After 26 years in Michigan, minister flies South to Hilton Head Island

Island Lutheran Church member Roger Jinkins is greeted by the Rev. Lawrence Eckart and his wife, Kathy, on Sunday after a church service on Hilton Head Island.
Island Lutheran Church member Roger Jinkins is greeted by the Rev. Lawrence Eckart and his wife, Kathy, on Sunday after a church service on Hilton Head Island. Sarah Welliver/The Island Packet

The Rev. Lawrence Eckart might be using a GPS unit to navigate around the Lowcountry these days, but he knows his way around a Lutheran church.

Eckart, recently installed as the pastor of Island Lutheran Church on Hilton Head Island, served as a minister for 26 years at three Michigan churches -- St. Timothy Lutheran and Peace Lutheran in Detroit, and for the last 16 years, Hope Lutheran in Linden, Mich.

"I figured after 26 years, I would retire there," Eckart said of Michigan. But a call to the Lowcountry brought Eckart and his wife to a place where he sees potential for growth. His previous church in Linden was twice the size of Island Lutheran.

Since arriving in the Lowcountry a few weeks ago, Eckart has tested area waters with his two-person canoe around the Broad Creek. But the former boat builder can envision it as "the first of other boats to come down the line after we get settled in."

Eckart is also navigating the course of his congregation by making home visits. He said he and his wife of 18 years, Kathy, are also learning the Lowcountry culture.

"The primary way to get to know your people is by going out and meeting them," Eckart said. "The only way they can trust me is by me getting to know them. ... They need to know their pastor is not only there for growth and development, but in times of sickness and death."

Eckart, who holds a master's degree in health services administration and a graduate certificate in addictions studies, hopes he can help those who are missing that "something inside."

"That something is Christ, and I hope people will find that at our church," Eckart said. "One of my great privileges as a pastor is when you see people who have never been a part of a church and when they get turned around because of reconnections with Christ, you see transformation. ... That's what we're all about."


Wesley United Methodist Church's Fall Bazaar is from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. today in the Education Building at Duke and West streets, Beaufort. A farmers market with fresh local produce will be an added feature this year. Fish and rib dinners will go on sale at 10:30 a.m. Live entertainment begins at 11 a.m. on the porch. Plants, crafts, books, baked goods, clothes, canned goods and furniture will be for sale.

The United Methodist Women's Noon Inspirational Moments luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Women from the Beaufort Family and Community Leaders Club will perform the play, "Glory Train." Lunch will be served in the Education Building.

Details: 843-524-5918


Carteret Street United Methodist Church's annual Fall Bazaar is from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. today. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees will be able to purchase baked goods, frozen foods and other edible delicacies; participate in the silent auction; prepare for fall planting with sod and bedding plants from the Garden Shop; or find treasure in the good "junque," tools, crafts, toys and games booths. A handmade quilt is available as are concessions and barbecue dinners that can be eaten on site or taken home. The Pumpkin Patch will be open, and there will be kids' games. Money raised benefits church missions and programs.

Details: 843-524-3841


District Three of the Old Ashley Baptist Association will hold its Harvest Day service at 9 a.m. today at Faith Memorial Baptist Church, 28 Lands End Road, St. Helena Island. The Rev. Joe Simmons, chairman of District Three and associate minister of Faith Memorial Baptist Church, will speak. The Rev. Dr. Horace Williams Jr. is the host pastor.

Details: the Rev. Joseph McKnight, 843-252-7855; Simmons, 843-812-6927


There will be an evening of thanksgiving and rejoicing for the release of Mavis Washington-Parker's first gospel album, "Let Your Light Shine On Me," at 6 p.m. today at Frissell Hall at Penn Center, St. Helena Island. Admission is free, but reservations are required.

Details: 843-838-7021


Central Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church presents the sixth annual "Pink Out" Celebration for Breast Cancer Awareness and annual luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. today at Park Lane Hotel & Suites, 12 Park Lane, Hilton Head Island. An update on breast health will be provided. Praise dancing and fellowship will be featured. The "Pink Out" begins at 10 a.m. Sunday at the church. Pastor Ursula Boyd, of Prevailing True Love Outreach Ministry and Magic 103.9 radio in Savannah, will speak. All guests are asked to wear pink. Make reservations for the luncheon with Carolyn Campbell, 843-681-6018.

Details: Rose Jackson-Knighton, 843-683-8522


A free breast cancer awareness seminar is from 10 a.m.-noon today at Allen Chapel AME Church, 16 Shelter Road, Burton (next to the animal shelter). Constance Dukes will speak. A continental breakfast will be served.

Free health screenings will be offered from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday at the church, in conjunction with Beaufort Memorial Hospital's CHIP Mobile. Free prostate and breast exams as well as free checks for skin cancer, blood pressure and blood sugar will be offered. Cholesterol screenings (six-hour fasting required), PSAs for prostate cancer screenings and diabetes tests are $10 each.

Details: Karen McFadden, 843-242-7730


The Rev. Nan White will speak on "Building a House for Hope" at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort. The church will celebrate its new "home," formerly the Sea Island Conference Center on Lady's Island. White will address what this home might have to offer as the center for a liberal and progressive religious community. Services are held at the Wardle Family YMCA, Port Royal, while the new building undergoes improvements.

Details: 843-838-1399


First African Baptist Church of Beaufort will conclude the celebration of Pastor Alexander McBride's eighth anniversary at 4 p.m. Sunday with Brick Baptist Church and the Rev. Abraham Murray. The church is at 601 New St., Beaufort.

Details: 843-525-1163


Lady's Island Baptist Church will conclude the celebration of the 16th anniversary of its pastor, the Rev. Sam Spain Sr., at 2 p.m. Sunday with Pine Grove Baptist Church and the Rev. Sylvester Ezell. The church is at 105 Brickyard Point Road, Lady's Island.

Details: 843-524-8528, 843-524-4465


The First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort will host annual memorial services at 11 a.m. Sunday at Stony Creek Independent Church in McPhersonville. In northern Beaufort County near Yemassee, the Stony Creek Church, built in 1833 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the site for annual memorial services in the fall as well as a spring vespers service. The Rev. Patrick Perryman of First Presbyterian Church will preside. A dinner will follow the services on the grounds. Attendees are asked to bring a covered dish and chairs.

Details: 843-524-3051


Campbell Chapel AME Church in Bluffton will celebrate its "Emphasis on Education Sunday" with guest speaker Dr. Valerie Truesdale, superintendent of Beaufort County School District, at 10 a.m. Sunday. Local educators and students will be honored. The church is at 25 Boundary St., Bluffton.

Details: 843-757-3652


St. Peter Catholic Church is offering a "Catholics Returning Home" program for non-practicing Catholics beginning Tuesday at the church on Lady's Island. Anyone who was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic church but no longer attends or rarely attends is invited. The group will meet from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays for six weeks. Details: Barbara Stanley, 843-525-0994; Theresa Pulliam, 843-524-2604; Deacon Bill Lacombe, 843-982-6240

The Harvest Bridge/Mah-Jongg Luncheon to benefit the St. Vincent DePaul Outreach is at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the Walsh Palmetto Room at St. Peter. The lunch is being prepared by a local chef. Tickets are $25 each. The church is at 70 Lady's Island Drive, Beaufort. Details: Nancy Grimaldi, 843-838-0822; Lois Driscoll, 843-838-9334


The Beaufort Women's Connection, a non-denominational group, meets Thursday at the St. Helena Parish Hall, 507 New Castle St., Beaufort. Doors open at 11:45. Lunch is served at 12:15 p.m. Betty Jo Faulkner will speak, and Olive Warrenfeltz will play the violin. The feature is Darlene Kelly from Simply Southern 'Tiques 'n Tea. Reservations and cancellations must be received by Monday. Child care is available upon prior request.

Details and reservations: Karen Whitehead, 843-838-7627,


Central Baptist Church will celebrate the 13th anniversary of Pastor Levon Byrd at 7:30 nightly Wednesday-Friday and at 2 p.m Oct. 24. Speakers are: Wednesday, Pastor Joseph McKnight and the Israelite Baptist Church of Lady's Island; Thursday, Pastor Paul Graham and the Laurel Bay Baptist Church of Laurel Bay; Friday, the Rev. Dr. Elijah Washington and the First African Baptist Church of St. Helena Island. The celebration concludes at 2 p.m. Oct. 24 with Pastor Irvin Middleton and Friendship Baptist Church. The church is at 1111 Prince St., Beaufort.

Details: 843-524-8997


The Rev. Joseph Bryant, associate minister at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, will speak from noon-12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Lunch Hour of Power in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel of Chisholm Galloway Home for Funerals, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort.

Details: 843-524-6634


Beaufort Young Life Dessert Buffet for all former young life kids, parents, committee members and staff is from 7-8 p.m. Thursday at Seaside Vineyard Church, 100 Sea Island Parkway, Beaufort.

Details: 513-520-7802,


El Shaddai Ministries is hosting a two-night service at 7 p.m. Friday and at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 with Wilma Clarke from the House of Prayer of Yemassee. The ministry meets at 1521 Hampton St., Walterboro.

Details: Rosa Middleton, 843-838-4444; Tracey Dingle, 843-252-3848


Daniel Adni, a world-renowned concert pianist, and Fred Devyatkin, violinist and conductor of the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra, will perform at 8 p.m. Monday at Sea Island Presbyterian Church, 81 Lady's Island Drive, Beaufort. This program is co-sponsored by the Beaufort Orchestra and the church. Adni will also perform with the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra on Sunday. A freewill offering will be accepted. Details: Minister of Music Charles Frost, 843-525-0696,