Now is a beautiful time to walk down South Street. The trees that border Mimosa Cemetery are in full bloom. You can see kids on the playground in front of Davidson Elementary, soaking up the sunshine and counting down the school days. And the covered bridge that connects Davidson to Cornelius could be pictured on a postcard.
You may not even notice an unassuming, one-story brick building, sitting in the shadow of the school. But if you were to look closer, you'd notice people coming and going all week. The building, which is owned by the Calvary Presbyterian Church, serves as a meeting place for six groups - Calvary Presbyterian Church, Church of the Good Shepard, Davidson Parks and Recreation, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)-Davidson Friends Meeting, Lake Norman Jewish Congregation, and Karen Fesperman's Girl Scout Troop 363.
Though these groups share the same space, they may only see someone from another group in passing.
So, the folks from Calvary Presbyterian Church, who meet there for services on Sunday morning, decided to change that. "We thought it would be nice if we got to know them and for them to get to know us," said Reis Montgomery, a retired minister who is serving the church. They planned a "gathering" last month, and Montgomery called it "a splendid occasion which far surpassed expectations."
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Montgomery, who has served at Calvary Church since 1989, has watched over the years as organizations come and go. The groups that use it now, however, use the space for various purposes. Lake Norman Jewish Congregation is there on Saturday mornings for Sabbath School. Church of the Good Shepard meets at the YMCA on Sundays, but they use the facility for meetings throughout the week, Davidson Parks and Recreation holds camps and classes there, Fesperman has Girl Scout meetings, and Calvary and Davidson Friends hold services.
Though it sounds like a logistical nightmare, Montgomery said that it runs very smoothly.
The "gathering," as they called it, gave those from these very diverse groups a chance to meet, mingle and get to know one another. Around 50 people attended, including Mayor John Woods, who represented Parks and Recreation. A representative from each group told others how they used the space. "I think we all felt that it was extremely worthwhile, and we're very pleased and glad we did it. It was very meaningful," said Montgomery.
Karen Fesperman shared the sentiment. "That building (and the gathering) pulled together into one place people whose paths might not have crossed otherwise. As each group shared their mission, there was a great sense of community as we heard how one roof serves us all in unique ways," she said.