In the past several weeks we embarked on two back-to-back spiritual journeys. The first was a wonderful trip to Mepkin Abbey and—new to SINHG—Strawberry Chapel. Most of you are familiar with the Abbey from our many expeditions to the Christmas Crèche Festival. This time we decided a spring tour of the sanctuary and magnificent grounds would be a lovely diversion. Even though we couldn’t hear our guide over the flutter of butterflies’ wings, the Abbey did not disappoint.
A stone’s throw down the road is Strawberry Chapel, a lovely example of a ‘chapel of ease’ so-named because it was built to facilitate worship for people who lived at too great a distance from the local parish church (in this case, Biggin Church). Our guide was Dr. Robert Ball whose family owned the original plantation and property. Built in 1725, the Chapel and church cemetery are beautifully nestled among age-old live oaks and dogwoods. The building is relatively unchanged and has over recent years suffered rampant vandalism. Efforts are being made to repair the damage, and yet this tiny church remains beautiful in its natural state.
In contrast was our trip to Old St. Andrews’s Episcopal Church on Ashley River Road which was built in 1706 and has been meticulously restored. The church, with its sprawling cemetery, live oaks, dogwoods, and spring blooms, is absolutely lovely. Our superb guide was fellow Seabrooker, Paul Porwoll, St. Andrew’s Church Historian and author of Against All Odds, a book that chronicles the colorful history of the church. We learned much about St. Andre’s, from its inception through alternating periods of prosperity and decline to its present-day status as a fully functioning Anglican church. Below are two photos: one of Old St. Andrew’s Church and the other of Paul Porwoll showing us gravestones in the church cemetery.
Both of these trips were absolutely wonderful. Look for them to be repeated—and more!
-Submitted by Carol Bane