Mother Emanuel AME Church members bless support beams as renovations begin

A historic downtown Charleston church is gearing up for some renovations that members say are long overdue.
Published: Oct. 23, 2022 at 4:21 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2022 at 12:08 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A historic downtown Charleston church is gearing up for some renovations that members say are long overdue.

Congregation and community members gathered at Mother Emanuel AME Church Sunday morning to bless support beams before they are placed inside the church.

The renovation of the 129-year-old building will cost $6.2-million as the church needs significant repairs. It will start next week and will take about nine months to complete phase one.

Senior Pastor Eric Manning feels like they owe it to those who built Mother Emanuel to maintain the integrity of the building.

“We will, of course, be able to maintain all of the historical benefits that Mother Emanual has, but then as well ensure that for the next 150 years, the structure will be sound and will continue to be able to be a beacon of light to so many and within this community,” Manning said.

Members signed the support beams to bless the structure by marking their names, and dates and acknowledging loved ones who have passed.

Carla Jones, who has been a member of the church since 1987, said the signing of beams means a lot to her.

“This is a milestone; the beam being a part of this restoration project, and we’ve come a long way,” Jones said. “We have more steps to go and more milestones to reach our project of restoration and I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the finished project.”

The church is inviting the community to join them Tuesday at 8 a.m. as the support beams are placed in the attic signifying the start of renovations.

“For them to be able to be a part of it, to witness this wonderful historic event, speaks volumes,” Manning said. “I’m sure that they love just being able to be a part of history and, of course, letting the future members of Mother Emanuel know who was responsible for this work.”

To follow along during the renovations of Mother Emanuel AME or donate, visit motheremanuel.com.