Today was an exciting day for our church. We started as a church plant with the first official meeting in 1999, and have met in a few different locations, including one theater (before I started going) and more recently the James Island Senior Center, a great building but one where every week we had to set up and take down the chairs, bring all the nursery toys, and find enough rooms for all our Sunday School classes. (The senior high boys actually met in a closet. A large one, but still a closet.) For some time now, our sessions and leaders have been looking for a place to meet. Real Estate is somewhat problematic in the charleston area, at least if you are a buyer. (Sellers have it much better around here.) So we were looking for our own space. But nothing was to be found. Then, just a short time ago, an older congregation in downtown decided they were going to join with a congregation in West Ashley. The congregation had slowly dwindled down and was basically dying out. They were using this very old and historic building in downtown charleston, and wanted it to stay a church when they vacated it.
To make a long story somewhat shorter, in the end, they decided to allow us to use the building rent-free. We are paying insurance and utilities. So now we have a beautiful sanctuary, an enormous Christian Education building, and even a few graves in the church yard. It is amazing how God can quickly come in to a situation and work things out, in an even more amazing way than you had ever expected. (It really should surprise me less after all these years.)
Today was the first meeting of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. At our old building, on James Island, we were called Island Community Church. Now that we have moved off the island, we had to change our name. So now we're Redeemer. Exciting. And here are some photos:
Before church started:
During the worship service: (We were sitting at the back, and I had to use the bathroom, so I took the opportunity to take a few photos)Pastor Craig, getting to preach on the old-school, very tall pulpit:
After the service, from the balcony: (We actually have a balcony!!!)
I know it doesn't matter where you worship the Lord, that wherever 2 or more are gathered that he is there. But it was wonderful being able to worship the Lord in a building that is going to ours to use, and that really felt like a church. And also to remind myself as Jeff and I continue in the search for a church job-residency combo, that God is in control and works things out for his glory. He knows what he is doing. I needed that reminder.