This is an online version of my column for the 22 March 2023 edition of the Billericay & Wickford Gazette.

Mother’s Day was celebrated on Sunday 19 March 2023. It was a day of mixed emotions and meant something different to each of us. For some it was a day of celebration and for others it was a day of sadness as we said a quiet prayer of thanksgiving for those mums we have loved and lost.

But we learn a great deal from our Mother’s, don’t we?  For example:

  • They taught us religion: “You’d better pray that I can get that stain out of the carpet.”
  • They taught us the science of osmosis: “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”
  • They taught us about hypocrisy: “I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate.”
  • They taught us about the weather: “It looks like a tornado just went through your bedroom.”
  • They taught us to plan ahead: “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
  • They taught us: “Because I said so, that’s why.”
  • They taught us about behaviour modification: “Stop acting like your father!”

But do you know how Mothers Day began?  Mothering Sunday, as it officially known, began, not as some people think, as a celebration of Mary the mother of Jesus by the early church, but in the 1600’s. At the time, Christianity was the fastest growing faith in Europe, and it was a day when servants, apprentices, farm labourers, girls in service and those who lived at the houses of their employers, were given a special day off to return home to their ‘mother church’. They believed the spiritual connection from doing this would sustain their faith for the year to come.

An interesting and popular ceremony called ‘church clipping’ took place on Mothering Sunday when people would express their love for their ‘mother’ church by forming a circle and walking round the building holding hands and then tightly gripping the church building or pews as an expression of coming home.

Mothering Sunday always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It was deliberately introduced in the middle of the Lent so that families could have a break from their Lenten fast and share a celebratory meal with those returning home.

During the early part of the 20th Century, as English culture began to be influenced by American culture, we took on their traditional Mother’s Day celebration and, following the Second World War, blended Mothering Sunday with the Mother’s Day celebration when people began honouring their mothers instead of the church – although it still continues to be celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Of course, honouring our mothers isn’t reserved just for Mother’s Day. Be sure to continue to show your love and appreciation – not just for what they have done but for who they are. Here’s a prayer you might want to say:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for our Mothers. We remember today their loving care and their ceaseless love. May we show them by our gifts, our words and our actions that we love them and care about them too.  May they know your continued blessing on their lives. Amen.

It’s never too late to return to your ‘mother church!’ I’m sure many of the church of your Baptism, Childhood or Wedding would love to see you! I’m sure a warm welcome awaits!

May the Lord bless you and keep you and may your mums know the special place they hold in your hearts.


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