Mother’s Day has Methodist Roots

In the 1860s, before there was an official Mother’s Day holiday in the U.S., a Methodist mom named Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day.” Ann organized women’s clubs in the 1860s to serve suffering mothers and children and to work for peace because they could see the ravages of war in their husbands and in their sons resulting from the Civil War.

Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis had expressed hope that one day a memorial would be established for all mothers, living and dead.  After Ann’s death in 1905, her daughter Anna began to work on fulfilling her mother’s wish.  Anna envisioned Mother’s Day as a time to write a personal letter to your mother, a time to send her a simple carnation (a flower in which the petals hold tight like a mother’s love) and a time to visit or attend church together.

On May 10, 1908, the third anniversary of Ann’s death, a program was held at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton and in Philadelphia, launching the observance of a general memorial day for all mothers on the second Sunday in May.

For the first official Mother’s Day service in 1908, Anna distributed carnations to the participating mothers and thus carnations became symbols of the purity, strength and endurance of motherhood.

The first Mother’s Day proclamation was issued by West Virginia’s governor in 1910. The day was celebrated in most states in 1911, and in 1914 the U.S. House and Senate approved a resolution proclaiming the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day, which was signed by President Woodrow Wilson.

This Sunday we will recognize Mother’s Day at our own Sterling United Methodist church with the same symbols of the purity, strength, and endurance of motherhood by having carnations for moms.

And to make this Mother’s Day even more special, the 9 AM Traditional Service and the 11 AM Contemporary Service will be presented by our youth.

Our 10 AM Amigos Spanish language service will be presented by Pastora Marcela Jarman.

There are opportunities for service this week as well.

On Friday afternoon and evening, our GRACE Ministries food and clothing distribution will be set up for the actual distribution which will occur from 8 AM to 10 AM on Saturday morning.  Volunteers are needed for both Friday and Saturday.  Come by and help in service to residents in need from our local Sterling area.

On Sunday during the 10 AM Growing Deeper at Ten hour you can also participate in helping a ministry that serves our Sterling neighborhood by packing the “backpacks” for our Backpack Buddies Program.

Donations are being accepted ahead of Sunday’s packing event and can be left at the donation center in the church lobby or the office:

  • Individual Breakfasts
  • Noodle or Mac & Cheese Individual meals
  • Canned Meals
  • Fruit Cups
  • Juice Boxes (not pouches)
  • Milk Boxes
  • Snacks

Sterling UMC is a community church and all are welcome to be our guest, attend our services and support our mission efforts.  Please visit our website often for updates.  To subscribe to our weekly email newsletter please send your email contact information to 



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