Father’s Day, You Can Thank a Methodist
We give thanks for the men of virtue who have touched our lives.
Those who have shown us kindness, courage, generosity,
truth, compassion, faith, and love.
Bless all sons and brothers and fathers and grandfathers
who reveal a glimpse of your loving presence on earth.
(The Rev. Jane Sommers, a retired United Methodist pastor)
It seems that like Mother’s Day, we can thank a couple of Methodists for Father’s Day too!
The story goes that two United Methodist churches claim to have originated the first Father’s Day.
In Spokane, Washington in 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd listened to a Mother’s Day sermon at Central Methodist Episcopal Church. Dodd’s mother had died 11 years earlier and because her father had raised their six children alone she felt moved to honor her father, and fathers everywhere, with a special day as well. So Dodd proposed her idea to local religious leaders in the city and as a result, June 19, 1910, was designated as the first Father’s Day with sermons honoring fathers presented throughout the city. Newspapers across the country picked up the story and the popularity of Father’s Day spread with several presidents declaring it a holiday and finally in 1972 Richard Nixon established the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.
However unbeknownst to Spokane and the rest of the country, another Methodist church a couple of thousand miles away in West Virginia preached their first Father’s Day sermon a couple of years earlier on July 5, 1908 as a result of the efforts of Grace Golden Clayton and a mine explosion that left almost 1,000 children fatherless in that area. Grace, distraught by the thought of all those children growing up without a father’s guidance asked her pastor at the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church to set aside a special day to commemorate fathers and she chose the Sunday closest to the birthday of her own late father, who was also a Methodist preacher. Unlike the Spokane first Father’s Day, the Fairmont West Virginia tributes occurred without any fan fair outside of Fairmont and thus Spokane tends to get the credit for the idea by being the ones who brought Father’s Day to national attention.
This Sunday at Sterling United Methodist Church we will acknowledge fathers and continue the sermon series titled The First Christians with part four.
And, why not take dad out to lunch at the church on Father’s Day! This Sunday, following our 11 AM Contemporary Service there will be a time of fellowship with pizza and salad in the Gallihugh fellowship hall. All are welcome to come.
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