Follow-up ideas to encourage baptism families on Mothering Sunday
Cards and gifts go on sale for Mother’s Day well in advance. Hotels, restaurants and cafes promote their special menus. The mood is one of celebrating and treating generations of mothers, but the day itself can bring a mix of emotions. Whether it’s joyful, complicated or filled with sadness, Mother’s Day – and getting ready for it – is a big day for families, so get in touch to let them know the local church is there for them in good times and difficult times. Here are some ideas to help.
Involving families before Mothering Sunday
- What to call it? The church calls the day Mothering Sunday but almost everywhere else it will say Mother’s Day. Think about using both terms, but perhaps use Mothering Sunday for a service or space that is about remembering, loss and difficulty, keeping Mother’s Day for the things that involve treating and thanking Mum. Don’t forget those who may not be our actual Mum but who do ‘mum’ things!
- In the weeks leading up to Mothering Sunday, activities in Sunday School, parent and toddler groups or the local primary school could have a theme of preparing something for Mothering Sunday. Plain bunting has all sorts of uses and can be drawn on/coloured in. Children could draw their mum on a flag, or add a prayer for her, or do a hand print with a promise to give mum a helping hand – you’ll have lots of great ideas too.
- Perhaps children could put together posies for giving out in the Mothering Sunday service.
- For those who find the day painful, whether through bereavement, separation or regret, offer space for them to reflect and pray, even if they don’t come to the Mothering Sunday Service. A simple card letting them know you’re thinking of them, offering to have the church open to come and light a candle for Mum on a particular day, are all really simple ways to support bereaved people around Mother’s Day.
Publicising the day
- As well as generally publicising your Mothering Sunday service in the parish, try sending out a focused, personal invitation to families who have a baptism service booked in the coming weeks and months. This can be by post, email or on social media – or a combination of all three!
- Families with children baptized in the last 6-12 months can also be invited, as part of their continuing journey.
On the day
This simple prayer can be used during the service to involve everyone. Try it out in school assemblies too.
- Place a hand on the heart and pray: ‘Thank you God, that you love each one of us’
- Wrap your arms around yourself and pray: ‘Thank you God for the love of mothers, past and present and still to come’
- Make a ‘roof shape’ with your fingertips touching and pray: ‘Thank you God for homes and help those who don’t feel safe today.’
- Wriggle the fingers on both hands and pray: ‘Thank you God for all the people who work to take care of us every day.’
- Cross over your forearms or index fingers to make a cross shape and pray: ‘Keep us close to your love each day’
- Making space for those who may be feeling sad is important. Think about asking people to light a candle as they come back from communion. Mothering Sunday is one of those days which is supposed to be a really joyful one so many people who struggle will appreciate the fact that they have been remembered.