[Editor: This article, about the celebration of Mother’s Day by the churches in Lithgow (NSW), was published in The Lithgow Mercury (Lithgow, NSW), 14 May 1934.]
is one of introspection
Lithgow Church celebrations
Mothers’ Day, which is annually gaining greater recognition throughout the world, was celebrated yesterday.
Mothers everywhere were remembered, and the thoughts of many were turned towards their parents as they donned the white flower emblematic of the day. The extent of the celebration in Lithgow seemed to be greater than ever this year, for everywhere one went there were floral evidences of the occasion.
The churches bore crowded congregations, particularly at night, and stirring sermons told of the influence and power of a mother not only in the home but in other spheres.
The day was one of introspection for many, and in hundreds of homes parents received gifts from their children in honor of the day. The pilgrimage to the cemetery was undertaken by hundreds, who laid floral tokens on the graves of relatives and friends.
There was a good congregation at the 3 p.m. service in St. Paul’s, which was especially arranged for the children. The Rev. R. F. C. Bradley spoke on the subject of Mothers’ Day generally and of the spiritual care of children. Four infants were baptised. At night he took as his text Proverbs 1-8: “My son …. forsake not the law of thy mother,” and preached an interesting sermon to a large congregation on the never-changing character of a mother’s love, which invariably overflowed with unselfishness and was an influence for good.
Mrs. K. K. Bacon at both services sang “A Mother’s Prayer.”
Preaching in St. Paul’s at the morning service, and also at Oakey Park in the afternoon, the Rev. H. C. Dunstan emphasised, first, the gratitude of the child to the mother, and secondly, the responsibility of the mother to the child. He drew an analogy with the life of Christ in the first case, and in the second instance recalled the Old Testament story of Hannah and Samuel. “We cannot convert our children,” he said, “but we can put them in the way of knowing what is right; that is, sow the good seed. That is what Hannah did for Samuel.” He asked if every Mothers’ Day was not a renewal day. It meant something more than the giving of a present by the child to the parent; it stressed the fact that mothers must not under-estimate their position, and that apart from the routine of material duties must be keen to advance the family’s Christian standards.
Several hundred children, pupils of the three Presbyterian Sunday schools, took part in the morning service at the Hoskins Memorial Church. About 50 teachers were presented with gold stars, and 250 scholars who had attended regularly during the past six months received a red star, the first of a series. In the afternoon the installation of the cradle roll took place. A number of infants were placed in the cradle and their parents handed a certificate enrolling the little ones. Four babies were baptised. The Rev. T. Mathers, who also conducted the morning and evening services, gave a talk to the children and the mothers.
A notable feature of all the services was the splendid singing of the children who had been trained by Mr. J. Penn Hughes. Under his baton they sang the anthems in charming fashion, the expression being praiseworthy.
At a service conducted by the Rev. H. W. Whittle in the Cooerwull church yesterday morning Mrs. Bell sang “The Gift,” and the choir rendered “Memories of Mother.” The Rev. Mr. Whittle was the preacher at Portland at night. Mr. F. A. Lackey, of Portland, conducted the night service at South Bowenfels, making particular reference to the glories of motherhood.
At all churches in the Lithgow Methodist circuit the topic was taken up by preachers, those taking part being Messrs. A. Diehm, A. A. Whale, E. G. Sheppeard, A. B. MacKendrick, W. Rodham and P. Dyer.
The Rev. P. Williams preached at Oakey Park at 11 a.m. At the evening service in the Mort-street church before an exceptionally large congregation he quoted the influence which the mother of Jesus exercised on her Son, to emphasise that mothers could and did wield an abiding influence on the early lives of their children. The Saviour’s life was an exemplary one, and was a model on which any young man could model his own life.
In the evening Miss M. Parker sang “My Mother’s Prayer,” and Masters George and Walter Denham sang the duet, “How Lovely are Thy Dwellings.” Two anthems were sung by the choir, the rendering of “The Shadows of the Evening” being particularly effective.
The Baptist church, in common with other churches, was suitably decorated with flowers, and each worshipper was handed a buttonhole. The Rev. A. L. Leeder, a former pastor who is popularly remembered in Lithgow, preached at the 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. services, the subject for the former being “A Great Woman,” based on the woman of Shunem. A quartette was rendered effectively, and Mrs. B. V. Lean sang sweetly and feelingly “Memories of Mother.”
Origin of celebration
Mothers’ Day owes its existence to Miss Anna Jarvis, of Pennsylvania, who founded the occasion — the second Sunday in May — in memory of her mother. Whether the second Sunday was chosen as being nearest the date of her mother’s birth or death cannot be stated. The first Mothers’ Day was observed in 1908. The day was first accorded recognition in Australia by the council of the Presbyterian Church at Burwood, in 1910. Since that time observance of the occasion has spread throughout this country.
The Lithgow Mercury (Lithgow, NSW), 14 May 1934, p. 2 (Town Edition)
Hannah and Samuel = Hannah was a woman (mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible) who was unable to bear children; she prayed to God to have a son, promising to devote her son to God’s work, and a priest (Eli) asked God to grant her request, and subsequently she had a son (Samuel); when her son was an infant, Hannah gave him to the Temple, so that he would work for God with the priests; she used to visit him at the Temple, and Eli the priest asked God to give Hannah more children, and, following that, she went on to have five more children (the story of Hannah and Samuel is given in the Bible, in chapters 1-2 of 1 Samuel)
See: 1) “What is the story of Hannah and Samuel?”, Got Questions
2) “God’s faithfulness in infertility: The story of Hanna”, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.), 29 April 2021
3) “Hannah (biblical figure)”, Wikipedia
Messrs. = an abbreviation of “messieurs” (French), being the plural of “monsieur”; used in English as the plural of “Mister” (which is abbreviated as “Mr.”); the title is used in English prior to the names of two or more men (often used regarding a company, e.g. “the firm of Messrs. Bagot, Shakes, & Lewis”, “the firm of Messrs. Hogue, Davidson, & Co.”)
Saviour = in a religious context, a reference to Jesus Christ
thy = (archaic) your
the woman of Shunem = a wealthy woman living in Shunem (mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible) who was very supportive of the priest Elisha; he prophesised that she would have a son (arguably, it is implied that he invoked the will of God to grant her a son), and she did have a son; when her son was older, he died, and the woman of Shunem went to Elisha to beg him to help her, and subsequently he revived her son (the story of the woman of Shunem, and the resurrection of her son, is given in the Bible, in 2 Kings 4:8-37)
See: 1) “2 Kings: Chapter 4”, King James Bible Online
2) “2 Kings 4” (English Standard Version), Bibleserver
3) “Woman of Shunem”, Wikipedia
4) “Raising of the son of the woman of Shunem”, Wikipedia
[Editor: Changed “good congregaion” to “good congregation”, “Rev.R. F. C.” to “Rev. R. F. C.” (inserted a space). Inserted a full stop after “Four babies were baptised”.]