EDISTO ISLAND—After years of dreaming, fundraising and planning, members of Sts. Frederick and Stephen Mission can finally worship together with the island’s many visitors in a new church.
Construction, which started in September 2018, was completed in early November.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone officially dedicated the new church on Nov. 23 during a Mass that also included the confirmation of students from the Edisto parish and St. Mary Church on Yonges Island, of which it is a mission. Both events coincided with the feast of Christ Our King.
The church was designed by Glick Boehm Architecture of Charleston and Pizzuti Builders of Lexington handled the construction.
Parishioners had been talking about the need for a new church for more than 20 years. Then, about 10 years ago, fundraising for the project began, which cost about $2 million.
Father Bob Sayer, who has served as pastor at Sts. Frederick and Stephen since February, said the project came to fruition thanks to the generosity of the small parish’s 44 households and the visitors who flock to Edisto to enjoy the island’s quiet, Lowcountry charm.
“We have many, many people who come to Edisto for summers and holidays year after year, and whose families have grown up in that church,” Father Sayer said. “Many of them have also contributed to the building fund year after year.”
The new church holds 298 people and will help ease crowding at the old church that often forced people to line up outside the doors during the celebration of Mass in the busy summer months.
The old, white, metal church building will now be converted into a family life center and office space for the parish.
The new church’s design is receiving rave reviews from parishioners and visitors alike.
With white walls and simple lines, it nestles perfectly on a site surrounded by live oak trees. Large windows allow an uninterrupted view of the beautiful island landscape.
“The main things we are hearing from visitors is that the building is elegant in its simplicity, and it is serene,” Father Sayer said. “You cannot mistake what is most important here when you stand in the middle of the church in silence. There is a palpable feeling of the Holy Spirit in this new church.”