First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort celebrates 100 years

charley@beaufortgazette.comMay 12, 2012 

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"The people had a mind to work," the sign read.

It was proudly placed in the ground in 1921 by the Rev. A.P. Toomer and the members of the First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort, who finally were able to purchase the land after 180 years of obstacles.

This Sunday, the church will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a special service and a new marker, which will read in part: "Presbyterians in Beaufort sought to establish a church in the 1740s and 1880s. It was not until 1912 that 16 people formed a permanent congregation."

The centennial celebration marks the success of the Presbyterians, who overcame many hurdles to get their church off the ground, said Page Putnam Miller, who recently completed the book, "Celebrating One Hundred Years: The History of First Presbyterian Church, Beaufort, South Carolina."

"They got off to a shaky start," she said, referring to the loss of building funds during the Depression and the sudden death of the church's young minister. "It was amazing they continued."

Among those Miller interviewed for the book is one of the church's earliest members, Betty Waskiewicz of Beaufort.

"I grew up with Daddy talking about all the early days," said 84-year-old Waskiewicz. "It feels like I've been here 100 years."

The daughter of Elder J.W. Logan, a charter member of the church, Waskiewicz recalls her father's work as chairman of the building committee, which completed the interior work of the church to save money.

Church members overcame many hardships throughout the years.

"They had one calamity after another," Waskiewicz said. In one instance, the church lost its building fund when the bank it was in failed.

"Any lesser group would have thrown up their hands, but they were Presbyterians and they were going to have their church," Waskiewicz said.

As a child she remembers accompanying her mother to deliver snacks to the men who, after their day jobs, spent their evenings completing the interior work on the building.

"My daddy said he must have cut seven miles of three-eighths-inch quarter round to go around all those panels," she said.

Members have continued to work hard throughout the years, Waskiewicz said. Locally, church members including Kitty Harley founded a community Meals on Wheels. Internationally, the church missions have built a church in Africa, supported hospitals in Haiti and Africa, and dug wells in Haiti.

The church also has been instrumental in the founding of Sea Island Presbyterian Church and most recently through the Stop Hunger Now outreach mission in which 20,000 meals were assembled.

Future celebration events include a luncheon May 20; a West Virginia Mission Trip, July 21-28; a fish fry Sept. 16; and the Kirkin' of the Tartans on Nov. 4.

"The whole idea is very exciting that the church has come so far and done so well and done so much," Waskiewicz said.

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, HILTON HEAD ISLAND

Cast 4 Christ, a day of fishing for ages 5-15, is 8:30 a.m.-noon today at Jarvis Creek Park, 50 Jarvis Park Road, Hilton Head (rain or shine). Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult. All tackle and fishing equipment is provided with a free picnic, live music and prizes. Details: 843-785-4478

RESURRECTION CHURCH

A community market/yard sale is 9 a.m.-2 p.m. today at the church, 296 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-689-3625, www.resurrectionccc.org

BEAUFORT COUNTY MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE

The alliance meets at 9 a.m. today at the Grand Army Hall, Prince and New Castle streets, Beaufort. Details: 843-846-8050

THE CHURCH OF THE CROSS, BLUFFTON

The Cross Christian Women will sell homemade shrimp and chicken salad sandwiches at the 34th annual Bluffton Village Festival today. The historic church, at 110 Calhoun St., Bluffton, will be open for visitors to get a view of the unique structure on the May River.

An eight-week summer Bible study through the Book of Acts is at 10 a.m. Fridays beginning June 1 in the Parish Hall of the Calhoun Street campus. Ted Favata will lead the study. Details: 843-757-2661, www.thechurchofthecross.net

PLANT THE SEED MINISTRY

Free meals and friendly conversations are 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Atlantic Inn parking lot, 2249 Boundary St., Beaufort. Details: 843-575-2200, joykircher028@gmail.com

PROVIDENCE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, HILTON HEAD ISLAND

Special music will be presented for Mother's Day at 10 a.m. Sunday by Todd Smith, trumpet soloist, and JooSoo Son, organist. A men's chorus will sing. The church is at 171 Cordillo Parkway, Hilton Head Island.

Details: 843-842-5673

THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. HELENA

Missions Week begins Sunday at the Rector's Forum with a presentation by Water Missions International of Charleston. On Monday evening the clergy will give a vision for missions. Tuesday will be Local Mission night, with testimonies from those who participate in local missions. Wednesday will be Foreign Mission night with a WASH-type evening dinner 5:30-6:30 p.m. Program of missionaries' testimonies will follow 6:30-7:30 p.m. On Thursday the Parish Church Women Luncheon will be held with the Rev. Chad Lawrence giving his testimony. The Art Auction for Mission and Outreach to benefit foreign and domestic mission teams is 6-8 p.m. Friday at the home of Molly and John Gray on The Point. Artwork may be donated by contacting Anne Mitchell, 843-575-1780, aimitchell@charter.net, or Leigh Ward, 843-441-6961, leigh_ward@yahoo.com. The auction includes a wine and cheese reception. Tickets are $20 or $30 a couple. Details: 843-263-1609.

A free choir festival with Brian Jones begins at 7 p.m. May 19 at the church. The festival will feature the choirs of St. Helena's and members of choirs from Bluffton and Charlotte. The four-day festival culminates with the Saturday evening performance. Jones is emeritus director of music and organist at Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston, where he directed a highly acclaimed program from 1984 to 2004. The church is at 505 Church St., Beaufort.

UNITY CHURCH OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND

In celebration of Mother's Day, Unity Church's senior minister, the Rev. Julia Johnson, will speak on "Under Her Wings" at 10 a.m. Sunday. The church meets at the Seaquin's Ballroom, 1300 Fording Island Road, Bluffton. Child care will be provided. Details: 843-682-8177, www.unitychurchofhiltonhead.org

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF BEAUFORT

Church member Ben Sellers will share, through homily and song, his mother's influence in his spiritual journey at 10 a.m. Sunday. Rebecca Folsom will share her gifts of song and poetry. The fellowship meets at 178 Sams Point Road, Lady's Island. Details: 843-838-1399

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION OF THE LOWCOUNTRY

The membership committee will bring a special service titled "Membership Matters: Why Belonging Is Important" at 10 a.m. Sunday. Individual testimonials will be heard and recent members will be recognized. The church is at 110 Malphrus Road, Bluffton. Details: 843-837-3330

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SOCIETY OF BEAUFORT

"Mortals and Immortals" is the Bible lesson at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The society meets at 401 Scott St., Beaufort. Details: 843-441-2262

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, HILTON HEAD ISLAND

Dan Hammitt, the congregation's new pulpit minister, held his inaugural service April 29. Prior to joining this church, Hammitt was the pulpit minister of the League Street Church of Christ, Sulphur Springs, Texas. Hammitt's previous ministry experience also includes churches of Christ in Michigan and North Carolina. Hammitt is a graduate of Harding University and is joined by his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Ashley. The Church of Christ was established in 1989. Sunday service is at 10:30 a.m., with a preceding bible study at 9:30 a.m. A Bible study is at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and a 6 p.m. service is on Sundays. The church is at 23 Bow Circle.

COMMUNITY BIBLE CHURCH

A prayer retreat seminar for women using the late Evelyn Christenson's DVD series is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday at the church, 638 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort. Lunch is included. The cost is $10 at the door. No child care is provided. Registration is due by Monday by calling 843-525-0089.

WESLEY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

The women's "Inspirational Moments" luncheon is at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Wesley education building. Claretha Brisbane of Bethesda Christian Fellowship Church, St. Helena Island, will speak. She is a volunteer teacher in the church-sponsored Women's Academy and works with youth to improve test-taking. The church is at Duke and West streets. Details: 843-524-5918

LUNCH HOUR OF POWER

Evangelist Wands Glaze of New Hope Christian Church Disciples of Christ, will speak noon-12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Lunch Hour of Power, in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort. Details: 843-524-6634

BETHESDA CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP

A free youth crusade/revival begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday featuring guest speaker and psalmist, Michael Smith of Gethsamane Community Fellowship Baptist Church, Norfolk, Va. The fellowship is at 36 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, St. Helena Island. Details: 843-838-4410, www.welcome2bethesda.org

SPRING HILL AME CHURCH, SHELDON

The church's second soup kitchen begins at 11 a.m. May 19. Members of the YAM group, a newly developed ministry for ages 18-45, will host the event. The church is at 20 Paige Point Road, Sheldon, across from the Sheldon Fire Station. Details 843-263-8271

FIRST ZION MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH OF BLUFFTON

The church continues its 150th celebration at 5 p.m. May 19 with an "Old Time Gullah Gospel Hour." The event will honor the church's 1930s choir. The church is at 10 Robertson St., Bluffton. Details: 843-757-2638

PINE GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH

The Men's Day Service celebration is at 4 p.m. May 20. Pastor Leroy Haynes will speak and the Nazareth Baptist Church Family are guests. The church is at 73 Pine Grove Road, Burton. Details: 843-846-4456

UNITED WAY OF THE LOWCOUNTRY

Volunteers with carpentry and home-repair skills are needed to help with the Catholic HEART Work camp project. About 350 high school kids from all over the country will spend one week during June in the LowCountry helping local residents with simple home repairs. Volunteers are needed to help before and during the week of the camp. Details: 843-837-2000, bethanym@uwlowcountry.org

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