Father’s Day

Video courtesy of The United Methodist Church

By Steve Beard –

Happy Father’s Day! Sonora Smart Dodd (1882-1978) is credited as the inspiration behind the campaign to inaugurate Father’s Day. She was one of six children raised in a single parent home by her father, a Civil War veteran, after the death of her mother. She told her pastor in Spokane, Washington, that Fathers should have a celebratory event like Mother’s Day.

Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont, West Virginia, held the first “Father’s Day” worship service on July 5, 1908. According to congregational history, Grace Golden Clayton told her pastor, the Rev. Thomas Webb, that the church should memorialize and honor the men who died in the Monongah Mining Disaster – seven miles from Fairmont – where 361 souls were lost. Of those men who perished, 250 were fathers. In the wake of the tragedy, around a thousand children were left fatherless.

Clayton understood how important a good father was to the stability of a family. She was the youngest of 11 children. Her father, the Rev. Fletcher Golden, was a Methodist minister and a Civil War veteran.


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