Fathers’ Day service?

Is it even right to celebrate this secular festival?

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  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Is it even right to celebrate this secular festival?

    At our place, Fathers' Day (and Mothers' Day) tends to get a mention in the sermon, and might get a special prayer for fathers (mothers). We also pray for new graduates, kids starting school, veterans, workers, and so on at times of year when those secular events occur.

    None of these is the focus of a service.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    As at @Leorning Cniht’s place, at our place, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will likely get a mention in the welcome (aimed manly at those visiting their fathers) and in the Prayers of the People. Sometimes, a hymn or two might be chosen because of motherhood/fatherhood images, either of God or of humanity. A few years ago, when I was reader on Mother's Day, I wrote a Prayer of Illumination that drew on various maternal images of God in Scripture and hymnody. (Ms. T was very taken with it and kept it on the fridge for some time after that.)

    As others have pointed out in other threads, care always has to be taken for individual circumstances—those who had absent or abusive parents, those who wanted to be parents but never were, women and men who have lovingly “mothered” or “fathered” those who are not their children, etc.

    But a Father’s Day service? No.
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    Puzzler wrote: »
    Is it even right to celebrate this secular festival?

    Not only is Father's Day a secular festival, so also strictly speaking is 'Mother's Day' which is an Americanism of 'Mothering Sunday' which comes halfway through Lent and celebrates our 'Mother' the church. It has since also been taken up secularly into a celebration of 'Mothers' generally, but that was not its original meaning or purpose, I believe.

    It has always been associated with Mary the Mother of Jesus of Nazareth though, and the principle of motherhood was honored on this day. Not quite the same thing as making a big fuss of all 'Mothers', to the exclusion of everyone who lacks qualification by gender, matrimonial state, medical impairment, or choice.

    Since the church seems to have little say in the matter of how the celebration day is now titled, and since it has almost universally become Americanized and morphed into the title 'Mother's Day', A case might be made for 'Father's Day' being celebrated in the interests of parent gender equality. I can't see this being enthusiastically taken up as a Social Progressive cause though.

    On the other hand, perhaps both 'Mother's Day' and 'Father's Day' should be replaced by 'Parent's Day'. Though that would be excluding children, virgins, the impotent, infertile and all other sorts of people who might feel 'left out', so perhaps it would be better to drop all services which are 'Non Inclusive' of everyone, or risk offending the socially progressive thought police, who seem constantly to be looking for something to condemn.

    For the vast majority of normal secular people, Mother's Day is now just a special day to be specially nice to your mum. If you still have one. Which I unfortunately at 72, do not.

    So if you had a decent enough father, why not celebrate 'Father's Day' by telling him you appreciate what he contributed to your well being and up bringing.
  • RdrEmCofE wrote: »
    Puzzler wrote: »
    Is it even right to celebrate this secular festival?

    Not only is Father's Day a secular festival, so also strictly speaking is 'Mother's Day' which is an Americanism of 'Mothering Sunday' which comes halfway through Lent and celebrates our 'Mother' the church. It has since also been taken up secularly into a celebration of 'Mothers' generally, but that was not its original meaning or purpose, I believe.

    I think that it is a little more complicated than that.

    In the US (and Canada), Mothers Day is a completely secular event, utterly separated from what people in the UK would call Mothering Sunday. It doesn't happen at the same time and has no connection with it all. What seems to have happened is that in the UK there was a decision to conflate the two ideas into one event. Inevitably, the general secular "let's be thankful for mothers" theme has swamped the older religious theme of Mothering Sunday.

    The problem now, in the UK, is that it is nigh on impossible to have "Mothering Sunday" without getting dragged into the mushy sentimental stuff, which really doesn't fit well in Lent (IMHO).

    Here in Canada, I have found that ignoring Mothers Day (which is in May each year) is not a good idea! It may be a secular event but people still want some recognition of it. This year it was on the bulletin cover for the week and we included a specific prayer for mothers (which tried to be as honest as possible that not all mothers are good and not all mothers have had happy experiences).

    The pressure to include Fathers Day stuff is not the same, but I am thinking that we should take the same approach.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    RdrEmCofE wrote: »
    Not only is Father's Day a secular festival, so also strictly speaking is 'Mother's Day' which is an Americanism of 'Mothering Sunday' which comes halfway through Lent and celebrates our 'Mother' the church. It has since also been taken up secularly into a celebration of 'Mothers' generally, but that was not its original meaning or purpose, I believe.
    Nope. As @Rufus T Firefly says, the American origins of Mother’s Day (and of Father’s Day) are totally unrelated to the British Mothering Sunday—the random and distracting bolding, italics and underlining notwithstanding.

  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Thanks for all the comments.
    I think our place is using it to draw in young families, as there will be a special All-age service, with bacon butties to follow.
    I wonder if it will succeed. First time for everything , I guess.

    Of course we have always had Mothering Sunday and the service that day recognises not only mother church but in particular the role of mothers, but also remembers with sensitivity those for whom it is a difficult day for whatever reason.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    RdrEmCofE wrote: »
    Puzzler wrote: »
    Is it even right to celebrate this secular festival?

    Not only is Father's Day a secular festival, so also strictly speaking is 'Mother's Day' which is an Americanism of 'Mothering Sunday' which comes halfway through Lent and celebrates our 'Mother' the church. It has since also been taken up secularly into a celebration of 'Mothers' generally, but that was not its original meaning or purpose, I believe.

    I think that it is a little more complicated than that.

    In the US (and Canada), Mothers Day is a completely secular event, utterly separated from what people in the UK would call Mothering Sunday. It doesn't happen at the same time and has no connection with it all. What seems to have happened is that in the UK there was a decision to conflate the two ideas into one event. Inevitably, the general secular "let's be thankful for mothers" theme has swamped the older religious theme of Mothering Sunday.

    The pressure to include Fathers Day stuff is not the same, but I am thinking that we should take the same approach.

    As it is here. Mothers' Day is in May and Fathers' Day in September, and both are secular. We observe Mothering Sunday in Lent, with the intercessions led by a member of the Mothers' Union (a dying organisation in Sydney alas) and the saying of the Mothers' Union prayer "by all who feel comfortable saying it" as the introduction says. And Simnel cake of course. There is no Fathering Sunday equivalent.
  • As an aside, in Catholic countries, isn't St Joseph's Day, Father's Day?
  • Mr SmiffMr Smiff Shipmate
    We don’t particularly mark Father’s Day at our place (though we do have a special service on Mothering Sunday/Mothers’ Day). However, I got an email from a mailing list I’m which was encouraging people to start thinking of holding a Father’s Day service... and that came in February/March! I don’t get Christmas related emails as far in advance of the occasion as I did that one!
  • In my last church Fathers' Day one year fell on a Sunday designated for a Parade Service (All-age service with Scouts etc. present). I therefore devised a service using the "Father" theme, naturally ending up by thinking of God as our "perfect" father.

    It didn't work: attendance was low as so many families were "doing things with dad" that day. And even many of the fathers and grandfathers in our regular congregation were absent. So now I don't schedule special family services for Fathers' Day (or for Mothering Sunday). A pity.
  • We have stopped taking Guides (and Brownies and Rainbows) to the Mothering Sunday service for similar reasons. It used to be one of the annual Parade Services, but was resented by the leaders as most were having to juggle to spend time with their own mothers. Taking the Girl Guides to church, and the numbers we could take were always lower as so many families were off to see mothers, was an additional stress no-one wanted.
  • Yes, that has been my experience in several churches over many years of ministry. yet some churches seem to get bumper turn-outs on Mothering Sunday, I don't know how or why!
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    As an aside, in Catholic countries, isn't St Joseph's Day, Father's Day?
    In Brazil, Father's Day is in August.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    As others have pointed out in other threads, care always has to be taken for individual circumstances—those who had absent or abusive parents

    For this reason, I find out church's approach of "aren't our fathers wonderful, and here's a gift for all the men in the church to celebrate how wonderful all fathers are" distasteful.

    Oh, and telling me to "concentrate on my Heavenly Father" isn't especially helpful either.

  • Yes, that has been my experience in several churches over many years of ministry. yet some churches seem to get bumper turn-outs on Mothering Sunday, I don't know how or why!

    Are these churches where the (grand)mothers live? Adults with kids take the family to see their own mothers, and they all go to church together?

    Or did you really have have Chreasters turning up on Mothering Sunday?
  • We certainly didn't! ... I suspect these are churches which are probably Anglican and have lots of young families (i.e. the parents' own mothers/fathers come round for the day, rather than the opposite).
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Just a brief mention about Mother's day. It was actually instituted because of a feminine pacifist movement in the 1800's. The American Father's Day came about because a girl of a single father thought fathers should also have their day.

    This past weekend Americans also had Memorial Day which started after the American Civil War.

    I could mention other days as well.

    Liturgically speaking such days are not covered. However, I am of the mind if the day is on people's minds why not use it to your advantage in either the sermon or a hymn or a prayer.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    St Joseph's day (19th March) is indeed Fathers' day in Spain and Italy but not necessarily in other 'Catholic' countries.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Did anybody attend a service last Sunday where fathers were mentioned, or celebrated?
    No mention at the BCP Eucharist I attended at an English cathedral, though there may have been, for all I know, at the Family Communion which preceded it.
  • questioningquestioning Shipmate
    No mention during the service, not even in the prayers. However, during the announcements, we were told that all fathers and those who filled a fatherly role would be given chocolates on their way out of worship. Most of the men who received chocolates immediately passed them on to their children or spouses.
  • We mentioned Fathers Day briefly, focusing instead on World Refugee Sunday. With all that's transpired on ur border the last several weeks, it was a time for lament, not celebrating. There were no complaints
  • In my "children's address" I referred to "Father's Day", having a moan about what - in my view - is the wrong position of the apostrophe but suggesting that we could use the day as an opportunity to reflect on Father God. Our intercessions also took up the theme, not only thanking God for good fathers (and parents in general) but also praying for people whose fathers are or have been abusive, uncaring, absent or dead. However the theme of the main sermon was something else entirely.

    (As it happens, due to Fathers' Day, Scout Camp, older folk on holiday and a teenage gymnastics competition, we were rather low on numbers, especially young people).
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    All sounds very appropriate, Baptist Trainfan.
    I have yet to hear whether the service at our place attracted any attention.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Father’s Day was mentioned, not focused on, at the church I go to, and also the prayers included a general prayer for fathers.
  • This Sunday was one of the many days this summer that Mrs C and I will spend transporting various children to various activities. So for me, Fathers' Day was spent doing the ordinary everyday activities of being a father. But I imagine it probably got a brief mention in the sermon at our place.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Finally had a chance to catch up with what happened at our place last Sunday.
    The hymns were

    Father God I wonder
    Great is thy faithfulness
    Father I place into your hands
    How deep the Father’s love for us.

    I am told that there were some Baptism contacts there and that the bacon butties went down a treat. All the 50 buttonholes went. (?)
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Buttonholes?
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Sorry, no idea. I wasn’t there.
  • BroJamesBroJames Shipmate
    Purely a guess… maybe a male counterpart to the giving out of posies of flowers that dome churches do on Mothering Sunday.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    I guess so, but I was told that 50 buttonholes were made and all used, so I guess perhaps they were given to every adult. Our normal congregation numbers about 50-70.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    A buttonhole is another term for a boutonnière—a flower, perhaps with some greenery and/or filler like baby’s breath, worn on the left lapel of a jacket.

    I had to miss our place on Father’s Day, but my guess is that during the welcome something was said about fathers and those visiting their fathers, and there probably was mention made in the prayers. Linking the day to the Fatherhood of God is, in my experience, typically avoided, as is anything that calls attention to those who are parents and those who are not—so giving out things on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day doesn’t seem to be done around here.
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