Published: May 2011
In 1966, the first Mothering Sunday worship was instituted in St. John's Church, Rockwood. On April 3, 2011, the people continued the custom for the 45th year. Similar to earlier occasions, flowers were blessed and distributed by the children to all females attending worship, and delivered to others unable to be present due to illness. Two Simnel cakes were also blessed and shared by everybody during the fellowship time after the worship.
Mothering Sunday has its roots in the Middle Ages of English society, when 'women in service' were given the day off to visit their mothers and bring a sweet biscuit called Simnel Cake. Later, Cathedrals became the focus of Mothering Sunday, with people making a pilgrimage or visit to the Cathedral or Mother Church of a diocese. Its origin is often traced to the reference in Paul's letter to the Galatians (4:26) found in the Bible's New Testament, where Jerusalem is referred to as 'mother of us all'.
Barbara Smiley described Mothering Sunday at St. John's Rockwood Church in a brief history published for the centennial of its consecration on June 7, 1985. She wrote, "The long winter months, often difficult ones for the congregation of a country church, with snow and ice to be negotiated, are brightened by the traditional Mothering Sunday service which takes place in Lent. It is the forerunner of the modern Mother's Day but totally unlike it in spirit. Children make an effort to be present at this service, not only those living at home but also the ones who are scattered at college, university or in their own homes. It is a simple but very moving ceremony, children go up to the altar to receive flowers which they then give to all the mothers in the congregation as a token of love and thanks. Afterwards the traditional Simnel Cake is served. The rich fruit cakes, covered and decorated with almond paste are a symbol of plenty."
Mothering Sunday may have been replaced by Mother's Day in most areas of Canadian society, but, at the little Anglican Church on the hill in Rockwood, Ontario, the tradition continues.
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