On this dark night, there is a light shining making the hearts of many who look to us in Charleston glad. The first Greek Revival church in Charleston has been saved from being sold and made into a house and income producing (church) offices, shops and apartments. The young and vibrant congregation of Redeemer Presbyterian Church closed today at the last minute on St. Andrews Lutheran Church on lower Wentworth St between Meeting and East Bay. It was bought from the 16 remaining of the old congregation who had joined another church and want to build a new church away from the historic city.
Many thanks to the people on my tour, especially the 50th birthday friends of Lisa from Tallahassee, Florida, the first who gave to keep this church a church. Thank you to others on my tour who wrote checks to Redeemer Church instead of to me. The congregation is of students at the College of Charleston, medical students, young people and young married couples who have committed to paying the loan of 1.6 million dollars! That is a big commitment; that’s what you call a leap of faith! It’s enough to make anybody want to help. This is the congregation that will see Charleston and America into the future. They support with groceries Lowcountry Crisis Ministries; they go and play with the kids of homeless shelter. They have Cru, young people who walk on the beach to interact with those needing spiritual guidance, the modern takeoff of Campus Crusade for Christ. They are dynamic movers and shakers, as the church should be, with reports of those reached being given on Sundays. They also sing beautifully with all those young pure voices. Craig Bailey is the upbeat, optimistic minister who is so comfortable being completely himself, trusting in the hilarious favor of the Giver of all good things. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly!
If Charleston cannot keep our churches holy, then there is no hope for anywhere else. The world looks to us to get it right. We are the City on a hill whose light cannot be hid. The impossible has happened. Cheers to all who made the sacrifices and commitments to make this purchase possible. Now that the property is Redeemer’s, the sky’s the limit on all the ideas they will have time and place to explore. While this is not my church, I do visit and encourage you to do the same . The light is shining more brightly this All Hallows Eve in Charleston, pushing back the darkness. Let me know if you are interested in seeing this church on my tour and I will make a detour as I occasionally do. It has some of the most beautiful stained glass in the city. Mayor Riley, who has been mayor of Charleston for 40 years, as a boy sat under the stained glass window of an angel with arms crossed with his grandmother growing up. He too has been supportive in wanting to see this church preserved as a functioning church. Each person makes a difference.