We would like to invite you to a news conference hosted by Redeemer Presbyterian Church in its recently renovated sanctuary followed by a tour of the new Land Trust offices and renovations in the education building. Comments will be made by Mayor Riley, Redeemer Pastor Craig Bailey, Land Trust Executive Director Elizabeth Hagood, and Preservation Society Executive Director Evan Thompson.
Below is the write-up with detailed information about the press conference.
Redeemer Presbyterian Announces its Partnership with the Lowcountry Open Land Trust at its 43 Wentworth Educational Building. Mayor Riley, The Preservation Society of Charleston, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Historic Charleston Foundation commend the partnership as exemplary adaptive use.
Charleston SC – Today, Redeemer Church announces that the Lowcountry Open Land Trust will be sharing its Educational Building at 43 Wentworth Street, in a move that is exemplary of adaptive building use for the Historic District of Charleston. This innovative partnership shows how historic downtown churches can lease space to bring in significant funds which will help pay the increasing costs of maintenance and insurance.
The Redeemer story is one of the broader Charleston community coming together to preserve and protect the history and integrity of a 173-year-old church and to honor the hopes and faithfulness of a small but determined congregation. Redeemer did not want to lose its place of worship, and many Charleston residents did not want to lose a beautiful pre-Civil War church in the heart of the Holy City to conversion for private residential and business use.
“We are incredibly blessed by the Land Trust’s desire to rent from us,” says Redeemer pastor Craig Bailey. “Having the perfect partner to share space with is beyond what we had ever imagined would happen. We are so pleased to share space with an organization whose mission is consistent with the Christian mandate to care for the earth.”
When Land Trust board member Tom Hutto, who chaired the office space search committee, discovered the potential that the Redeemer space offered the expanding Land Trust staff, he was thrilled. “Every move is an opportunity to dream,” says Hutto. “We dreamed of a stimulating setting for the Land Trust’s employees, and we also imagined our funds helping preserve a historic building that is as much a part of the Lowcountry fabric as the open spaces we seek to protect. With the wonderful congregation of Redeemer, our dreams are realized beyond our hopes.”
Joining forces to save the Redeemer Presbyterian church were the Preservation Society of Charleston, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Charleston Foundation, Mayor Riley, Councilman Blake Hallman. In a whirlwind, 90-day fundraising campaign, the goal of $1.6 million needed to save the church was reached. Almost 900 individuals gave donations and pledges to help save the 1839 sanctuary. “This partnership not only fulfills Redeemer’s outreach-oriented mission,” but it also is an example how low-impact adaptive use of office spaces in auxiliary religious structures can support the preservation of community as well,” says Evan Thompson, Executive Director of the Preservation Society. “It is symbolic of the important link between historic preservation and environmental conservation in the Lowcountry.”
Naturally, Redeemer’s young congregation had concerns about ongoing repair and maintenance costs of the 1839 church. Help has come again to them in a completely unexpected way. They feel very blessed to have a steady stream of rental income from wonderful new tenants, the Lowcountry Open Land Trust. This will help tremendously in maintaining the historic church buildings.
Redeemer wants the public, so many of whom invested in the effort to save this historic church, to see the progress as the sanctuary and educational building are lovingly restored.