Celebrating Women – Internation Women’s Day Mothers Day

05th March 2024

Cathedrals are celebrating women this week with exhibitions, worship and special events to International Women’s Day and Mothering Sunday.

Celebrating Women

The Story Chair artwork that brings together women’s experiences of the criminal justice system and shares their stories returns to Newcastle Cathedral in time for International Women’s Day this Friday.

Crafted by Nick James from James Design, The Story Chair is an abstract representation of the twists and turns of women’s lives, the need for a solid base and the lightness once stories have been shared.

Over 50 local women took part in the project in collaboration with Newcastle Cathedral, the charity Changing Lives and Northumbria University, supported by the North East Probation Service and The British Academy.

“This project has been the most extraordinary journey. A reminder too of what cathedrals can do beyond simply hosting but reaching out and facilitating partnerships.” Revd Peter Dobson, Newcastle Cathedral.

The Story Chair will feature in the Bishop of Newcastle’s Good Friday Meditation on BBC Radio 4!

Portsmouth Cathedral is inviting volunteers to come and help the Cathedral Flower Team make posies for their Mothering Sunday services. Volunteers are needed on Saturday from 9am and will meet in the Bishop Kenneth Room.

Peterborough Cathedral invites people to experience their Remarkable Women Tours which will uncover the diverse roles and contributions women have made that have shaped the fabric of Peterborough’s heritage.

The tours take place on 8 and 9 March to coincide with International Women’s Day and

“International Women’s Day serves as a poignant reminder of the invaluable contributions of women to society, and our Remarkable Women Tours aim to celebrate and honour these achievements,” said Alex Carton, Head of Education at Peterborough Cathedral. 

”Through these tours, we hope to inspire a deeper appreciation for the diverse roles women have played in shaping our local history and culture.”

For more information and to book your place, visit: Remarkable Women Tour – Peterborough Cathedral (peterborough-cathedral.org.uk)

York Minster is marking International Women’s Day by hosting the annual Hilda’s Heirs festival on Saturday 9 March, in partnership with the Diocese of York and the Yorkshire North and East Methodist District.

The festival starts with a service giving thanks for the role that women of faith, past and present, have on our lives. After the service, women in positions of leadership, including Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, will host a marketplace, offering conversations and activities to visitors.

Two specially designed trails will also be available throughout the day. ‘Women in the Minster’ will journey through the cathedral, following in the steps of women of faith who have played a part in creating the magnificent building and supporting the life of the Minster. An outdoor trail will explore the City of York to discover and celebrate diverse women who have transformed their communities over the centuries.

The Revd Catriona Cumming, Succentor at York Minster, said:

“We are delighted to be part of this amazing festival, celebrating and encouraging the leadership of women and girls in our communities. This will be a brilliant day of creativity, conversation and celebration.”

Hilda’s Heirs festival is free to attend. Free tickets can be booked in advance via the York Minster website.

And Bradford Cathedral will be marking Mothering Sunday with its primary school-aged community choir ‘Grace Notes’ singing Richard Shephard’s ‘Song of Mary’ a setting of the Magnificat – before the Dean invites the congregation to physically hug the building at the end of the service.

Cathedrals are celebrating women this week with exhibitions, worship and special events to International Women’s Day and Mothering Sunday.

The Dean, the Very Revd Andy Bowerman, explained:

“Clypping is an old English word which means embracing and during the Mothering Sunday service – as we give thanks for our Mother Church – everyone is encouraged to form a circle outside, face the church, hold hands and so clyppe, or embrace, her. 

“It is a way of showing our thanks to God for our Church and asking him to bless it and all that happens in and through her.  It perhaps also reminds us that we are joined together as a community to weave Jesus into the rich and diverse fabric of the City of Bradford and beyond.”

The Revd Pete Gunstone, Minor Canon for Worship and Nurture, said:

“Mothering Sunday has come to be known as ‘Mother’s Day’, a day on which mothers and the gift of mothering in all its forms is celebrated. However, Mothering Sunday is a day when Christians celebrate the mothering role of the Church as the Body of Christ. The imagery of baptism is one of being reborn, and that rebirth in baptism is the work of the Holy Spirit, operating through the Church.

“Moreover, Christians play an essential role in each other’s lives as we nurture each other to grow and become mature in Christ, just as a mother does for her children. So, on Mothering Sunday this year, we will be celebrating the role that the Church – the fellowship of all those who are following Jesus Christ – plays in bringing us to faith and nurturing us in faith.”

All our cathedrals will be marking International Women’s Day and Mothering Sunday – do check your local cathedral to find out more.