South Charlotte

South Meck Presbyterian’s delayed Shrove Tuesday feast has fresh, hot pancakes

Charles Casey, foreground, Pat Hopkins and Royce Harmon prepare pancakes at South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church.
Charles Casey, foreground, Pat Hopkins and Royce Harmon prepare pancakes at South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church. COURTESY OF NANCY METZLER

Pastor Matt Brown and volunteers will flip flapjacks at South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church for church members, guests and community members 5:30p.m. Feb.24.

Bad weather delayed the event, which had been scheduled for Shrove Tuesday on Feb.17, the traditional day for feast and celebration.

“In many parts of the world, it is a tradition to eat pancakes the day before the beginning of Lent,” said Terry Gaines, coordinator of the fifth annual Shrove Pancake Supper at South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church.

Gaines brought the idea for the event to South Mecklenburg Presbyterian from her church in Atlanta.

“Shrove Tuesday” is another name for what the French call “Mardi Gras“ or “Fat Tuesday.”

Mardi Gras celebrations date back to 17th-century Europe.

America celebrated its first Mardi Gras in 1703 at Fort Louis de la Mobile, now the city of Mobile, Ala. Today it’s a huge event in New Orleans, including carnivals, parades, food, jazz and costumed merrymakers.

“Like our neighbors in New Orleans, we’ll listen to live jazz, played on the piano by Audrey McConnell, director of music,” said Nancy Metzler, director of hospitality and connection at the church. “We’ll wear green-, gold- and purple-beaded necklaces. The children will have festive masks.

“We’ll feast on pancakes – topped with syrup, whipped cream and sprinkles – and bacon and sausage. We spare no calories,” Metzler said.

Annual greeters Barb and Pat Malo bring the spirit of Mardi Gras with them from their time spent in New Orleans.

For five years the attendance has grown at the South Mecklenburg Presbyterian event, and participants range in age from 18 months to 88 years.

After pancakes, children are invited to decorate and stuff snack bags for homeless children served by A Child’s Place.

“We also use the event to support our monthly breakfast (that) we prepare and serve for the women and children who call the Salvation Army Center of Hope home,” said Gaines. Guests are asked to bring pancake mix, syrup, grits and Tang drink mix to donate.

“I know I always leave the event inspired by the spirit of hospitality and service that to me is so evident at SMPC,” said Metzler.

June Noe is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for June? Email her at jknoe@carolina.rr.com.

Want to go?

South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church is at 8601 Bryant Farms Road at the intersection of Blakeney Heath Road.

▪ To attend the weather-delayed Shrove Tuesday event at 5:30p.m. Feb.24, contact Nancy Metzler, nancy@smpchome.org, or visit www.smpchome.org.

▪ Suggested donation: $3 per person, $12 per family. Please bring donations of breakfast-food items (pancake mix, syrup, grits and Tang drink mix) to support SMPC’s monthly Center of Hope breakfast.

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