FOLLY BEACH – At more than 50 years old, Our Lady of Good Counsel Church at Folly Beach needed many repairs, both large and small. So did the church’s Msgr. Robert Kelly Hall (a garage until 1995) and the A-frame beach house that serves as its rectory.
On the nine-page list of problems: the stained glass windows in the nave had not had their exteriors cleaned since Hurricane Hugo in 1989, when they were covered with protective Plexiglas; old wiring scarred the chancel walls; and there was no hot water in the sacristy. The 20-foot-high peak of the rectory ceiling was covered with stains and mold. The hall’s kitchen had never been repainted and its ceiling tiles were falling apart.
But one Saturday in Lent, 76 parishioners – young and old, skilled and unskilled – gave up their free time to climb ladders to wash the church windows; scrape, vacuum and paint the walls; build a much-needed platform for the choir; remove and replace old moldings; provide hot water for the sacristy; scrub the doors and pews; make ugly wires disappear; wash wall sconces; and vacuum the newly roofed high ceiling. They did not leave until work was finished and the whole place spotlessly clean for the next day’s Masses. Outside, the steps were power washed, holes filled with concrete, and wrought-iron rails scraped and painted.
At the hall, more than 100 chairs were shampooed and scrubbed, windows and doors were cleaned and polished, and ceiling tiles removed and replaced. A parishioner in a wheelchair led a team of people in scrubbing tables from top to bottom.
Inside the rectory, after mold and stains were removed from the high ceiling and a plumber-parishioner had installed new faucets, a large crew cleaned the entire building. Outside, the decks and stairs were scrubbed as the church’s Confirmands pruned shrubbery, raked and hauled away yard debris.
A large portion of the nine-page list of problems was taken care of by the end of the day. Even more important, the parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel found an amazing spirit of togetherness.