This Sunday 18 June, we celebrate Father’s Day and think about either our own fathers, or those who have played a father-like role in our lives.
Father’s Day can be full of mixed emotions – joy or sadness in a relationship, grief for fathers or father figures who have died or who were not present in our lives.
The Church of England has a suggested liturgy to be used on Father’s Day, which you can download here (section 15) –>
One of the suggestions it gives is to let members of the congregation give a testimony about how their faith is working out in practice in their life, for example
- asking a new dad to describe the difference being a father has made to his life and his faith
- inviting someone to share (sensitively) their experience of having a father who let them down badly, and the difference that knowing God’s love has made to them
- inviting a grandfather to speak about what it is like to be a grandparent, including any advice he has for new parents, or any things he wishes he had done differently when his children were young.
We need to be mindful that there may be people in our worshipping community who have had a difficult relationship or no relationship with their father, or who are unable to be in contact with them.
The Revd Nick Bromfield, Team Rector in the North Cheltenham Team Ministry has shared the format of an all age service used at Prestbury in 2022, which he is happy for others to use. It includes a script to be used with puppets, but this could be acted out if you don’t have access to puppets.
Nick said, “Father’s Day is a marvellous occasion to involve dads and grandads in church life and the resources here give a ‘launch pad’ for this Sunday if you’d like to use them.
“There are many fathers who would love to be more involved in congregational life and here could be a time to see if they’d like to help or contribute more to your church – a call for dads’ help at the end of the service often shows they are just waiting to be asked!
“For example, in North Cheltenham, we have found dads getting involved in ‘voicing’ the puppets while their children operate the puppets at the stage – that’s a lovely thing to share in a family. Puppet ministry has been part of church life for nearly two years now and without doubt, it has brought many families, including dads and grandads, into regular weekly attendance.
“We are careful to reach out to those whose fathers are absent, for whatever reason. Sadly a parishioner here was sent to prison earlier this year and we will include him and his children in our prayers, along with the many dads like him who will spend Father’s Day in their cells for 22 hours, on Sunday.”
You can download Nick’s service outline as used in his church last year by clicking the link below.