More than 700 members, guests, long-time friends and clergy of South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church gathered Sept. 7 to celebrate breaking ground on their permanent sanctuary. In the photos, youth and church charter members join in the groundbreaking. In 1991 when the Presbyterian Church USA congregation was chartered, 193 attended the church. Now membership is 750, according to Nancy Metzler, Director of Hospitality and Connection. Construction of the new sanctuary will take about 14 months, according to South Mecklenburg pastor Dr. Matthew Brown. “We look forward to opening the doors of our new sacred space to the community in 2009 and it will be just in time to celebrate the joy of the Advent season,” Dr. Brown said.
Church members used the celebration to collect school supplies. Collection bins for Classroom Central and Salvation Army's Center of Hope brimmed with more than 1,400 pencils and pens, 17,250 sheets of notebook paper, 203 spiral notebooks and countless other school items, according to Metzler. In response to recent hurricanes and flooding experienced by a sister church in the Bayonnais area of Haiti, the congregation also collected more than $5,700 in a special offering designated for emergency relief efforts. South Mecklenburg Presbyterian charter member Actionnel Fleurisma founded a school in Bayonnais, which now educates 1,500 students. South Mecklenburg is a major supporter of the church and school as are several other Charlotte-area churches.