Virtual Church for Mothering Sunday

As people in Abingdon celebrate Mother’s Day today, the PM said the best single present for mothers was to stay away … the NHS could be “overwhelmed” if people do not act to slow the “accelerating” spread of coronavirus…
Virtual Church on Mothering Sunday
In earlier times, Mothering Sunday was about the mother church. People would return on that day of the year to their mother church. It could have been where they were baptised, or a local cathedral, or a large church in the main town. St Helen’s Church would be considered the Mother Church by many people in Abingdon, and those who have moved from Abingdon.

They couldn’t go there today because it was closed on the instructions of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
Virtual Church on Mothering Sunday
For those with access to the internet the ministers of the parish of Abingdon-on-Thames had made Virtual Church for Mothering Sunday with some video recordings.

There were no church bells this morning, but here are a few pictures from St Helen’s Churchyard.
Virtual Church on Mothering Sunday
Virtual Church on Mothering Sunday
Virtual Church on Mothering Sunday

Virtual Church on Mothering Sunday
P.S Thank you to Tony who sent pictures of houses in central Abingdon. Church leaders had called on people to place a lighted candle in their window at 7.00 p.m. on Sunday 22nd, as a sign of solidarity and hope .

16 thoughts on “Virtual Church for Mothering Sunday

  1. rudi

    no disrespect to any religious people but these situations kind of reinforce my beliefs – any all powerful being that could stop this all right now but doesn’t…. well i wouldn’t want to praise him.

  2. PPJS

    Rudi: It is a deistic view that the world is a toy of God. Like you I reject such a belief.

    This is not the forum to engage in theological debate, but religious faith is very diverse and extremely nuanced.

    And, by the way, God is without gender… 😉

  3. StHelensResident

    If you want to believe in atheism, no amount of debate will convince you. But Christianity offers a coherent interpretation of the human condition. If you engage with it, you will find that arguments against it have been addressed by saints and thinkers from ancient times to today, and so some of your difficulties may disappear.

  4. PPJS

    StHR: Yes, but…. there are no knock-down arguments for the existence of God. If there were, then everyone would be convinced.

  5. PPJS

    More important is to find God in the helpless and hopeless and to love God by serving them.

    Mother Theresa of Calcutta began each day with two hours of prayer, but reported that in 50 years she had never experienced the presence of God in those times but only in the poor of Calcutta.

    Belief is unattractive when it parades as certainty; it is a journey which is frequently dark and is as much characterised by questions as answers.

  6. John

    PPJS – I’m not so sure that everyone would be convinced by a knock-down argument for the existence of God or anything else. Like the need to keep a distance from others and not go panic buying, for example.

  7. John

    PPJS – I’m not so sure that everyone would be convinced by a knock-down argument for the existence of God or anything else. Like the need to keep a distance from others and not go panic buying, for example.

  8. Janet

    The wonderful thing about this country is that we have the freedom to believe what we want. Not like in some countries where we could be put to death for expressing our views. The blasphemy crime exists in many parts of the world. Religion gives many community. I find it difficult to believe in some father Christmas figure controlling our lives.

  9. StHelensResident

    There are no knock-down arguments for atheism either. Ridiculing or caricaturing religion is not a substitute for finding out if there are answers which may help with intellectual difficulties.

    God precisely does not ‘control our lives’. He gives us free will to do good or evil (as we know from our own conscience which tells us when we have done something wrong). That’s how we have messed up the world but can also do good and help people.

    Atheism believes that the universe is random and meaningless. Christianity teaches that God entered into this fallen world, being born a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, taking on the burden of evil and experiencing suffering and death. He rose again, so giving all human beings hope and meaning. This enables us to understand something of the mystery of the suffering and pain of human life which we will all experience some time in our lives.

  10. PPJS

    Please don’t tell other people what they believe. I have met a good number of atheists in my life who do not believe that the universe is either random or meaningless.

    Meaning is not necessarily external, so it is possible to find and to offer meaning without reference to God. It is not my way; but it is my son’s, and his work among young adults with severe learning difficulties offers him and them plenty of meaning – and life for them is far from random thanks to the work of those who care for them and inspire them to achieve so much that is worthwhile.

    I agree, John, that some people will not accept even a knock-down argument. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. StHelensResident

    I’m afraid you’ll find that philosophical atheists, especially those of the modern ‘scientific’ school of thought, do indeed argue that the universe is without purpose, having evolved, they think, through random events – a sort of bumping and barging of atoms – which just happened to have produced our little planet by chance. They therefore deny that the universe has any scientific ‘meaning’.

    Similarly, they argue that the evolution of human beings is also without purpose and so we are just a sort of lucky (or unlucky) mutation. So, they say, there is no such thing as true altruism (being self-less) and no morality or ethics of right and wrong.

    Christianity, by contrast, believes that evolution is evidence of the mind of God, that human beings are part of its purpose, and that we can know how to behave in a truly human way, partly through using our reason and more clearly through understanding the truth God has made known to us through Jesus Christ.

    Unfortunately, many less nice atheists treat religion with contempt, dismissing religious beliefs as imaginary, without actually engaging with great Christian thinkers who have shown answers to atheist arguments. As I initially said, you can’t argue people into belief – but you can help to show the reasonableness of belief and remove misunderstandings. How many modern atheists have read these thinkers? In online discussions, sadly you will more usually just find anti-religious abuse.

    Of course there are people of all different philosophical beliefs who do good. This shows that our sense of right and wrong – our conscience – is indeed a reality, that we are more than just a mass of animal instincts as most atheist philosophers claim. It also shows the innate goodness of human beings, despite the evil in the world.

    Atheists must ask themselves, where does this goodness come from? Where does our conscience come from? Some of it is from a good upbringing, but we also find cases of people who discover goodness for themselves – like the ‘White Rose’ students in Germany in the 1940’s who had been indoctrinated in Nazi ideology but came to reject it and to embrace Christian belief through following their consciences. Interestingly, the leaders of these brave students – who paid with their lives – were helped to reject Nazism by reading the writings on conscience of a great English Christian, John Henry Newman (who was made a saint just last year).

    Historically, atheists have had a terrible effect on the ethics of societies run by them – we think of Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot who brought about the deaths of millions because of their atheist ideology which they believed to be ‘scientifically’ proven. Believers, too, have sometimes done very bad things – but Christianity does not teach such badness, whereas atheist philosophies like Marxism claimed that the crimes committed in its name were scientifically necessary and correct.

    By following our conscience we can gradually come to hear the voice of God speaking to us in the depths of our being. Then perhaps we can also come to recognise how he has revealed himself to all people in Jesus Christ and find that he fulfills the goodness we have been striving for.

  12. PPJS

    What about Jewish theism? Islamic theism? Zoroatstrian theism?….

    When we are at liberty to meet, I will happily engage anyone who wants to talk about religious belief.

    I beg the forgiveness of those visitors to this blog who have had their peace shattered by the dancing of angels on the head of a pin.

  13. Daniel

    Personally I like to identify as a Pastafarian and the only supreme being that makes sense of all of this is the FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster).

    Google it…or, borrow my gospel.

    It even explains the existence of pirates….

  14. John

    During World War 2 my father told his commanding officer that he was a “Margothumpian” and only went to church when February 29 fell on a Sunday

  15. Michael

    John – I hope your father (or his reincarnation) can wait until 2032 then! Each February 29th is 2 days of the week before the one 4 years previously. This year it was a Saturday so the next Sunday will be in 2032. It happens at 28 year intervals (unless spanning a centennial year that is not a leap year like 1900) so it happened in 2004, 1976, 1948 and 1920. So when the last war broke out your father had not been to church since 1920. By the way, Google does not recognise “margothumpian”.


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