It is the vision of Sea Island’s leadership to freshen this sacred and holy place as a matter of responsible stewardship and to provide a space for worship and hospitality that serves as a symbol of our Christian faith and strong Celtic tradition.
Pledge Cards will be collected starting March 11.
Kay and I, along with several other Sea Islanders, enjoyed the opportunity of visiting Scotland and touring many of the historical sites that make it a special place for many of us. The highlight of the trip for me was our trip to the Western Isle of Iona where an Irish Monk by the name of St. Columba founded a monastery and evangelized the people of Scotland to the Christian faith.
In 1938, George McLeod from the Church of Scotland organized an Iona Community of pastors and lay people for the purpose of resurrecting the old abbey as a place where people could be formed spiritually to live as faithful followers of Jesus Christ. McLeod often referred to Iona as a “thin place,” where heaven and earth seem to touch.
Upon my return from Scotland I immediately saw our church campus as a “thin place.” Like the Iona Community, our campus is established on a sea barrier island and serves as a place for worship and communal life, and spiritual formation in the Reformed tradition of the Christian faith. Since 1991, we have received over 1,400 pilgrims into the life of this congregation. Through the years, one of the most frequent comments I have heard from newcomers is that they were first attracted to our campus and especially our church because of its architecture and natural beauty. What kept them here was the warm spirit of our Christian hospitality and the peace they experienced in our sanctuary by way of our worship and fellowship.
Nearly twenty five years have passed and our sanctuary and narthex have entertained the traffic of thousands as our doors remain open to the community around us. Our place of welcome and worship, especially to the stranger, is beginning to show wear. It is the vision of Sea Island’s leadership to freshen this sacred and holy space as a matter of responsible stewardship and to provide a space for worship and hospitality that serves as a symbol of our Christian faith and strong Celtic tradition.
After two years of careful study of the sanctuary the Session Council approved and commissioned the need for painting, re-carpeting, modifications in the choir loft, updating an antiquated sound system, and replacing HVAC system that meets current codes and regulations. Similarly, in conversation with several sister churches in the low country and numerous consultants, a plan has been developed to modify the narthex and surrounding area in order to make it more compatible with the warm and hospitable spirit of the Sea Island community of faith.
We believe there is a sense of urgency regarding the results of this study that has been presented to the Session Council. Most importantly, if we delay addressing these concerns, the more expensive it will be to address and correct the issues in the future. At the present time, the Session Council is happy to report that the church is growing and enjoys a balanced budget. In addition, a recent consult with a representative from the Presbyterian Foundation indicated that we are in a good financial position to move forward if it be the will of the congregation.
The Session Council has contracted with the Novus Architectural Firm in Charleston. Schematics and proposals have been presented to the Session Council via the Narthex & Sanctuary Committee. The Session Council has appointed a Capital Campaign Committee and contracted with Generis, Atlanta, GA who has worked with the Capital Campaign Committee in forming a plan in which to address these needs with you, the congregation, and to further develop a strategic plan in order to raise the necessary funds to begin the work. The total cost of the project for both the sanctuary and narthex is in the amount of $ 1,200,000. The Session Council proposes tackling the project in two stages and is using the target of $ 600,000 to commence the first stage.
Pastor Steve and Kay are in good health and continue to enjoy linking hands and hearts with you as we do the work, mission and ministry of the church together in Christ’s name. They believe there are more miles to run and more mountains to climb before their journey is over in service to Christ Jesus and the people of this congregation. Members of the Session Council are committed to this project as well. It is hoped that every member and friend of Sea Island, every family unit, will see themselves as a “Stakeholder” in bringing this important work to a successful conclusion, all to the Glory of God.
O Christ, you are a bright flame before me.
You are a guiding star above me.
You are the light and love I see in others eyes.
Keep me, O Christ, in a love that is tender.
Keep me, O Christ, in a love that is true.
Keep me, O Christ, in a love that is strong.
Tonight, tomorrow, and always.
– Celtic Prayers from Iona by J. Philip Newell, page 57