Written by Liz Ogborne, Mullers Museum Coordinator
Mullers have been supporting families in need for almost 200 years. Our mission today is the same as our founder George Müller, to strengthen the Church to meet the need of the vulnerable. Müller was a Prussian evangelist who, in the 1830s, moved to Bristol, where the charity is still based. He and his wife Mary arrived just as the first of three cholera outbreaks struck and, with hundreds of children orphaned and destitute, wanted to do something to help. They started by renting one house for 30 orphan girls in the city centre and ended up, 35 years later, having opened 5 huge orphan homes, housing and educating 2050 children at one time – a total of 10,000 children during his lifetime. Müller had no income of his own. Each time he felt led by God to open a new orphan home, he announced his plans and then prayed. Prayer and trusting in God for all his own and the orphans’ needs characterised his life. As the work grew, people from all over the world donated. In his lifetime he received gifts of money and goods totalling £100m in today’s terms.
In 1834 Müller and his close friend, Henry Craik set up the Scriptural Knowledge Institute (SKI) to support missionaries at home and abroad. Its aim was to provide a cheap source of Bibles and tracts, and to open and support Day and Sunday Schools for adults and children. Müller’s values are still evident in our work. We are passionate about strengthening the Church to meet the needs of the vulnerable.
Today, SKI supports many partners - individuals and organisations - in this country and around the world who are working to bring hope and healing to vulnerable children, families and widows. On average, SKI sends around £95,000 every month in gifts to around 160 individuals and organisations, facilitated by unsolicited gifts from some 1,300 supporters.
We formally partner with the South West team of ‘Home for Good,’ a Christian charity engaged in the care system that seeks to provide a home for every child that needs one. We also administrate the Bristol City Churches Fund, which at this time of coronavirus is focussed on helping feed hungry children and families of the city, as well as preparing for the long-term effect lockdown will have on food poverty.
Although the times have changed, our purpose at Müllers has not. We continue to focus on meeting the needs of vulnerable children and families around the world as we remember the words of Müller himself, “Our primary aim…is to show that God is faithful still and hears prayers still.”