Congregation holds reception to update progress on historic church purchase

Congregation holds reception to update progress on historic church purchase

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The faith of the congregation at Redeemer Presbyterian Church is growing stronger as they make the final push to raise $1.6 million to make the St. Andrew's Church at 43 Wentworth Street their permanent home.

According to church spokesperson Nancy Vinson, several members of the congregation have already donated thousands, including: $8,000 from a grad student, $18,000 from family with multiple children in college, and $40,000 from an older member on a limited fixed-income.

Help has come from outside the church too.

Vinson said a Catholic couple offered a sizeable personal loan to help with the purchase, citing Redeemer's enthusiasm for feeding the poor, working with young children, and helping families in need.

"I think people will be very surprised at what our small, young congregation has been able to raise for this effort," said Vinson.

Thursday, the congregation is putting on a Mayor's Reception which will welcome the community, Mayor Joe Riley and the Preservation society to tour the property and enjoy food, drinks and music from the choir.

Last week, Vinson said the church still needed to raise a little over $900,000 by October 31 to save their antebellum-era St. Andrews Church buildings.

Tonight, Vinson says her announcement will be even more surprising.

"We've really been amazed at what people have been willing to give," said Redeemer Presbyterian Pastor Craig Bailey. "I'm so confident, I'm not even sweating it. It will be nice in 30 days it will be over one way or the other but we are really confident that we will be able to do this."

But Bailey says their success depends on the community.

If the congregation fails to meet that deadline, a Charleston resident named Nancy Snowden will again have the opportunity to purchase the property. Snowden wants to turn the building into a private residence.

Snowden agreed in late July to give the church the chance to raise the required funds to purchase the property.

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