Central Christian Church will celebrate its silver anniversary Sunday with Michael Carr, the church's founding pastor and one of the longest-serving pastors on Hilton Head Island.
Responding to a call to be a part of Carr's dream, an eight-member group started meeting at 2 p.m. Sundays at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in 1986.
"When I came over here with a friend and looked at Hilton Head Island, I realized there was not a church like ours here," Carr recalled.
For two and a half years, the growing group continued to meet at St. Luke's. It purchased 3 1/2 acres, but just a year and a half later found the land contained the only complete and historic Indian Shell Enclosure in the United States. The town of Hilton Head purchased the land, and the group moved to a new location.
The evangelical, New Testament church was welcomed when it moved into its current location, which was about to be condemned. It had previously been a dinner club and for 90 days the only strip club on Hilton Head.
Previous to that, it was empty for 10 years, Carr said. Since moving to that location 22 years ago, the church remodeled the building and doubled its square footage to 30,000 feet.
"Everything has been replaced except concrete and steel," Carr said. "When we bought the property, people were very happy for us. At that time, a nightclub wasn't really welcome on Hilton Head."
The church, which now has about 500 members, is described by Carr as "seeker friendly." It offers contemporary music, including a full band, and it tries to incorporate arts into worship.
"Our goal is to reach the unchurched," Carr said. "We try to be relevant to people's real life and speak to where people live with topics such as finances and marriage. The church offers small group ministries as well as relationship counseling."
The 25th anniversary service is at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, and the guest speaker is Dr. Mark Williams, a world traveler and church leader. A reception will follow the service.
"If God had not been involved in process, it would not have happened and if other people had not brought their talents, served and sacrificed, it would not have happened," Carr said.
"There are about a dozen folks who will know that I am aware of their works, and I will be telling stories of contributions they have made of their own, skills, talents, gifts and passion that have helped to make our church what it is today," Carr said of the Sunday services.
Regular Sunday services are at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. with the New Community services at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
"We are here for people who haven't found their place spiritually yet," Carr said. "We make it simple and easy for people to come to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior. That is really what we are about.
"One of great things about Hilton Head is that almost everybody is here because they want to be here and I love the variety of people from all over the world with every background. It is an interesting place to live and it is because of the people who live here."
SPRING HILL AME CHURCH
YAMS, a new ministry of church members ages 18-45, will host a soup kitchen at 11 a.m. today at Spring Hill AME Church, Sheldon.
This will be the first soup kitchen ever in the Sheldon community. The menu includes turkey and gravy, rice, green beans and a beverage. Donations are being accepted from area businesses.
ST. JOHN'S LUTHERAN CHURCH
The second annual Community Chili Cookoff to benefit Habitat for Humanity is 5-7 p.m. today at St. John's Lutheran Church, 157 Lady's Island Drive, Beaufort.
Donations are $5 a person or $20 a family. Participants are encouraged to enter their favorite chili dishes and must arrive by 4:45 p.m. to be judged.
FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH
Another church is kicking off its yearlong celebration of its sesquicentennial anniversary.
First African Baptist Church, the oldest church on Hilton Head Island, will celebrate its 150th anniversary with an opening ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday at Mitchelville Freedom Park.
The church was founded in 1862 in the Town of Mitchelville under the leadership of Gen. Ormsby Mitchel. The Rev. Abraham Murchison, a freed slave, was the first pastor. The theme is "The Old Landmark: Celebrating Our Mitchelville Past, Our Present and Our Future." The church is at 70 Beach City Road.
CHURCH OF THE PALMS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
The church will host a visitor from the past. Luella Krieger will portray Lydia the Seller of Purple -- the first convert in Philippi and a leader in the early Christian church -- at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Attendance is free, but donations will be accepted. The church is at 1425 Okatie Highway at the Cherry Point intersection of S.C. 170 and Argent Road.
RIVERVIEW BAPTIST CHURCH
The Fifth Sunday Gospel Sing is 6-8 p.m. Sunday. Musicians and singers are invited to participate. Admission is free. The church is at 2209 Boundary St., Beaufort.
Details: Rhoda Paxton, 843-227-1777; Fran Sobieski, 843-522-8017
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION OF THE LOWCOUNTRY
The Rev. Jay Springer will discuss "Searching for the first Jesus, the Historical Jesus" at 10 a.m. Sunday. The church is at 110 Malphrus Road, Bluffton.
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF BEAUFORT
The Rev. Terre Balof from the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Glenn Allen, Va., will speak at 10 a.m. Sunday with her sermon, "The Spiritual Journey: A Challenge for Unitarian Universalists Seeking a Balance Between Individualism and Community." The fellowship meets at 178 Sams Point Road, Lady's Island.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SOCIETY OF BEAUFORT
The God is Love society will present a Bible lesson sermon titled "Love," based on the Bible verse from I John 4:8, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The society meets at Temple Beth Israel, 401 Scott St., Beaufort.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND
The "Called to Serve" volunteer commitment is Sunday during all services.
A four-week series, "For the Beauty of the Earth: Saving Hilton Head Island for Today and Tomorrow," a program about sustainability and the environment, continues with guest speakers at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the Fellowship Hall.
The church is at 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head.
THE CHURCH OF THE CROSS IN BLUFFTON
â€¢ The eight-week "Healing After Loss" program for those who have lost a loved one is 3-5 p.m. Sundays beginning Feb. 12. This is a confidential, Scripture-based support group for people mourning the death of someone close and will be facilitated by members who have experienced a loss in their own lives. The program aims to offer comfort and encouragement. The meetings are closed. Details: 843-757-2661
ST. LUKE'S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
An open 12-Step Meeting is held 7-8 p.m. Tuesdays in the Fellowship Hall. The church is on S.C. 170 near the back gates of Sun City Hilton Head in Okatie/Bluffton.
CONGREGATION BETH YAM
Lawrence Summers will be featured via satellite television as part of the Live for New York's 92nd Street Y series at 8 p.m. Thursday at Congregation Beth Yam, 4501 Meeting St., Hilton Head Island. Summers was director of President Barack Obama's National Economic Council, Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration and former president of Harvard University. The cost is $10 for congregation members and $15 for nonmembers. Reservations: 843-689-2178
SHELL POINT BAPTIST CHURCH
A free, warm meal and conversation is offered 6-7 p.m. Fridays at the church, 871 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort. Refining Christian Maturity Recovery meeting will be at 7 p.m. A food pantry is also available.
Details: Joy Kircher, 843-575-2200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GILLISON BRANCH BAPTIST CHURCH
The Family and Friends revival is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Speakers are Pastor Dave Mitchell, Pastor Donald Sheftall and Pastor Michael Willams. Elder Raymond Hamilton is host pastor. The church is at 4591 Calf Pen Bay Road, Pineland.
RESURRECTION CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY CHURCH
A community market yard sale will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 4 in the parking lot adjacent to the church, 296 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island.
The church has been reaching out to the community. On Sept. 15, the church hosted a spaghetti dinner and silent auction at St. Andrews By-the-Sea to benefit the Deep Well Project. More than 350 people attended, and $14,000 was raised. The Praise Team ministered the sounds of Christmas at Shelter Cove Harbor and Pineland Station, and hosted an in-church concert. More than 40 children from the community attended the Christmas party and were surprised when Santa showed up. The monthly community market yard sales continue to draw many local residents.
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION
The International Association of Religious Freedom's annual conference is Feb. 4. on Hilton Head Island. The Rev. Peter Morales, the association's president, will speak 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the Hilton Oceanfront Resort. The cost is $30.
A wine and hors d'oeuvres reception will be 5:30-7 p.m. followed by Gullah entertainment 7-8:15 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry, 110 Malphrus Road, Bluffton. Participants are asked to bring a vegan or vegetarian finger food.
To register: Dan Tweel, email@example.com or 843-342-6470
ST. LUKE'S CHURCH
The 30-voice Girls' Choir from Charleston's Eastside Community will present "What Are Little Girls Made Of," a free concert, at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at 50 Pope Ave., Hilton Head Island. The choir is part of an outreach program of The Biblical Family Center (St. John's Chapel) to the Eastside Community of Charleston. The ministry's mission is to develop Godly men and women and create Biblical families. A reception follows the concert.
Details: 843-785-4099, www.biblicalfamilycenter.org