At the crossroads of a changing community

Park Street UMC once served working class folks in the mill hills of East Belmont. As it celebrates 100 years, the church is adapting to the needs of a changing community.

On October afternoons, a pumpkin patch on the edge of campus welcomes families for fall-themed photos and a pumpkin sale. Visitors come to the multi-purpose hall for a Wednesday free soup kitchen. Two dozen youth enjoy dinner and activities on Sunday evening fellowship night.

At the center of it all is Rev. David Hiatt, a 37-year-old pastor who has led the congregation in finding ways to stay relevant to the people of Belmont.

“Park Street has always been known as a community-focused church,” says David, now in his seventh year as pastor. “A church where the community feels comfortable and safe. We try to be a blessing and to interact on as many projects as we can.”

The 275-member church sits a few blocks from downtown, where old mill buildings are finding new life as apartments, shops and restaurants. No longer a hub for textiles and manufacturing, Belmont embraces its small town charm and proximity to Lake Wylie, the Catawba River and Crowders Mountain.

Changing with the times

David credits the Foundation for supporting Park Street’s efforts to create a more modern, accessible campus. The church added new signage, refurbished a welcome space, bought new chairs for the multi-purpose hall and repaved the parking lot with a low-interest loan through the United Methodist Development Fund loan program. An endowment managed by the Foundation provides a lasting source of annual income.

The Foundation has also supported David in his career development. He earned scholarships to attend Duke Divinity School, where he graduated in 2009. He’s completed the Reynolds Program in Church Leadership and is currently enrolled in the Reynolds Leadership Academy for Evangelism and Discipleship.

It adds up to a pretty full schedule for David and his wife, Mae, who live in Belmont with daughters Alma (age 4) and Amelia (2 months) and the family dog, Chipper, named for the former third baseman on David’s beloved baseball team, the Atlanta Braves.

“The Foundation has been a part of my ministry since even before it began,” David said. “My very first congregations had a relationship. Knowing that I have people I can call, who are there to steer me in the right direction, has been extremely beneficial.”

I appreciate the Foundation's work in opening my mind to see all the different possibilities.

- Rev. David Hiatt

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