BUCKHANNON — Upshur Parish House (UPH) hosted a 30th anniversary celebration on Thursday, June 9 at 6 p.m. The event took place at UPH, located at 68 College Avenue. UPH has been serving “neighbors” as a mission project of the W.Va. United Methodist Church since 1992. A brief history of UPH is also included below.

“Although it originally began in response to the 1985 flood and the closure of several local coal mines which occurred shortly after the flood, several area churches of various denominations had worked together to help those in need for many years before.Upshur Parish House formalized these efforts to “love thy neighbour” in the spring of 1992. Today, Upshur Parish House offers various services and programs to its neighbors in need, including food pantry, financial assistance for rent and utilities, holiday meal boxes, clothing vouchers, thrift store, newborn layettes, hot meals, backpacks and school supplies, and referral to other agencies and community organizations The parish house is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and its thrift store, The Clothes Closet, is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 1 00 families visit the parish house each week for assistance,” UPH Executive Director Kristi Wilkerson said.

The 30-year celebration event began with opening remarks and a welcoming statement from current UPH Executive Director Kristi Wilkerson. Wilkerson’s comments were as follows; “Welcome – neighbors and community members, volunteers and staff, representatives of local churches of all denominations and representatives of the W.Va. Conference of The United Methodist Church, including world ministries, Cabinet and our bishop… Exciting day for Upshur Parish House In the spring of 1992, Upshur Cooperative Parish was incorporated and this building began as a physical place of ministry now known as Upshur Parish House. From day one the work here has been an ecumenical collaboration, and we are grateful to the many Upshur County churches of all denominations who have partnered with us over the years. worked together informally for some time to help our neighbours, – this is the 1985 flood followed by the closure of several coal mines and many people losing their livelihoods – which sparked the formation of Upshur Parish House. Give thanks to the founders who organized the UPH – those who are with us today and those who are no longer here to celebrate with us – what a wonderful life of faith and service led them to create such a wonderful place of ministry and missionary work.

Next, Buckhannon Town Recorder Randy Sanders presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Robbie Skinner to UPH founders Marvin and Sarah Carr. The proclamation read,

“Whereas Marvin H. Carr, III, and Sarah Lynch Carr have resided in Buckhannon, West Virginia, as active citizens for decades; and

Whereas Marvin and Sarah worked with other local leaders to establish Upshur Parish House in 1992 as a ministry location for the Upshur Cooperative Parish of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church; and

Whereas Marvin and Sarah responded to the crises of the 1985 flood and the closure of several coal mines in the area shortly thereafter by establishing the Upshur Parish House: and

Whereas Sarah has served the community as a church and community worker, as a deaconess and as the first director of the Upshur Parish House; and

Whereas Marvin served as Upshur parish coordinator of United Methodist Churches for nearly 50 years; and

Whereas Marvin and Sarah have maintained a commitment to ecumenical ministry with and for all of our neighbors in Upshur County; and

Whereas Marvin and Sarah have nurtured and mentored hundreds of university and ministry students in Christian education, outreach ministry, Appalachian studies, and local and national history; and

Whereas, Upshur Parish House, located in the Town of Buckhannon and Upshur County, is now celebrating 30 years of ministry and mission work, and continues to thrive as a community anchor in service to our neighbors in need through the strong foundation provided by the leadership, care and compassion of Marvin and Sarah; and

While Marvin and Sarah illustrated lives of true Christian discipleship,

Now, therefore, I, Robert N. Skinner, III, Mayor of the City of Buckhannon, West Virginia, do hereby proclaim June 9, 2022 as Marvin and Sarah Carr Day

The Town of Buckhannon commends Marvin and Sarah, and the staff and volunteers of Upshur Parish House, for their dedication to loving their neighbors in all aspects of mission, ministry and service for over 30 years.

Given under my hand and official seal of the City of Buckhannon, this 9th day of June 2022 Robert N. Skinner, III, Mayor.

Next, UPH founders Marvin and Sarah Carr spoke. It has been noted that they are both the original founders and that Sarah was the first director of UPH. Other comments were also made by two other former directors including Carol Duffield and Alicia Rapking. Rhett Dusenbury then presented a letter from Congressman Alex Mooney congratulating UPH for 30 years and thanking UPH for the work they do in serving the community. A neighbor of UPH, JP McKinley then stood and proclaimed his words of appreciation for everyone at UPH and shared his love for UPH as well as everyone there. The event concluded with W.Va. United Methodist Church Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball offering a prayer of rededication for the ministry and missionary work taking place at UPH.

After closing remarks, those in attendance gathered for refreshments and additional fellowship among “neighbours.”

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