General Worship What kinds of simple things do churches do to celebrate Mothers Day and Fathers Day? April 22, 2010 Updated January 17, 2012 Angela J Elliott 5 comments 8430 views
This can be a delicate topic. Many worship planners and pastors believe Hallmark & national holiday celebrations (Mother's/Father's Day, Valentine's, 4th of July, Labor/Memorial Days, etc) do not really belong in worship, and for very good reasons theologically and pastorally. God transcends national and international borders so our worship should reflect that; some congregants may have histories of abuse by their fathers and mothers, or there are worshipers who do not have children for what may be from painful circumstances. Others believe that ignoring these holidays altogether, especially when they fall on a Sunday, disconnects the church from the culture around them, thus making them irrelevant. I understand this point to an extent. As for simple things: you could include prayers of thanksgiving for mothers/fathers within the context of a larger prayer, or a simple "Happy Mother's/Father's Day" along with other pastorally sensitive words at the welcome would be fitting. For a greater challenge, the pastor could use Mother's Day as a teaching moment to explore the characteristics of God that are like a mother (similarly, this is often done at Father's Day).
I agree with Chad. And coming from a personal stand that my wife and I will not have children of our own is a difficult thing to observe on these days. So to pray for mothers and fathers during a prayer or the thought of how important all adults are to children during a children's message is one way to present it. But to theme your service around Mother's Day and Father's Day would be celebrating "st. halmark".
In our church, we recognize the day with prayers for mothers/fathers, and also for mother and father figures. We are also sensitive to those who cannot have children, so we pray for them as well. We generally give a small gift (bookmark, pen, keychain...) to ALL women or men on their respective days, recognizing that we have all promised at the time of baptism to nurture the children of our church.
The church I'm on staff at has a very vibrant orphan/adoption ministry (www.hope127.com). On Mother's and Father's Day, instead of handing out flowers or trinkets that are forgotten by the next day... we take the money we would have spent on those things and direct it straight to that ministry by way of a presentation of a large cardboard check. We share to the congregation that this money is better spent to enabling families to adopt children that might not ever feel the love of a mother or father. It helps us take a 'Hallmark" holiday and refocus it into a ministry opportunity.
Have the children do some crafts for their father and mother, one that's appropriate for the age group, and have the children hand them out at the end of service or during the announcement time.
If there are concerns about celebrating Mother's Day "not belonging in worship", then do it outside of service, before or after. Have a breakfast for mothers, mothers-to-be, or women hoping to be mothers. Have a reception after church for simple refreshments like cookies/biscuits and tea/coffee, fresh cut fruits followed by prayer and honoring mothers.
On Chad's note, his observations are valid, but I disagree on the notion of national holiday celebrations being a "delicate topic," perhaps out of fear that it would distract from God or hurt certain group's feelings as implied in his statement. That's merely an opinion of pastors and worship planners, which I respect yet I disagree. It can be handled with great finesse to glorify God and to not stigmatize groups of people. I would add that it's disappointing to see how churches disconnect culture from church. Culture does not distract from God, unless cultural idolatry becomes the distraction.
We have members who although suffered abuse from their fathers and mothers, they have overcome those suffering. They serve as a wonderful reminder about how the Kingdom of God is manifested here on earth--that the blind can see, that the lame can walk--of which broken hearts are healed and relationships are restored equally glorify God. "Do not really belong in worship" is in my humble opinion an excuse that missed out on the greater glory of God. They can give their testimonies in church about forgiveness and how the healing process has brought them closer to God and restored their relationship with their parents. They are the greatest source of encouragement to others who suffered the same abuses. Those who suffered abuse as children also become mothers and fathers and they could definitely use the encouragement and testimonies.
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