Created especially for people who tend to avoid church on Mothering Sunday, this year will be the second year of the service that offers a safe space for those who find themselves dealing with difficult emotions that the day can arouse.
Interest in the service from parishes around the country was sparked following the successful first service held at Liverpool Cathedral last year. This year the influence of the service has grown significantly with requests for resource packs more than doubling from 25 last year to 60 requested so far for this year’s liturgy.
Revd Sonya Doragh, Team Vicar of Eccleston, created the Runaways service in partnership with Lizzie Lowrie, Local Missional Leader based in Crosby. Revd Sonya has once again written this year’s liturgy as a form of release in coping with the mixed feelings of grief that come each year on Mothering Sunday.
Revd Sonya is unable to have children as a result of being raped at the age of 17, she has since adopted “three beautiful boys” but still feels a sense of unease amid the celebrations as she explains “Mothering Sunday as we celebrate brings up some very conflicted feelings for my boys and for me. The run-up to Mothering Sunday, the day itself and the aftermath can be very unsettling, their powerlessness in the process of being taken into care. My experience is laced with peculiar adoptive mother guilt.”
“It seems heart-breaking that some people in our immediate community feel excluded from a day that is supposed to be a family celebration, because their own experience or emotions are ones of sadness and grief rather than celebration.”
The incredible response the event suggests that “we are definitely scratching an itch that many have felt, not just those who do not come to church, but lots of church leaders are saying: ‘Thank goodness: I’ve always wanted something like this, as so many of the congregation do not come.’”
Lizzie Lowrie, co-creator of Mother’s Day Runaways and blogger at Saltwater and Honey, an online group that enables people to share stories of childlessness added “Mothering Sunday is historically seen as one of those days for celebration and of course, the church should celebrate! But I don’t believe joy should trump grief, nor the celebration of the majority ignore the pain of the minority, the church is called to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn throughout the year, not just on special occasions”.
About the Mothers' Day Runaways Service:
Whatever your story, whether you’re grieving the loss of a mother, the loss of a child, or a baby through miscarriage, whether you’re struggling with infertility or childlessness, singleness or a difficult relationship, whether you never even knew your mother or any other reason why you might find Mothering Sunday painful, this quiet, reflective service has been designed with you in mind.
Join us at this informal gathering in the Lady Chapel and be guided through an hour-long service. This includes liturgy, poetry, music and stories acknowledging the bittersweet emotions surrounding Mothering Sunday, offering you the space to grieve, enabling us how to lament and inviting the God who loves us into our stories of struggle.