Sunday Spotlight: All Saints (Anglican) Church in Pawleys, SC
I've been blogging about my preaching travels recently and one of the more fascinating privileges in my life is that I get to preach at historic churches. Pawleys Island (or just Pawleys) is a community on the coast of South Carolina and is home to one of the first Episcopal churches in the state-- All Saints. I preached there last year, and snapped some pictures to share, but I am far behing on my sharing. But, better late than never. Thanks, Rob, for the invitation and kind hosting!
Yes, I love a new church, but an old church is pretty amazing, too. Of course, "old" depends on where you are, but one of the older churches in South Carolina is All Saints Church on Pawleys Island.
A full four decades before the Revolutionary War, the church began, receiving their original charter as All Saints Parish in 1767 by the Colonial Assembly of South Carolina as a colonial parish of the Church of England.
The church just feels like the Old South -- with a sprawling lawn and classic buildings. Here is one side:
and here is the other:
The sanctuary (and, yes, it is a sanctuary in this tradition, not a "worship center") matches the outside.
The church has multiple services and is a vibrant evangelical congregation. They actually have two services at the same time which they combined while I was there so I could exhort the whole congregation.
For those of you who are Anglican (or liturgical), you will know this already, but let me share some details that might be new to more low-church evangelicals.
Traditional, blended, or contemporary Anglican churches (with a few exceptions) have the Eucharist (communion or the Lord's Supper), at the center of the worship service. To them, Jesus command to "as often as you do this, do in remembrance of me," means a weekly partaking in the elements (bread and wine).
In the case of this service, it follows a common Anglican pattern. The pastors and altar ministers will process in together, led by someone carrying the cross.
Worship is led by a band and includes many of the contemporary songs that we sing at a lot of modern evangelical churches. However, the worship leader does not stand up front and dominate the "stage"-- the altar does. The elevated pulpit is on the other side. So, preaching and worship matter, but as it is gathered around the Table. These locations are a theological statement and not just an architectural one.
After I gave the message, Rector Rob Grafe called the church to the Table, using a liturgy based on 1 Corinthians 11.
Once the congregation has been invited to participate, they come around the altar and receive the elements-- bread and wine (not grape juice).
Then the service ends with a blessing from Rector Grafe.
Anglicanism is a fascinating movement. I've had the privilege of encouraging some of these Anglicans on their journey. So, I was glad to encourage All Saints and am thankful that their passion for the gospel and truth drives them.