Tucked beside the Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church is steadily working to meet spiritual needs as well as basic human needs in life.
The church was formed 25 years ago, but has been in its current location for 10 years. The Rev. Mark Forbes took over leadership of the church in 2008.
Forbes says about three-fourths of the congregation live in the Mooresville/Lake Norman area.
But, you don’t have to be a member of St. Patrick’s church to benefit from a long list of outreach services and ministries.
“Spiritual Living” is an online resource for people who want to apply spirituality to their lives without being a member of a church,” says Forbes. He encourages anyone to check out the church website www.welcomestpat.org, or sign up on Twitter or Facebook.
St. Patrick’s offers meditation classes which include contemplative prayer time.
“It’s a weekly class followed by meditative silence,” said Forbes. He feels that it is a time to reach out spiritually not necessarily on a religious level. “There appears to be a contemporary movement to reclaim our meditative heritage. These sessions have been life affirming for me and they can also have health benefits.”
“Be the Sermon Sunday’s” includes a service project and an abbreviated Eucharist. One service project is called, “Stop Hunger Now,” which involves packing and shipping nutritious dehydrated meals to other countries. They ship the meals a few times a year.
If you are an animal lover, St. Patrick’s offers Blessing of the Animals as part of the Feast of St. Francis. Along with general blessings there is a prayer for special needs of all types of pets. This annual event takes place in early October.
Through a national program called, “Church Next,” anyone can have access to hundreds of classes that focus on a wide range of religious and spiritual topics. This is a collaborative effort. The church pays a fee for the classes. Interested participants can use the service free of charge by going through the church web-site and sending an email request to Rev. Forbes.
St. Patrick’s partners with the Christian Mission by donating canned goods. Congregants are asked to bring one can of food every Sunday. Church members also serve meals through the Mooresville Soup Kitchen.
During the winter months St. Patrick’s works with Davidson United Methodist Church to assist their homeless neighbors who participate in the Urban Ministries - Room in the Inn Program. The church offers transportation, food, shelter, hygiene assistance and clothing.
A new program recently launched by St. Patrick’s is the Hispanic Outreach Ministry. “We’ve been working on this effort for three years. We want to build bridges, make connections and provide a spiritual home,” said Forbes. He also writes a weekly blog. He says, “The blog serves as a cultivation of spirituality that transcends religious institutions.”
St. Patrick’s also partners with “Solace for Children,” a nonprofit program based in the Lake Norman area. Local churches pay for children from war-torn countries to get medical care for free. Host families help children get the care they need. Rev. Forbes said, “Another goal of the program is to sow seeds for future peace.”
There are about 500 active members at St. Patrick’s. The number of members who attend regularly is about 170. It’s a good example of how a group of committed people can accomplish great things together. You can learn more about programs, projects and ministries through the church website or call 704-663-5659.
Rev. Forbes says, “We believe in the strength of small groups. The more intimately we bond with one another, the better Christians we become.”
However people choose to connect with their spirituality Forbes says, “God will do what God will do.”
Charlene Price-Patterson is a freelance writer. Have a church related story in the Lake Norman or South Charlotte area? Email Charlene at CPPCityNews.com.
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church 164 Fairview Road Mooresville. 704-663-5659, www.welcomestpat.org.