Meeting needs of growing congregation

Published 8:41 pm Thursday, November 12, 2009

St Catherine’s, The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama’s newest parish, began at the Chelsea Middle school with a handful of families in the spring of 2007. A few months later they began renting the old K-Springs Church building.

“The past two years have been an incredible journey for the people who now make up the family of St Catherine’s in Chelsea,” said the Rev. John Mark Ford, Rector.

They hope to build a building of their own within the next three years, across Shelby County 39 from Chelsea Park, on 20 acres of land, donated to the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

Meanwhile, the parish has grown to an official membership of 94, Rev. Ford said. They have done extensive repairs, cleaning and decorating to the interior of the K-Springs building and are busy working to help advance the Kingdom of God in the Chelsea area.

Several special services are planned for the holiday season, including a Christmas Eve midnight mass, which begins at 10:30 p.m.

“The beautiful words of the prophet Isaiah are read, Psalms are sung and the birth story (usually from the Gospel of Luke) is proclaimed. Prayers are offered and Holy Communion is shared and Christmas is ushered into our lives once again in a meaningful and wonder-filled way,” the Rector said.

“Whether someone is Episcopalian or not, a midnight mass is a breathtaking way to celebrate the birth of the Christ child.”

A children’s Christmas pageant and a service geared toward kids is also planned for 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

“St. Catherine’s is a place where … each person’s unique experience in meeting and understanding Christ is celebrated,” he said. And they look forward to continuing their partnership with other local churches in building the body of Christ in Chelsea.

Rev. Ford said he and his wife Charlene are building a house in Chelsea and looking forward to becoming a bigger part of Chelsea.

The church may be reached at 618-8367 or by e–mail St. Catherine’s can be found at

Shelba Nivens can be reched by e–mail at