St. Patrick’s reaches out to assist Navajo churches


By Sally Neel
Special to The SUN
The people of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church have long enjoyed a special friendship with the citizens of Navajo Nation. This special relationship has manifested itself in a number of ways over the years as local parishioners have reached out to offer their care and assistance to their Native American friends.
Under the leadership of Jim Dorian, the parish has built gravesite crosses, repaired buildings, supplied solar lighting, cleaned and manicured the grounds, and most recently built a storage shed for the parish of St. Christopher’s in Bluff, Utah. A group of 15 people from St. Patrick’s packed trailers filled with building supplies, tools, food and other necessities. In a matter of three days, a beautiful new shed was built to allow the Navajos to store their outdoor equipment and supplies.
“Everyone really pulls together to do the work,” said Dorian. “It is amazing how much can be accomplished when we put our skills and commitment together for an important purpose. The shed was greatly needed and will serve them for many years to come.”
Others from St. Patrick’s go to serve in other ways, such as cooking for the crew, or pulling weeds and doing gardening. It is time well spent, filled with Christian camaraderie and fellowship, and the renewal of friendships.
Recently, St. Patrick’s acquired beautiful new chairs for its worship space. The old chairs were not sent to the trash bins, however. Instead, they are now being used by the Navajo Episcopal parishes of St. Christopher’s, St. John’s and St. Mary’s.
“They were thrilled to receive this gift,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s, “and it is a joy to know that the chairs will continue to be used and enjoyed.”
“Being the hands and feet of Christ is what we are called to be and to do,” said Neel. “We know that we are called to service, to assist our neighbors, to bring the love of God to all in need. Through this service, we are blessed and are brought closer to our own relationships with God. We see God in many faces and cultures and we are fed.”
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Sunday services are at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.