Midtown: Community

Longtime pastor leaving Fairmont UMC

Each Sunday night, Steve Hickle, pastor of Fairmont United Methodist Church, could be found playing his trumpet in front of the church to welcome worshipers to the Sunday Night Live service. But this weekend, he will be leaving the church after 22 years to be the Faith Outreach Coordinator for Stop Hunger Now. Church members will miss his music, his commitment to helping others and his leadership, they say.

“He has really been everyone’s pastor and really helped connect the church with the community, especially the lost and the least,” said Henry Jarrett, outreach chairman and a longtime member of Fairmont UMC

One of Hickle’s favorite roles as the pastor was helping to start the Sunday Night Live service at the church in 1994, he said.

“It’s been a real portal for people who have never been to church, been away from church for awhile, homeless men and women and people with special needs,” Hickle said.

Each Sunday night, a church bus brings residents from the Healing Place in Wake County to worship at the service. Many of those who have attended the service over the years found God and many have become members of Fairmont UMC.

Hickle put a priority on mission outreach and the congregation stepped up to lend a hand to many people. Fairmont UMC hosts Wake Interfaith Hospital Network several times a year, participates in the Crop Walk and provides free bagged lunches several times a week to people in need. Hickle also worked closely with N.C. State University and formed long-lasting partnerships. His love of music helped the music ministry at the church grow to include a hand bell choir and an 11-person ensemble jazz band.

Under his leadership, the church grew its ministry with addiction recovery groups, and 17 12-step programs meet at the church each week.

“Our church has been a welcoming place not only for meetings, but also if members need help with a funeral or wedding. I have been pleased to be a part of that,” Hickle said.

Hickle’s commitment the community spread far beyond church walls. He served on numerous boards, including Urban Ministries of Wake County and Mission House for Women. He also helped start Congregations for Social Justice and held a leadership position with the N.C. Council of Churches.

“The congregation is a welcoming church with an outward look to the community,” Hickle said. “It has been incredible to be part of the church and work with so many amazing and talented people.”

North Raleigh Presbyterian Church VBS

North Raleigh Presbyterian Church is holding Vacation Bible School with the theme “Daniel’s Captivity in Babylon” from Friday, June 22, to Sunday, June 24, at the church, 11905 Strickland Road, Raleigh. Children in preschool through fifth grade are invited to attend, and meals are provided. For more information, call 919-848-9529 or register at www.groupvbspro.com/vbs/hl/NRPC.

Church mentoring at Southeast Raleigh High

Joy of Discovery Lutheran Mission Church is looking for more volunteers to help congregation members mentor Southeast Raleigh High School students during the 2012-2013 school year. Mentors will work with students on personal finance, resume writing, interview skills, social etiquette, dressing for success and life after sports from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Mondays. For more information, visit www.joyofdiscovery.org or call 919-760-5482.

Raleigh Moravian Church helps build house

Last week, 17 women from Raleigh Moravian Church participated in the Women Build project for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and worked side-by-side with the new homeowner, a single mom of two girls. The women spent the day cutting and installing sheathing on the roof, reinforcing roof trusses and putting house wrap on the back of the house.

Living Word Family Church delivers care packages

Living Word Family Church in Wake Forest donated and delivered 175 care packages and 100 pairs of socks last month to homeless people in Moore Square. Throughout the month of May, members collected toiletries and also wrote personal notes of encouragement. At the end of the month, 42 volunteers from the church spent the morning passing out the care packages to those in need. The mission was part of the church’s monthly outreach program that helps the local community.

Asbury United Methodist Church community garden

The Asbury United Methodist Church community garden has donated more than 400 pounds of fresh produce this season to Plant A Row for the Hungry with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and other Wake County charities. The church is on target to exceed the 2,700 pounds of fruits and vegetables donated last year.

More than 55 church and community members leased a plot for the season in the community garden, which is in the former softball field at the church. Gardeners are responsible for planting and tending to their own gardens throughout the summer and must donate at least 50 percent of their harvest to charity. Volunteers also planted squash, okra, tomatoes and green beans along the edges of the garden, and all produce from these plants is donated.

Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at nrnews@newsobserver.com.