Church of the Week: St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Charleston, SC

St. Michael's Episcopal Church is an historic Episcopal church and the oldest surviving religious structure in Charleston, South Carolina. It is located at Broad and Meeting streets, just a couple blocks from where the lovely Robin and I lodged on our recent visit to Charleston.

The plaque above, just inside the church entrance, refers to the original wooden church built on this site in 1681. That structure was damaged in a hurricane in 1710 and a new St. Phillip's Church was built a few blocks away on Church Street. In 1727, what was left of the old wooden church was demolished, and this church (possibly influenced by St. Martin-in-the-Fields) built in the 1750s,

It is an absolutely gorgeous church, lovingly preserved. The pulpit (above) is the original one, remarkable for its height and the massive sounding board supported by two Corinthian columns. In 1865 during the Federal bombardment of the city, a shell burst through the roof near the chancel; a scar is still to be seen at the base of the pulpit. The seating is still in numbered boxes, which in times past would have been purchased (or subscribed) by church members (a large, long double-pew in the center of the church, No. 43, is the one in which President George Washington worshipped on Sunday afternoon, May 8, 1791. General Robert E. Lee also worshipped in the pew some seventy years later).

Several of the stained glass windows are Tiffany windows. Above is the baptismal font.

Gardens and a cemetery run alongside the church, which is still very proud and active.

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