50 years of St. Patrick’s: A long history of community service | SierraSun.com

50 years of St. Patrick’s: A long history of community service

Rev. Clare C. Novak
Special to the Bonanza
St. Pat's outdoor labyrinth is a meditation tool for listening to the longing of the soul.
Courtesy St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church |

Editor’s note

This is the second in a three-part series of stories about the history of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, leading up to the Silver & Gold Gala on Oct. 18.

Click here to read part one.

Click here to read part two.

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If you go

What: St. Patrick’s Silver & Gold Anniversary, honoring the Rev. Dr. David J. Mussatti

Silver: 25 years worshiping in our sanctuary

Gold: 50 years serving Incline Village

Good as Gold: Dave Mussatti’s inspiring leadership

When: Sunday, October 18, 10 a.m. festive worship service at St. Pat’s, 341 Village Blvd.

When: 5 p.m., same day, Silver & Gold Gala at The Chateau, 955 Fairway Blvd.

Tickets: Fine Dining, Music, Memories, Auction & Raffle, $85 person, on sale at www.TahoeEpiscopal.org

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — From our earliest days to the present, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church has set an intention: not only to welcome the community at large, but also to serve it.

This year, we celebrate that 50-year history of service in Incline Village, with gratitude for the building that’s been home to us and many others for the last 25. Its design and use reflect this congregation’s vision: to uplift, to heal, and to inspire.

We also love to host celebrations! So we’re inviting everyone in the Village to help us mark our important anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 18, with a festive worship service at 10 a.m. and our “Silver & Gold Gala” at The Chateau. Our door is open wide for these festivities — as it always has been to our neighbors.

St. Pat’s current campus was situated at the heart of Incline Village to connect to villagers’ hearts. Planners of the current building were clearly eager to have it used by community groups.

Bonanza reports from 1990 shared the news that this facility was being built with local needs in mind. St. Pat’s classrooms were to be a base for American Red Cross offices and classes, Special Olympics staff, and a drug and alcohol counseling program for teens.

Even the sanctuary, with seating for 220, was to be outfitted with a moveable altar and pulpit so that it could easily accommodate community music and drama performances.

A unique contribution to the North Shore was the inclusion of the Tahoe Memorial Columbarium. With no in-ground cemetery due to environmental concerns, our community lacked suitable burial arrangements for those who expressed a desire to remain near the lake after death.

The columbarium, with wall-recessed compartments for urns containing cremated remains, was therefore designed with the beauty of marble and mosaic panels in a Lake Tahoe motif — and made available to all faiths.

As the church planners prayed, our building has indeed served as a community center as well as a sanctuary of worship. With leadership from The Rev. Dr. Dave Mussatti (whom we honor at our Gala) and Carla Hanson, St. Pat’s was the incubator for Incline’s Children’s Cabinet, a community collaboration involving schools, nonprofits, and churches on behalf of families and children.

Its legacy lives on today through Parasol and Tahoe Family Solutions, as does our commitment to community health through the Twelve Step groups who meet nightly in our classrooms.

Youth programs have also filled the building — from nursery schools to a very popular puppeteering group in the mid 1990s! And the arts have flourished, with regular use of the St. Pat’s sanctuary by musical groups ranging from classical guitar festivals to Sierra Nevada College choirs to The Orchestra and Community Choral Artists of the Tahoe Area (Toccata), founded by parishioners James and Nancy Rawie.

James remembers, “Toccata has enjoyed a relationship with St. Pat’s since our beginning 10 years ago, and we look forward to many more years of this wonderful symbiotic friendship. If The Revs. Jim Beebe and Dave Mussatti hadn’t given us a master key to the building and said ‘come on in,’ no strings attached, Toccata would not be where it is today.”

We also carry forward the spiritual mission of our founding with small groups meeting weekly in our Chapel and Library — including no-cost, drop-in guided meditation groups; a “Seekers’ Circle” book club; and a lively Sunday Forum to discuss topics both current and universal.

All are open to seekers of all faith paths, as is our outdoor stone labyrinth. A beautiful part of our campus (catch it now before the snow flies!), the labyrinth is a place for meditation in motion, perfectly suited to our community of hikers and outdoor lovers. It is in St. Pat’s tradition of healing practices to restore wholeness in body, mind, and spirit.

Central to those practices is regular and generous giving through our Outreach Committee to worthy causes both local, national, and international.

An early supporter of the North Shore and Truckee coalition United for Action, St. Pat’s gives steady dollars and volunteer hours to meet our neighbors’ basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.

And we never forget the need for celebration! Many in town know us for our annual, free, and family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day dinner—a “gathering of the green” with traditional Irish food, music, and dancing.

We know you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick. Just as you don’t need to be Episcopalian to be served by St. Pat’s. We welcome you!

Rev. Clare C. Novak is an interspiritual counselor, group leader, and member of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.. For more about us, please go to http://www.TahoeEpiscopal.org.