Mother's Day, though not a sacred holiday, is often observed in some way in churches of various denominations.
The day actually originated in a Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia in May 1907, when Anna Jarvis, organized a special service to honor her late mother. The next year, Anna advocated that the second Sunday in May be a day to honor all mothers. Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1912.
Despite the good intentions behind this day of celebration, we recognize that this can be a difficult day for some individuals, and that some within each congregation may struggle with the celebration (or avoid church altogether that day).
The person who lost their mother at a young age.
The mother who lost a child.
The person who was abandoned by their mother.
The woman who longs to be a mother, but isn’t.
The woman who longs to be a mother, but can’t.
The woman who has chosen not to have children.
The person who has a difficult relationship with their mother.
Acknowledging this, some churches have taken to broadening the traditional Mother’s Day celebration to include families and all who nurture and care for others (men and women alike).
The United Methodist denomination calls this the "Festival of the Christian Home" - a day to celebrate the gift of home and those who share it with us, in our immediate families, our communities, and within the church itself.
Planning a Festival of the Christian Home at your church this spring? Here are a few resources and music suggestions to help get you started:
Music for the Festival of the Christian Home
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Leaning On the Everlasting Arms
We, Thy People, Praise Thee
Christian People, Raise Your Song
Now Thank We All Our God
Our Parent, By Whose Name
Happy the Home When God Is There
O Lord, May Church and Home Combine
Blest Be the Tie That Binds
Come, Christians, Join to Sing
Help Us Accept Each Other
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Be Thou My Vision
Christ is Made the Sure Foundation
The Church's One Foundation
O Church of God, United
Father, We Thank You
We Are God's People
All People That On Earth Do Dwell
For the Beauty of the Earth
Your Love, O God, Has Called Us Here
O How He Loves You and Me
How Can We Name a Love
Lord of All Hopefulness
Sent Forth By God's Blessing
Sing With All the Saints in Glory
O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing
Children's Choir Anthems
Having your children’s choir sing on Mother’s Day is a natural choice. Here are a few anthems that work well for the Festival of the Christian Home service:
“Thank You God for Family” (Joseph Martin) from Sing and Celebrate 5!
A sweet song that gives thanks for families, incorporating the familiar children’s hymn, “God Is So Good." (Unison Choir with Piano)
The Gift of Home (Ruth Elaine Schram & Aren Newell Williams)
A sung reflection on the gift of home, love, and family. (Unison/2-part Choir with Piano)
The Gift of Love (arr. Hal Hopson)
This familiar and well-known anthem features text from 1 Corinthians 13. (Unison Choir with Piano)
“God, Bless Our Family” (Jeff Reeves & Ruth Elaine Schram) from Sing and Celebrate 6!
A heartfelt prayer of blessing for families, with rich, meaningful text. (Unison Choir with Piano)
A Family Song (Joseph Martin/arr. Brad Nix)
A song of thanks for parents, brothers, sisters, and “dear ones, near and far” and a beautiful affirmation that families come in all shapes and sizes. (Unison/2-part Choir with Piano)
You Are the Hands (Lynn Shaw Bailey/arr. Becki Slagle Mayo)
A touching anthem that honors those who care for, nurture, and invest in the lives of children. (Unison/2-part Choir with Piano)
God Bless Families (Natalie Sleeth)
A sweet, simple song of blessing for “families near and far” with melodic repetition and contrasting sections. (Unison Choir with Piano)
“Love Is…” (Jeff Reeves) from Sing and Celebrate 8!
An anthem about what love is, with text based on 1 Corinthians 13. (Unison Choir with Piano)
God, Bless My Family (Cindy Berry)
This beautiful, prayerful anthem incorporates a few lines from the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth.” (Unison/2-part Choir with Piano)
Mother’s Day-Specific Anthems
Blessing of the Families Liturgy (Mandy McDow)
Mother's Day Prayer: A 21st Century Worship Resource (Jane Sommers)
Mother’s Day Reflection (Steve Garnaas-Holmes)
How do you celebrate Mother’s Day and the Festival of the Christian Home in your church?