Kirkheaton Parish Church serves up Mothering Sunday service with a difference

Worshippers take part in 'clypping' the church

Clypping the church. Kirkheaton worshippers enjoy Mothers Day with a difference.

Kirkheaton Parish Church did something a bit different for Mothering Sunday – as well as the mums getting flowers the church got a hug too.

The congregation of 110 ended the service by walking out and circling the church.

“During the service we explored a number of older Mothering Sunday traditions,” says Rector Richard Steel, “including one followed now by only a handful of churches around the country - ‘Clypping’ the church.”

In medieval days people were encouraged to return to their ‘mother’ church and ‘clypping’ is giving the church a hug, by surrounding it.

From as long ago as 1600, the focus on the love of God and the church this Sunday in the middle of Lent has also had a focus on the love of mothers.

“We thought it was worth exploring the meaning of these old traditions, and decided a practical demonstration was good to do,” Rev Steel added, “people enjoyed it, and the sharing of slices of another old tradition, Simnel cake, when people came back in afterwards.

“As it would have taken a lot more people to hold hands round the church we passed a shout of ‘God loves you’, along with a Mexican wave.

“Love is something that binds us all together as the living church.

“Mothering Sunday helps us be aware of God’s love for us, as strong as any mothers’ for their child, and encourages us to share it with others.”

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