New facility unites youth and seniors at Christ Our King

MOUNT PLEASANT–The Beach House, a new building at Christ Our King Church in Mount Pleasant, is a place where youth and seniors can come together to share fun, knowledge and fellowship.

The $2.2 million house officially opened after the noon Mass on April 14. Bishop Emeritus David B. Thompson blessed the building, youth and adult choirs sang, and about 150 people toured the structure described on a sign out front as an “inter-generational facility.”

Msgr. James A. Carter, pastor of Christ Our King, said the idea for the Beach House dates back to 2008, when he fi rst started talking with people in the parish about the possibility of bringing the youth and senior ministries together under one roof. Previously, the groups met in separate houses on the parish property off Russell Street.

“It was a desire to meld the energy of youth with the wisdom of seniors, not to rob each of their private space but to see how their lives could be enriched by each other,” Msgr. Carter said.


Christ Our King parishioners were involved at every level of the project. GBA Architects of Charleston handled the overall design. Lauren Sanchez Design planned the beach-themed interior, and building was done by Hill Construction.

From the beginning, the Beach House was designed to be an environmentally sustainable, green building, and is certified by Earth Craft, a sustainable design company based in Atlanta.

The building’s design was inspired by a Sullivan’s Island house that Msgr. Carter’s grandfather built in 1908 and named “Shanraw Cottage” after his home region in Ireland.

The 6,700-square foot structure includes a reflection room that houses the parish library, a large central room with a fireplace, a computer work space, working kitchen and dining area, separate offices for the youth and senior ministries, and 1,800 square feet of porches.

The beach theme is present everywhere in the facility. There’s even a nod to historical construction practices of the Lowcountry with a large central chimney made with oyster-shell  “tabby,” a building material that was used extensively in colonial-era Charleston.

Youth minister Ann Sottile said the goal is for youth and seniors to use the house for their own activities plus shared ones. The groups have already met to do crafts and take a dance class, and future plans will focus on meals, cooking classes and gardening.

Outdoor areas around the Beach House include a volleyball court, a grass lawn for bocce and other games, and an outdoor chess board. The project also incorporated a small conference center, The Russell House, which offers space for Scouts and other community groups.

“I think it’s going to work great, and it’s especially nice to be in a building like this with so much space,” said Dot Comar, 88, who is active in the senior ministry. “We were in such a little place for a long time, this place is going to offer a lot more things for a lot more people.”

“It’s a really beautiful building, and it’s great that it’s going to give us time to come together with the seniors,” said Darian Bordon, 15, a student at Bishop England High School and member of Christ Our King youth group. “I think this building will be a great way to bring the whole church together.”