Saturday, 14 June 2014

Father's Day: A Challenge for the Church!

Tomorrow is Father's Day in the UK, and it's a day that I have come to detest. It would seem to most of the population that Father's Day is a day to celebrate all the wonderful achievements and support fathers do; well there are people like me who can honestly say the only good thing my biological father did for me was being present at the conception. My biological father is somewhat absent, we don't share the same interests and drifted further and further apart since my parents separated. You may have just read that and think I should make more of an effort well I can 100% tell you that I have tried over many years making visits to see him, invited him to events etc but it's a very one side affair and it leaves me feeling even more resentful of him! I've spent numerous occasions speaking to my mother about my father and she agrees it's his loss and he is losing out at spending times with his only grandchildren too.

I have yet to decide if I am going to attend church tomorrow as I really cannot face a sermon talking about biological dads, it would be so much better if a sermon was preached on our Heavenly Father, or whom I like to call daddy. I struggled with the term father for God as it was just too formal and authoritative, and then something clicked and I started to see God in a more child like way hence how I refer to him as my daddy. 

I remember one Father's Day attending a church service in which the person leading the church service asked a rhetorical question all of us have wonderful positive memories of our fathers. I remember thinking at the time I want to stand up and challenge that, but I didn't I walked out half way through the service and saw many other people walk out too; what makes it even worse is that nobody from the church was there to support these people as they walked out, a simple cup of tea and "would you like to chat?" or more acknowledgment from the speaker to get into the real world, we don't live in a perfect world hence the reason earth is not called heaven. 

To anyone out there preaching tomorrow please think about all the people who you will be sharing your message with, we do not all have dads who make us smile, laugh or applaud. Some of your congregation may feel like me, that their fathers have let them down, they didn't offer support and love. They may not even have memories of their fathers or if they do they may be unpleasant ones. Please do seriously think before you preach tomorrow and make sure you have in place pastoral teams to support people who find tomorrow a difficult day. 

My top 5 tips for Father's Day
  • Do not assume every father is perfect and everyone has a positive experience of their father.
  • Do talk about how difficult some people find Father's Day and the reasons why.
  • Talk about our Heavenly Father as well as biological fathers.
  • Use different words to talk about fathers, e.g. daddy, dad, father etc as some people find it easier to relate to.
  • Pray for all who find Father's Day difficult as well as giving thanks for good things fathers do.
  • Make sure there is a pastoral support team in place for anyone who finds the service particularly difficult.

I hope that this blog will challenge some people within the church to think about this issue. I hope and pray for wisdom for all taking part in services tomorrow; I will be praying for all those who will find tomorrow a difficult day.

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