Mothering Sunday

In the modern world many old customs and traditions have been overwhelmed by brash commercialism.
An example of this is Mothering Sunday, which is especially relevant to Coddington and All Saints Church; the following is taken from ?A Church Guide? writen by Michael Bache.


CONSTANCE PENSWICK SMITH - (1878-1938)
     Constance Penswick Smith came to Coddington, Nottinghamshire at the age of 12, when her father the Reverend Charles Penswick Smith was appointed Vicar of All Saints? Church Coddington. Constance was the 3rd of 7 children, and from an early age asserted her independence. Of the seven children, it was Constance who struck out on her own and made a career outside the family circle.
    She travelled to Germany and spent two years working as a governess before returning to Nottingham and finding employment as a dispenser with the eminent skin specialist Dr Thomas Mallett in Park Row. She became friends with Ellen Porter who was Superintendent of the Girls Friendly Society Hostel in Nottingham.
    One day in 1913, Constance read an article in the evening news, which outlined plans by an American, Anna Jarvis from Philadelphia to introduce an American festival into Britain to celebrate "Mother?s Day", which was to be established on the 2nd Sunday in May. Constance realised that despite having a similar sounding name to Mothering Sunday, it would not have any of the Christian values, which made Mothering Sunday so special. She began to devote her life to re-establishing the true Christian celebration of Mothering Sunday in a campaign, which was to last for 30 years.
    Working with her friend Ellen, she set up her headquarters at 15 Regent Street in Nottingham and designed Mothering Sunday Cards for school children to give to their mothers. She wrote plays and articles to promote interest and made a collection of appropriate hymns for use on the day. First she approached the Mothers Union, but as much as they approved of the idea, they thought that the custom had been dead for so long that a revival was virtually impossible.
    She refused to be discouraged. In 1921 she published a book on Mothering Sunday in which she drew together alt her findings about the ancient custom from across the world. She also founded "The Society for the Observance of Mothering Sunday".
    At first her movement was rejected by many established religious societies, but gradually the clergy did become interested, particularly Rev Killer of St Cyprians in Nottingham, who used the hymns that Constance had selected. Constance went to live in Rev Killers? parish, and when the new St Cyprians church was dedicated in 1936, a canister containing orders of service, and other material was placed beneath the altar.
    Other early converts to Constance?s movement were her 4 brothers who had all taken holy orders and were each conducting Mothering Sunday services in their own churches.
    Constance Penswick Smith died in 1938, at the age of 60 and was buried at Coddington next to her father. Her friend Ellen Porter, who later carried on the work of the Movement from her home in Marston Road, Nottingham, died in 1942 at the age of 74.
(Source: Nottingham Evening Post)


Constance Penswick Smith (1878 ? 1938)

This article has reproduced by the kind permission of Michael Bache.