In the early part of 2012, Rev. Jon D. Payne was encouraged by a fellow minister from South Carolina to consider planting a new and distinctively Reformed and Presbyterian church in the vibrant and growing city/area of Charleston. After much counsel, numerous answered prayers, and the hearty approval of the Palmetto Presbytery, Rev. Payne responded to God’s call. He left Grace Presbyterian Church in Douglasville, Georgia, where he served as senior minister from 2003-2013, and moved his family to Charleston in order to help establish a new congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
Answered prayers included the support of several generous individuals and PCA congregations around the southeast such as Second Presbyterian, Greenville, SC; Woodruff Road Presbyterian, Simpsonville, SC; Independent Presbyterian, Savannah, GA; First Presbyterian, Jackson, MS; Covenant Presbyterian, Nashville, TN; Carriage Lane Presbyterian, Peachtree City, GA; Ortega Presbyterian, Jacksonville, FL, and others. Moreover, God answered prayer with the addition of Mr. Ross Hodges to the Christ Church leadership team. Mr. Hodges, a graduate of Westminster Seminary California (M.Div, 2013), serves as assistant pastor at Christ Church and was ordained in the Palmetto Presbytery in 2014.
On March 25th, 2013, the first informational meeting for Christ Church was held at the historic South Carolina Society Hall in downtown Charleston. About seventy-five people from the Charleston area gathered to hear about the new church plant. The meeting was opened in prayer by Rev. Richard D. Phillips, senior minister at Second Presbyterian Church, Greenville, SC, and Rev. Payne briefly shared the Reformed and confessional commitments of the new work.
After several beneficial meetings with both the Palmetto Presbytery’s MNA Church Planting Committee and Credentials Committee, Rev. Payne’s call to begin a mission church in the Charleston area was unanimously approved at the presbytery’s spring meeting on April 25th, 2013 in Dillon, South Carolina.
Lord’s Day Worship
The historic First Scots Presbyterian Church (53 Meeting Street, downtown Charleston) graciously allowed Christ Church to meet in their beautiful chapel for evening worship during the summer months. Our first Lord’s Day worship service was on June 9th, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. There were about 170 in attendance (many from supporting churches), with about two dozen turned away due to space limitations. Rev. Payne opened his series on “The Twelve Foundations of a Healthy Church” by preaching from John 3:16. Rev. Richard D. Phillips and Mr. Ross Hodges assisted in the service.
Only three weeks after evening worship services began at First Scots, the Lord answered another significant prayer request: He led Michael and Agnes Giuliani to Christ Church–– two profoundly gifted musicians with a heart for the Lord and a love for Reformed worship. In God’s providence, only six months into our church planting effort, Christ Church hired Mr. Michael Scott Giuliani to be our full-time Director of Music. Mr. Giuliani, a classically-trained pianist and organist, is the accompanist for public worship and also conducts the Christ Church choirs. His wife Agnes is an accomplished violinist and plays regularly in Lord’s Day worship.
After meeting for the summer at First Scots, Christ Church began to worship on Lord’s Day evenings at St. Johannes Lutheran Church at 48 Hasell Street, also in downtown Charleston. With a growing congregation, however, it was becoming evident that it was time to begin meeting for both morning and evening worship on the Lord’s Day. After several weeks of searching for a suitable and affordable location to worship in downtown Charleston, the leadership made the decision to rent space at Moultrie Middle School near the Old Village in Mount Pleasant. It is conveniently located only a few miles from downtown.
Christ Church began morning and evening worship services at Moultrie Middle School on November 3, 2013. Two weeks later, on November 17, we received our first group of new members. There are currently about 140 members of Christ Church.
In December of 2013 Christ Church organized and hosted its first annual Charleston Christmas Conference on Reformed Theology. The keynote speakers were Dr. Steve Lawson, pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, AL and Dr. Derek Thomas, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC. It was a marvelous weekend of excellent preaching and beautiful Christmas music and hymn singing.
Christ Church celebrated its one year anniversary on June 8, 2014. Click here to read Pastor Jon's thoughts about our first year.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my Word be that goes out from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
- Isaiah 55:10-11
And the Word of God continued to increase, and the
number of the disciples multiplied greatly ...
- Acts 6:7a