CHARLESTON—Alphonso Brown wondered for two years why construction noises kept waking him up in the early mornings in his home along Orange Grove Road.
On Sept. 16, he found his answer.
Brown joined other neighborhood residents for an ecumenical prayer service and open house to celebrate the opening of the Diocese of Charleston’s new pastoral center.
He was happy with what he saw.
“It is just beautiful and so exciting to see,” he said. “It’s like God has been building a little bit of heaven at the end of this road.”
The service was held in the new Chapel of the Holy Family and led by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone. The bishop welcomed the visitors and thanked them for putting up with the noise and the stream of trucks that went up and down the road during the building process.
Readings from Deuteronomy, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and the Gospel of Luke focused on the diversity of people who make up the body of Christ and how everyone who believes in Christ is called to do God’s work in the world.
“We are sent to bring a sense of justice and peace to people, to, in one way or another, make the kingdom of God more present on earth,” Bishop Guglielmone said in his homily. “This campus is here because we believe we’re anointed to do all of those things with the greatest sense of love, and to make a difference in the world.”
He said he hopes the chapel will provide people in the neighborhood with a quiet place to come for prayer and reflection.
Area clergy and religious leaders also attended, including Bishop Charles Glenn vonRosenberg of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
The crowd included the Rev. Michael H. Edwards, pastor of Orange Grove Church, a Church of God of Prophecy congregation, along with more than a dozen of his parishioners. Rev. Edwards, whose church is just down the road from the pastoral center, said he was glad to have workers from the diocese as his new neighbors.
“This new center enhances the spiritual wellbeing of our neighborhood and the Lowcountry as a whole,” he said.
Betty Marks, a member of Orange Grove Church, was impressed with the beauty of the new property and appreciated the chance to tour the grounds.
“It’s important for us to meet each other because we’re so close now,” she said. “We may not agree on everything, but we all read the Bible and believe in the same heaven. It was beautiful to pray together.”