‘Support mothers with anger, not sentiment’

by
08 March 2013

by a staff reporter

CUTS to welfare benefits are undermining motherhood, the Bishop of Dudley, the Rt Revd David Walker, has said. It was time to get "angry" and stop sentimentalising mothers this Mothering Sunday, he suggested.

Speaking a century after the campaign to re-establish Mothering Sunday as a festival was launched by a vicar's daughter, Bishop Walker said that the Government's policies were an attack on mothers' efforts to feed and nurture their children.

He said: "I'm not feeling very sentimental about motherhood this year, at a time when more and more mothers are needing to turn to church-run Food Banks to see their children are adequately fed.

"And I'm not very sentimental when I think about the mothers who are going to lose their homes this year because they fall victim to the bedroom tax, or the cap on benefits. . .

"My own mother is no longer with us, but I vividly remember her determined single-handed efforts to allow me to stay on at school after 16 and get my A levels. A mixture of what she could earn from her work and the state benefits that she received just kept us afloat. For her sake, I'm not sentimental at all about motherhood this year, I'm actually rather angry about the ways our society is undermining it."

The vicar's daughter, Constance Penswick Smith, from Coddington, Nottinghamshire, was inspired in 1913 to lobby for a revival of the festival, going on to establish the Mothering Sunday Movement. In previous centuries, Mothering Sunday was the day when, among other things, servants were given a day off to visit their mother church.

The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, said: "My diocese has a special connection with Mothering Sunday, going back to the initiative of Constance Penswick Smith, from one of our parishes, who put the day on the national agenda again. Mothering is something we all need at times, although it's something we can take for granted."

The diocese is asking parishes to support the work of Family Care, an adoption and family support agency that gives practical help to children and young people.

 

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