GRAFTON—The International Mother’s Day Shrine board outdid themselves for the 110th anniversary of Mother’s Day. The shrine was overflowing with beautiful floral arrangements, the organist was flawless, and there was an impressive turnout.
On display in the historic sanctuary were three paintings, on loan from West Virginia Wesleyan College, in Buckhannon. The three paintings depicted well known Grafton residents Lawson L. Loar, Virginia Lee Wright Loar and Mary Wheeler Loar.
There was also a painting by Grace Brown, donated by her daughter Sara “Sally” Higginbotham entitled “Mother’s Day National Shrine-Andrews Methodist Church.”
Board of Trustees Chairman, Marvin Gelhausen, started the afternoon with a welcome and the announcement of this year’s restoration project. The project chosen was to restore the stained glass windows.
Gelhausen said that the cost for all of the church’s 27 windows will be around $500,000. The board hopes to raise half of the funds and match the rest with grants.
Gelhausen also mentioned that The International Mother’s Day Shrine is one of only 16 national landmarks in WV. While it was known as Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church at one time, it now has no religious affiliation and takes no funds from the Methodist church.
The shrine played host speakers, including one lady with a tie to Anna Jarvis.
“She is a world traveler. She has done most anything anybody would think they want to do…in spades,” Grafton’s Mayor, Peggy Barney, introduced her cousin E. Maxine Bruhns.
Bruhns is, as far as anyone knows, the last living relative of Anna Jarvis. Bruhns has been incredibly generous with the Anna Jarvis Museum as well as the Mother’s Day Shrine.
Bruhns, at 95, is the Director of the Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange programs at the University of Pittsburgh. She has traveled extensively all over the world and speaks 11 languages.
Her talk on Anna Jarvis and her family was both fascinating and colorful, lending a point of view on the special holiday and the founder that had never been captured before.
Musical selections were provided, lending sweet melodies to the day.
Church of the Covenant Organist, Rick Kennedy, accompanied soloist Leo Roe on an incredibly moving “To Where You Are,” while Abby Rucker, accompanied by her father, Chris Rucker, on guitar, did a beautiful rendition of “Reckless Love”.”
Mother of the year 2018, Martha Grinnan Cole Shannabarger was radiant surrounded by her large and loving family.
She thanked everyone for being named Mother of the Year 2018 and told a wonderful story about how her grandmother actually used to work for Anna Jarvis when she was a girl.
Father James O’Connor, from St. Augustine Church gave the invocation and the benediction. Rev. Kelly Martin from The Church of the Good Shepard was also in attendance to introduce Martha Shanabarger.
Church of the Covenant’s Pastor Casey Lieneman gave a funny and touching Mother’s Day address on the mother of Moses, Jochebed.
“We love mothers for who they are,” said Lieneman.
The afternoon ended with a lovely gathering in the Assembly room of the Shrine.
Maxine Bruhns regaled everyone with stories from all over the world and of working with Albert Schweitzer in Africa, while Martha Shanabarger floated from table to table greeting everyone.
Many in attendance agreed that it was a perfect end to a lovely service.