The Mothering Sunday is a celebration of the Anglican Church from the early Church. It was originally a day to honour and give thanks to the Virgin Mary, also known as “Mother Mary”, for her agony as recorded in Luke 2:35. The Celebrations required people to visit their mother Church – the main Church or Cathedral in the family area. As Christianity spread through Europe in the 16th Century, the celebration increased and was included in the Church Calendar as Mothering Sunday; an Occasion to thank and appreciate all mothers as well as a family honoured reunion. It also became a celebration when children, especially the girls who had been away from home as domestic helps or apprentice had a day off to join their family and see their mothers.
The Mothering Sunday is celebrated in the Anglican Church every Fourth Sunday in Lent, which is also three Sundays before Easter. Since it is celebrated mid Lent, it is also known as Refreshing Sunday, where fasting could be eased for the day and people could enjoy a delicious meal together as family amidst the lent.
The Mothering Sunday does not have a fixed date, as it is linked to Easter season, which changes annually according to the Church Year Calendar.
Difference Between Mothering Sunday, Mother’s Day, Women’s World Day Of Prayer And International Women’s Day
Although the four celebrations centre on women and are internationally celebrated, they are different from one another.
• Mothering Sunday is celebrated by the Anglican Communion Worldwide on the fourth Sunday in Lent. The celebrations embrace the motherhood of Mary, the Church as the Mother of all and our Mothers in different homes.
• Mother’s Day is an American social celebration in honour of mothers, which started on 12th May, 1908 by Anna Jarvis. It is celebrated every second Sunday of May. It is not connected to the Mothering Sunday, which is a church event.
• Women’s World Day of Prayer is an ecumenical World Christian Women Prayer, which comes up every 1st Friday of March. It is meant for every Christian Woman Worldwide to participate.
• International Women’s Day – is a United Nations Day for the celebration of women all over the world, no matter one’s nationality, tribe, religion, race, etc.
Significance Of Mothering Sunday In The Anglican Church Today
• It is a day of honouring all married women in the Anglican Church.
• It is a day to show love, gratitude and appreciation to all Mothers through acts of kindness and giving.
• It is a day when all women/Mothers are expectant of receiving gifts and goodwill from their Husbands and Children.
• Mothering Sunday is the only Sunday women are given free hand to officiate in Sunday worship, taking charge of all the functions.
• One of the days the family takes the centre stage in worship and special prayers are offered on behalf of families.
• The less privileged and vulnerable members of the society are visited and given gift.
A Message For All Mothers At This Year’s Mothering Sunday
Mothers are called upon to be Lois and Eunice of our time (2Tim. 1:5; Act 16:1). Lois and Eunice were the mother and grandmother of Timothy. Apostle Paul met these two women while he was on one of his missionary journeys. He was impressed by their sincere faith in our Lord Jesus— a faith without hypocrisy or fake exaggeration. Despite living in Lystra, a gentile city, they were committed Christian and passed this faith to Timothy. Their lives had great influence on the young Timothy, which helped him to grow spiritually and became one to whom Paul could entrust the Church’s leadership.
As women and mothers, we have greatest influence to impact our present generation and generations to come. Our lives speak volumes and people around us learn a lot from them.
Let us be Lois and Eunice of our time to bring up godly children and grandchildren, the moral vices and evils of our present age notwithstanding.
Mrs. Angela Ndukuba, Provincial President, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)