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Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day?

Not everything is as it seems. For example, did you realize that “Mother’s Day” and the much older “Mothering Sunday” have separate origins?
Mothering Sunday During the sixteenth century, people would return to their “mother church”, the main church of the area, for a service to be held on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday. This was either the church where you were baptized, or the local parish church, or the cathedral. Anyone who did this was commonly said to have gone “a-mothering”.
In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families of ordinary folks could gather together, since on other days they were prevented by conflicting working hours. Children and young people who were “in service” (as household servants) were given a day off so they could visit their families (or, originally, to return to their “mother” church). The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place in the church or give to their mothers. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday secular tradition of giving gifts to mothers.
Mother’s Day This modern version really began in the United States. In 1914, inspired by Anna Jarvis’s efforts there, Constance Penwick-Smith, a vicar’s daughter from Nottinghamshire, created the Mothering Sunday Movement here in Britain, and in 1921 she wrote a book asking for the revival of the day. The success of this revival was through the influence of American and Canadian soldiers serving abroad during World War II.
Merged or confused? In Britain the traditions of Mothering Sunday were merged with the newly imported Mother’s Day customs, and came to be celebrated in secular society, and often now in churches. UK merchants, of course, saw the commercial opportunity in the special day, and have relentlessly promoted it. By the 1950s, it was celebrated across all the UK. The two celebrations of Mothering Sunday and Mother’s Day have now been mixed up, and many people think they are the same thing, but now you know better…

Fr Matthew (with acknowledgements to Wikipedia!)


Sometimes we say, “It’s impossible.” But Jesus says in Luke 18:27, “Things that are impossible for men are possible for God.”
Sometimes we say, “I’m too tired.” But Jesus says in Matt 11:28 “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.”

Sometimes we say, “Nobody really loves me.” But in John 3:16 we read that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
Sometimes we say, “I can’t go on.” But Jesus told Paul, “My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)

Sometimes we say, “I can’t do it.” But Paul wrote in Phil 4:13, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”
Sometimes we say, “I’m not able.” But Paul wrote in 2 Cor 9:8, “There is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works.”

Sometimes we say, “I can’t forgive myself.” But Paul wrote in Rom 8:1, “Those who are in Christ Jesus are not condemned, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Sometimes we say, “I can’t manage.” But Paul wrote in Phil 4:19, “God will fulfill all your needs in Christ Jesus as lavishly as only God can.”

Sometimes we say, “I’m afraid.” But in 2 Tim 1:7 we read, “God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity but the spirit of power and love and self-control.”
Sometimes we say, “I’m always worried and frustrated.” But Peter wrote in 1 Pet 5:7, “Unload all your worries onto God since he is looking after you.”

Sometimes we say, “I’m not smart enough.” But Paul wrote in 1 Cor 1:30 “God has made you members of Christ Jesus and he is our wisdom.”
Sometimes we say, “I feel all alone.” But in Heb 13:5 God says, “I will never fail or desert you.”