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100th anniversary of Mothering Sunday

Bernadette Kenny, Chief Executive of the Church of England Pensions Board, speaks of her own thanks for mothers

One hundred years after the campaign to re-establish Mothering Sunday was launched at Coddington in Nottinghamshire, the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, is calling for a celebration of thanksgiving for mothers and motherhood to mark the centenary.

Bishop Paul Butler said: "This diocese has a special connection with Mothering Sunday, going back to the initiative of Constance Penswick-Smith from one of our parishes who put the day on the national agenda again. Mothering is something we all need at times although it's something we can take for granted. This year I'm especially aware of all those children and young people who don't have mothers or even fathers and are without the care and love of a family. In Southwell and Nottingham we're asking parishes to focus on the work of Family Care - our local adoption and family support agency that gives practical help to children and young people. This special Mothering Sunday is an opportunity to think and pray for mothers and pray about how we can be a 'mother' to someone who desperately needs care and love."

The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham also urged people to celebrate mothering Sunday by posting online prayers at www.prayoneforme.org giving thanks for their mothers and remembering too those for whom the day is difficult due to bereavement or family breakdown. He was joined giving thanks by Bernadette Kenny, Chief Executive of the Church of England Pensions Board, who speaks of her own thanks for mothers in a special video message on the Church of England website, at www.churchofengland.org.

In 1913 Constance Penswick-Smith (1878-1938), the daughter of the vicar of Coddington, Nottinghamshire, caught the vision to celebrate Mothering Sunday. Later in 1921 Constance wrote a booklet asking for a full revival of Mothering Sunday, eventually founding The Society for the Observance of Mothering Sunday and spending more than 25 years promoting the celebration of the festival. Thanks mainly to Constance's efforts, Mothering Sunday - which has its roots in the pre-Reformation Church - has been widely observed and re-established across the Church of England, and celebrated in wider society.

The Revd David Anderton, the present day vicar of All Saints Coddington, is looking forward to a busy Mothering Sunday service: "Mothering Sunday is important in the life of the church and it is one of our most popular services - thanks to Constance, who is buried here in the churchyard. The choir of Coddington Church of England Primary School join us and mothers are given a Primula plant. The congregation then takes part in 'clipping the church', forming a ring around the building and, holding hands, embracing it. It's a wonderful celebration and I'm encouraging people to post their prayers for mothers online as we mark 100 years of Mothering Sundays."


Notes

The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham has composed a new prayer for Mothering Sunday, which has been posted at www.prayoneforme.org:

Mothering God who loves us passionately, we thank you for this love.
We thank you too for the love of mothers for their children everywhere.
Where being a mother is hard give wisdom and strength;
where it is a joy and delight give hearts of thankfulness.
For those for whom this day brings sadness because of the loss of a mother, or motherhood, bring comfort.
And may the church as mother show forth your love to all
We pray in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, who knew the care of his mother Mary
Amen

Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent - this year on 10th March.

The website www.prayoneforme.org is supported by church groups and prayer communities across the Church of England, who prayer the prayers posted throughout the year.

The Common Worship Service for Mothering Sunday can be found at: http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/newpatterns/sampleservicescontents/npw14.aspx