Charleston Area Churches & Places Of Worship
Charleston's Rich Religious History
As the namesake implies, the Holy City has many houses of worship for all denominations. Downtown Charleston boasts some of America’s oldest churches including St. Philips Episcopal Church (1690), Circular Congregational Church (1681), First Baptist Church (1682), French Protestant Huguenot Church (1687), Saint Andrew’s Parish (1706), First Scots Presbyterian Church (1731), St. John’s Lutheran Church (1734), St. Michael’s Episcopal Church (1761), Unitarian Church (1772), Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church (1789), Second Presbyterian Church (1809), Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue (1824), St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (1835), St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church (1840), Grace Episcopal Cathedral (1846), Citadel Square Baptist (1854), Old Bethel (established 1798, built 1852), St. Johannes Lutheran Church (1878), and the Cathedral St. John the Baptist (built between 1890-1907). All of these churches conduct weekly services that are open to the public and many offer free tours to visitors during the week.
Mother Emmanuel AME Church, which was organized in 1791 by the Free African Society and built in 1891, was the site of a horrific, racially-motivated massacre in 2015 that killed nine church members who were participating in an evening Bible study. After the tragedy, the Charleston community grieved together and united in solidarity as a demonstration of God’s grace and love. The church and the families of the victims received an outpouring of memorials, tributes, cards of condolence, and financial support. The church has since re-opened its doors and continues to share the message of love and hope.
East of the Cooper / Mt. Pleasant
In Mt. Pleasant, residents may worship at denomination-specific churches or at non-denominational ones like Seacoast. Founded by lead pastor Greg Surrat, Seacoast is a megachurch in Mt. Pleasant that has numerous satellite campuses in North Charleston, West Ashley, James Island, and Summerville. Another popular church, East Cooper Baptist, a church that originated in 1974 and was sponsored by First Baptist Church of Downtown Charleston. Today, the vibrant church, which is located just off Long Point Road next to Belle Hall Elementary School, offers multiple worship services, in-depth Bible study classes, and a children’s and youth ministry. This church also formed Palmetto Christian Academy, a K-12 covenant school that educates approximately 600 students. Located in the Old Village, First Baptist of Mount Pleasant is home to Coastal Christian Preparatory School, an academic institution founded in 1917 that serves students from preschool to 12th grade. Because of the tremendous growth of the region, First Baptist Mount Pleasant planted and sponsored several non-denominational churches in the area including Kings Cross, Sewee Bay, and the Church at LifePark. Methodist churches in Mt. Pleasant include First United Methodist, Hibben United Methodist, and Point Hope United Methodist Church. Presbyterian churches include Eastbridge Presbyterian, Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian, and Palmetto Presbyterian. The two Lutheran churches are All Saints and St. Paul’s, and the area has three Catholic churches: Stella Maris, which is located on Sullivan’s Island, St. Benedict Church by Darrell Creek subdivision, and Christ our King located off Coleman Boulevard near Shemwood. With a focus on Catholic, classical education, Christ our King School educates students from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Daniel Island & Other Area Churches
Nearby residents of Daniel Island do not have to leave the island on Sundays. Located right across from each other on Seven Farms Road, Providence Baptist Church and The Church of the Holy Cross both offer multiple service times, weekday Bible studies and corporate prayer time, and a vibrant children’s ministry. In fact, both churches have a popular preschool program for children ages one to five. A newer church, Daniel Island Fellowship is a non-denominational church that hails from the Presbyterian doctrine. Presently, the church meets at Halls Marina and is well known for its active children and youth programs as well as its commitment to local service projects and Christian outreach.
On the other side of the Ravenel Bridge, many historic and newly constructed churches reside in the West Ashley / James Island area. Individuals governed by Baptist doctrine have several options to worship and fellowship including Ashley River Baptist Church, Charleston Baptist Church, Coastal Light Baptist Church, Northbridge Baptist Church, and West Ashley Independent Baptist Church. Established by members of Citadel Square Baptist Church in 1942, Ashley River Baptist is a dynamic church with a wide array of programs for children, youth, college students, single adults, married adults, and senior citizens. Catholic churches in West Ashley include Blessed Sacrament, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph Catholic Church, and St. Timothy’s Anglican Catholic Church. Blessed Sacrament Church in West Ashley, founded in 1944, is also the home of Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, a K-8 school that is accredited by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Catholic Diocese of Charleston. This region of Charleston is home to two Episcopal churches, St. Francis and Old Saint Andrew’s Parish, a historical structure built in 1708 to serve Anglican rice planters and minister to the African slaves. Though damaged, the building survived a fire in the 1760s, battles between confederate and union armies during the Civil War, and the Great Earthquake of 1886. Those identifying with the Methodist faith attend either Grace United Methodist Church on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, John Wesley United Methodist Church on Savannah Highway, or St. Mark United Methodist Church off Highway 17 on Geddes Avenue. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is the only Lutheran church and Synagogue Emanu-El is the only Jewish synagogue in the West Ashley area. Non-denominational churches include Unity Church of Charleston, Palmetto Community Church, Seacoast (satellite campus), Palmetto Community Church, Harvest Bible Church, and Awaken Church. Awaken Church began its formation at a local elementary school and recently moved to its own facility off Leeds Avenue in North Charleston. An outreach-oriented church, Awaken Church has two services every Sunday and more than 40 small Bible study groups who meet each week.
North Area Churches
In Summerville, residents have a plethora of parishes and places to worship. Many of the churches are situated in historic downtown Summerville, although newer churches are emerging in the Knightsville / Oakbrook region to accommodate the rapid residential growth. Baptist churches include Miles Road, Old Fort, Palmetto Land, Ridge Baptist, First Baptist, Sangaree Baptist, and Summerville Baptist Church, a historic church located on the corner of Central Boulevard and Western Carolina. Methodist churches include Bethany United Methodist, Boone Hill United Methodist Church, Knightsville United Methodist Church, and Stallsville United Methodist Church. Presbyterian churches include Dorchester Presbyterian, Oakbrook Community, and Summerville Presbyterian Church. Those abiding by the Lutheran doctrine attend either Grace Lutheran Church, St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, or Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. Episcopalians have several houses of worship in the area including St. Timothy’s, St. Stephen’s Reformed Episcopal Church, St. George’s Episcopal, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Church of Epiphany, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, another historic site whose congregation first established in 1717. St. John the Beloved Catholic, St. Padre Pio, and St. Theresa of the Little Flower are the region’s three Catholic churches. Interdenominational churches include Covenant Life, Refuge Bibleway Church, Kingdom Revelation, New Bethel Sounds of Praise Pentecostal Ministry, Oasis Church, Grace Christian, First Fruits Community, Family of Messiah Fellowship, and Faith Assembly of God, a church and school campus located directly of I-26 near Summerville mile marker and exit 199.
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