Thursday, 8 March 2012

Get it Right, Farv

It is my sad duty to report, dear readers, that I caused consternation nay upset within the ranks of none less than the Mother's Union. This is a precarious place for a Vicar to be as it is widely known that the Mother's Union wields more real authority in the church than Opus Dei. The Mum's Onion here is a lovely group of the lovely, and to wound them wounds me. 

But I can read your mind. What did Farv do that was so heinous? Surely the incumbent didn't take Mary Sumner's name in vain. Surely the priest didn't propose the formation of a Father's Union? None of the above, friends; none of the above. I just did what I have always done.

I referred to March 18th as Mother's Day and not as Mothering Sunday (Heaven forfend that I should have ventured down the 'Refreshment Sunday' route). No, this was my transgression and during the Lent Course did my folly unfold. I was told. Straight. 

It did raise an interesting debate-ette actually (a debate between the one speaking and the silence of my inner-monologue). I could see her point too, in truth. 

It was claimed, very graciously I must add, that the name Mother's Day diminishes the day in a way that Mothering Sunday does not. That Mothering Sunday speaks of the ministry of all women, be they blessed with children or otherwise. That Mothering Sunday sanctifies the work of motherhood embodied by, yes, Mother Church. The extension of the argument was that "Mother's Day" is a term of the commercialized as "Father's Day" is - a ploy to sell overpriced Daffs and naff cards for Muvva. They are all very valid comments and I don't have an argument against any - and neither do I seek any. 

This post is not really about the essence of debate that exists within the heart of this - but more an observation how the change in language has an impact on others. I didn't want anything to cause aggravation; quite the opposite as I value all that Mothering Sunday stands for - but how easily some things can founder on the detail. 

I won't have a word said against my ladies either - they are lovely. 


  1. YerMother's right, David - as always. :-) I'm with your lovely ladies all the way on this and even though I'm now 5 years retired I would never use the term Mother's Day.

  2. I made that mistake a few times when I was working in ministry. Once it was explained to me I took it on board, especially as a woman who never had kids. I am included in Mothering Sunday but not in Mother's day.

  3. I've never been a member of the Mothers' Union, as in the places where I've been where there has been a branch its been more of a great grandmothers' union so I've never felt old enough. Internationally it does a great work though. I'm with the Mothers'Union members of your church - Mothers' Day does diminish Mothering Sunday. But then 'Mothers' Day is in May and is American. Mothering Sunday is in Lent and is an English custom. I think it's a great opportunity to celebrate the caring nurturing aspects of God as well as the caring ministry we all share as Christians.

  4. I think you should count yourself very lucky that you're still alive.

  5. The first step to forgiveness is to admit the sin. And MadPriest is right.

  6. The commentary on this is how commercialisation of what is a celebration of the Ministry of Women has been cheapened and shortened by commercial interests.

    Go and try to buy a Card which actually says Mothering Sunday. All you can find is Mothers Day cards. Secularisation taken to the utmost limit.

    The Mothers Union is right to gently correct your error, but I'm not sure that navel gazing about it is of any help.

    I always think that Clergy needs a helmet stashed close by to protect them from the fire and brimstone that seems to descend upon them for any perceived minor infringement.

    And when the Vicar is the target, it seems that no holds are barred. Glad you've survived a little wiser.

  7. Just looked at your website - this also refers to (sic) Mother's Day - note position of apostrophe!

    That'd be me then!

  8. What have you done, VV? I've got enemies but even I haven't managed to upset half the world's population. Have you considered ministry in Outer Mongolia or maybe among the inuit tribes of Greenland?

  9. from the point of view of one recently moved from England to lands afar.....

    I am saddened to find that Mothering Sunday is not observed in the Anglican church everywhere. The secular version, mother's day, is so much more commercial. Commercial is BIG over here.

    However I am thankful for Moonpig (other internet card providers are available) that I can procure a card out of season from where I reside and tweek it so it says 'Mothering Sunday. I was able to make both my mother & Aunt happy yesterday despite my distance from them and tell them of my thanks, love and appreciation.



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