On the fourth Sunday in Lent

Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent, and has done so since the Middle Ages. Revd Steve Foster of Fyling Hall’s local parish churchSt Stephen’s, Fylingdales joins us once again . . . this time to kindly shares his insight into this special day and invites you to join St Stephen’s Mothering Sunday service featuring Fyling Hall students, Freddie, Olivia and Tomas. Please visit their Facebook page at 10.00am on Sunday, 14th March.

On the fourth Sunday in Lent

Mothering Sunday is a day honouring mothers and mother churches, celebrated here in the UK and elsewhere in the English-speaking world on the fourth Sunday in Lent since the Middle Ages. Mothering Sunday coincides with Laetare Sunday, also called Mid-Lent Sunday or Refreshment Sunday, a day off from fasting halfway through the penitential season of Lent.

On Mothering Sunday, Christians visited their mother church—the church where they were baptised.  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  Girls in service often baked cakes or made other treats to take home with them.

Constance Adelaide Smith revived its modern observance here in the UK beginning in 1913 to honour Mother Church, ‘mothers of earthly homes’, Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mother Nature. It gained popularity in response to the American Mother’s Day which only honoured biological mothers.

In the USA they celebrate Mother’s Day which started 150 years ago when an American woman named Anna Jarvis organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, something she thought mother’s believed in doing. She called it “Mother’s Work Day.” 

After Anna Jarvis died, her daughter (also named Anna) wanted to honour all that her mother did.  Anna had heard her mother say that one day she hoped someone would make a special day just for mothers. So she worked hard and even talked to presidents and other leaders to try to create a special day just to honour them.  By 1914 (over 100 years ago) the American president Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognising Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

Strangely enough, Anna ended up disliking Mother’s day. She didn’t want the day to be all about the expensive gifts and fancy flowers but just a day to tell your mum that you love and appreciate her.