June 2018


In the UK, USA and Canada, the third Sunday in June is Father's Day.  It’s a good time for sons and daughters to take their father to his favourite restaurant, or to watch a favoured sport, or whatever else he enjoys doing.   

How will you celebrate it this year?  If your own father cannot be with you, is there a ‘spare’ father somewhere in your church or your circle of friends whose children cannot be with him, and who would welcome some special treat on the day?

How do these special days ever get started, anyway?   Well, Father’s Day began because way back in 1909 there was a woman in Spokane, Washington, named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd.  That year she heard a church sermon about the merits of setting aside a day to honour one's mother. Mother's Day was just beginning to gather widespread attention in the United States at this time.  But Sonora Louise Smart Dodd knew that it was her father who had selflessly raised herself and her five siblings by himself after their mother had died in childbirth. So the sermon on mothers gave Sonora Louise the idea to petition for a day to honour fathers, and in particular, her own father, William Jackson Smart.

Sonora Louise soon set about planning the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane in 1910.   With support from the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA, her efforts paid off, and a ‘Father’s Day’ was appointed.  Sonora Louise had wanted Father’s Day to be on the first Sunday in June (since that was her father's birthday), but the city council didn't have time to approve it until later in the month.  And so on June 19, 1910, the first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane.

Gradually, other people in other cities caught on and started celebrating their fathers, too.  The rose was selected as the official Father's Day flower. Some people began to wear a white rose to honour a father who was dead, and a red one to honour a father who was living.  Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day - a permanent, national holiday.

Today, Father's Day is a great time to celebrate any sort of male role models, like uncles or grandfathers, as well as dads.   Certainly Father's Day has become a day for greeting card companies to rejoice, and sales of the most popular gifts for Dad (shirts, ties, and electric razors) increase considerably. Perhaps most telling of all, though, is how children continue to see their fathers:  in America, for example, more ‘collect calls’ to home are recorded on Father's Day than on any other day of the year!