcends those restrictions.

They find comfort and solace in prayer and their community – as well as practical help and advice as they navigate the ludicrous benefits system and then 2020’s first lockdown. Unable to meet in person they connect via WhatsApp and a blog they take turns contributing to.

While religious faith may be on a decline in the UK, the role the Church can play in providing essential services the government and wider society fail to, is often unrecognised and unsung. From credit unions to food banks, mental health support and even holidays, the Church is there to try to uplift and support its parishioners.

The pioneering work of this South London Church is vital to the lives of the Mummies Republic women, empowering them and supporting them during dark and difficult times. Many of them are single parents, some are survivors of domestic abuse, all of them are struggling.

This slim volume assesses the work being done and also gives voice to this community of women, in their own words, revealing their hopes and fears.

Powerful and moving, it should remind us that we can do more to support the people that are often overlooked and neglected. And that the church is often there (as are temples, mosques, synagogues and gurdwaras) to offer solace and practical support without fanfare.

I was kindly sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.