Mothering Sunday

4th Sunday in Lent


church and verse for Mothering Sunday

Picture courtesy of

While there is a connection to Mother's Day and this date is not just Mothering Sunday but Mother's Day in the UK, our Mother's Day is not until May 13th . Believe it or not this is because New Zealand and many others decided to follow the USA, in setting the date for Mother's day. Because originally Mothering Sunday really had very little to do with Mother's.

The origins of Mothering Sunday are lost way back in the mists of British History, but from about the 17th Century it became a day that domestic servants, were allowed a day off to return to their Mother Church. Being the Church where they were baptised or christened. For many of them this did mean that on this day, they would get to see their family, and it was common for them to pick flowers on the way to give to their own mother's as a gift. It also used to be called Simnal Sunday, sfter the practice of baking simnel cakes to celebrate the reuniting of families during the austerity of Lent. and Simnal Cake came to be associated with this day. Because there is traditionally a relaxation of Lenten vows on this particular Sunday in celebration of the fellowship of family and church, the name Refreshment Sunday is sometimes used, although rarely today.

It is only in the 20th Century that the more commercial and secular Mother's Day emerged, and here in New Zealand as in the USA and many other places that is now celebrated on a different day. This came about because two women in the USA wanted there to be a day that mother's were honoured, for their nurture and care. Mothering Sunday being more for the mother Church. They campaigned and it was eventually established. But in the UK the two are still entwined. I think it is a nice connection, I appreciate being able to view the Church as a place that is nurturing and caring, as a mother, with God as the Father. That's what a Church should be.