Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission in Hayesville plans to expand
HAYESVILLE — A Catholic community that sprouted up in Lance Cove more than 57 years ago will now get a new home, as Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission has just completed the purchase of a building on Highway 64 West in Hayesville that it plans to renovate.
There have been a couple of steps along the journey for the Immaculate Heart of Mary community, going from Lance Cove, to St. Mary's Chapel in Hayesville, to its current building. The community, a mission of St. William Church in nearby Murphy, has outgrown its current church on Highway 64 West. The mission now has about 240 registered families, up from 137 families in 2000.
The 8-acre site and building they have purchased, which formerly housed Smith Power Sports (SPS), will provide them with greater visibility and more space, particularly to accommodate special celebrations.
The road to this point has not been a straight or easy path, however. But that hasn't deterred the faithful from their goal of improving their worship facilities and offering more programs to the wider community, which is located southeast of Murphy in the mountains of western North Carolina.
"The process actually began in 2005 when we made the determination that additional space was needed for the ministry of our parish," said Father George Kloster, pastor. "We started the process with the Diocese of Charlotte planning office and a building committee.
"In 2007 we were sued by neighbors who claimed that we could not put a parking lot on property that the parish owned behind the church. The Superior Court in Clay County ruled against us in 2008, but the N.C. Court of Appeals in 2010 reversed that judgment, allowing us to proceed.
"In the meantime two events happened: we found that the infrastructure costs at the present church would be very high; the Smith Power Sports building became available. After a thorough evaluation of the SPS building, we decided in consultation with our contractor and liturgical architect that this building could be adapted as a ministry center with enough space to serve the IHM community for decades to come."
The 38,000-square-foot building will initially include a church that can seat up to 400 people, a commons area with seating for more than 350 people, offices and meeting rooms downstairs, and seven classrooms upstairs and another meeting room upstairs. There will also be a chapel that can seat 50.
The mission's memorial garden will be moved to the new location, with hopes for a columbarium in the future.
"This new facility will provide twice as much usable space," said Maureen Ripper, communications chairperson for the building committee. "There will be 11,000 square feet for future expansion. ...It will be a beautiful Catholic center."
Ripper noted, "There has been a great need for kitchen renovations to accommodate parish dinners and funeral meals. In the past, there has had to be a limit put on the amount of people who could sign up for social functions.
She added that the new property will also have "sorely needed" space for classes and meetings, and it offers improved parking.
"This is not where we expected to be when we started in 2005, but we believe that the Holy Spirit has been present and at work for us," Father Kloster said.
A capital campaign to raise needed funds for the project will kick off on Saturday, July 21, with Mass in the new building located at 1433 Hwy. 64. An open house and parish dinner will follow the 4 p.m. Mass.
A capital campaign committee is being formed. A date has not been set for the renovations to begin.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy