Welcome From Father Michael
In 2013, a group of Episcopalians were forced to leave their beloved Old St. Andrew’s Parish Church in the West Ashley neighborhood of Charleston, South Carolina, following a vote of the membership in that church to leave the Episcopal Church. As schism litigation ensued, they started St. Francis Episcopal Church to be the continuing congregation of Old St Andrew's Episcopal until such time as the schism litigation was resolved. Since 2013, members of St. Francis have worshiped in private homes, the Stuhr’s Funeral Home Chapel in West Ashley, the Roper St. Francis Hospital Chapel in West Ashley, at Holy Spirit Evangelical Lutheran Church, and currently with our Episcopalian brothers and sisters in the historic St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.
James Baldwin, the famous novelist, and civil rights activist once wrote:
“History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, and are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”
Upon her consecration as the 15th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, The Rt. Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley said, “My deep heart’s desire is that we begin a new season today of resurrection, hope, justice, and love in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina that will be a beacon for all.” Taking this charge and the wisdom of Baldwin to heart, the community of St. Francis is living into the long-standing Anglican tradition of following the middle way, not turning away from who we’ve been, while continuing always to turn our attend toward the movement of the Holy Spirit. We are a community dedicated to loving, not judging, respecting the dignity of every human being.
I’m Michael Shaffer, the Priest-in-Charge at St. Francis Episcopal Church and if you are looking for a community that doesn’t simply welcome all, but embraces everyone, I invite you to join us for worship, as we rejoice in and celebrate the breadth, color, and diversity of God’s Beloved Community.
“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8
The community of St. Francis Episcopal is currently worshiping with the community of St. Mark’s Episcopal in their historic church building consecrated in 1878. We are grateful to the people of St. Mark’s with whom we worship in oneness as the Body of Christ, while still retaining our independent identity and continuing to conduct outreach ministry in West Ashley.
St. Mark’s is located at 16 Thomas Street in downtown Charleston. Parking is available on site in the lot adjacent to the church or in a lot owned by Ashley Hall School, at the corner of Warren and Smith streets, only one short block from the church. Although we hope circumstances will allow your attendance in person, if you are unable to do so, Sunday morning worship services are live streamed and can be accessed at https://www.saintmarkschurch.com.