BUCKHANNON – On Thursday evening, folks gathered to celebrate a milestone for the Upshur Parish House and to honor Marvin and Sarah Carr Day.
Director Kristi Wilkerson thanked those who gathered for the June 9 event, which was held to mark the 30th anniversary of the Upshur Cooperative Parish.
“It is a great day to be here celebrating the ministry and mission that we do here at Upshur Parish House,” Wilkerson said. “It was in the spring of 1992 that the Upshur Cooperative Parish was incorporated, and this building began as a physical place of ministry for them, now known as the Upshur Parish House.”
Wilkerson said from day one, the work of the Upshur Parish House has been an ecumenical cooperation.
“We are grateful for the many churches in Upshur County of all denominations that have partnered with us for years,” she said. “Although many area churches had worked together informally for many years to assist our neighbors, it was the flood of 1985, followed by several coal mines closing with many individuals losing their livelihoods, that sparked the formation of the Upshur Parish House.
“Let us give thanks to the founders who organized the Upshur Parish House – those who are with us today and those who are no longer here to celebrate with us. What tremendous lives of faith and service led them to create a wonderful place of ministry and mission work.”
Two of those organizers were recognized Thursday.
Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders read a proclamation that declared June 9 as Marvin and Sarah Carr Day and celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Upshur Parish House and its mission and ministry.
“What a tremendous vision [the Carrs] had for creating a place like the Upshur Parish House,” Wilkerson said.
Marvin Carr credited the local community, saying “everything is made possible by people working together.”
“This has been a community project,” Marvin said. “Sarah was a person who responded to the flood (of 1985) early. She and Brother Matt formed the Crosslines organization to help people in need, and out of that came the Upshur Parish House. Sarah was the first director, followed by Carol Duffield, Alicia Rapking and Kristi Wilkerson. Each of those directors made a contribution, and the work began to explode. It is a whole different ball game now, and Kristi and the team do a wonderful job.”
Sarah Carr said it was great to look out and see so many people who helped the Upshur Parish House become a reality. She reflected on the early days of the organization.
“The flood was going on, and Brother Matt from the Catholic Church and I met. He asked if people were just running around all over the place looking for stuff and I said, ‘Yes,’” Sarah recalled. “Out of all that, he said, let’s just call all of the social workers and people from the churches and we will use the Catholic Church for a meeting. We all sat around and talked about it, and out of that came the idea that we would organize ourselves as best as we could.”
Sarah Carr said it was a small beginning.
“It has been like a snowball – it’s like we rolled it in the snow and it got bigger and bigger and bigger, and we needed more help and got more volunteers,” Sarah said. “It has been exciting to be a part of it. We have young and old people, and I am happy to be a part of this.”
Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner commended the Carrs as well as the staff and volunteers of the Upshur Parish House for their dedication to loving their neighbors in all aspects of mission, ministry and service for more than three decades.
The Upshur Parish House is located at 68 College Ave. in Buckhannon and provides a plethora of services to its neighbors in need. Some of their services include free lunches prepared and provided to anyone in need; a clothes closet where family members or individuals can receive free clothing and household items; emergency financial support with utility bills including gas, electric, water and rent; a food pantry which offers emergency food packages, personal care items, feminine hygiene items, and baby items on weekdays and from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday evenings; backpacks and school supplies for students; and holiday food baskets for those in need.
The Parish House is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The Clothes Closet, located at 47 Sedgewick St., is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. They can be reached by calling 304-472-0743. The Upshur Parish House and the Clothes Closet both have Facebook pages and additional information about the Upshur Parish House is located on their website, www.parishhouse.org.