Who We Are

Welcome to the Episcopal Church on Edisto

  • We Episcopalians believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world.
  • We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being; women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of sexual identity or orientation.
  • We believe that God loves you – no exceptions!

All Are Welcome!

We are affiliated with The Episcopal Church, which is the Anglican Communion’s representative in the United States. Our Presiding Bishop is The Most Reverend Michael Curry. We are also a member of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of South Carolina which is led by Bishop Ruth Woodliff-Stanley. To learn more about each organization click on the pictures below.

Our History

Established in 1774, our congregation has been affiliated with the Episcopal Church since its founding. For over 235 years, we worshipped at Trinity Episcopal Church until 2012 when the vestry voted to leave the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal congregation continued with those members who felt called to continue as Episcopalians and began worshiping in the living rooms of various members. We were fortunate to have local residents like the Rev. John Fisher and the Rev. Bert Hatch come out of retirement to serve as our priests.

As our numbers grew, we needed to find a larger space to worship. Everywhere we turned, we were met with great kindness from those in the community. We became known in the Diocese as the “BBQ Worshiping Community” thanks to local businessman named “Bo Bo” who allowed us to worship in his BBQ restaurant on Sunday mornings.  In 2013, we were again blessed when the New First Missionary Baptist Church allowed us to sign a lease to use their historic sanctuary.  At the 2022 Diocesan Convention we were welcomed into the Diocese as a parish.

In addition to Revs. Fisher and Hatch, we have also been blessed by wonderful clergy who have answered the call to serve as our priest-in-charge. Those clergy include the Rev. Colton Smith, the Rev. Paul Gilbert the Rev. Fred Thompson, the Rev. Bob Blackwell and our current interim priest-in-charge, the Rev. Bill Coyne.

Although our story is unusual, it has been a true blessing and positively affected the characteristic of who we are. Our experience has shown us that it is not the building that matters but the relationships built and the expressions of true Christian love that we have received that makes the opportunity to worship together each week so special. We hope you will join us.

Our New Rector

The Rev Joseph Smith joined us mid August of 2023.

Father Smith was ordained by the Diocese of Upper South Carolina first to the diaconate in June of 2007 and later into the priesthood on February 2, 2008. After a few years as curate with St. Matthew’s in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Smith was called to be the first vicar of St. Christopher’s in Spartanburg.  Much like the churches in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, St. Christophers also had its troubles with schism which led Bishop Dorsey Henderson to changing them to mission status.  Fr. Smith describes his five years with St. Christophers as some of the most fulfilling ministry and no doubt has prepared him for his upcoming tenure with the Episcopal Church on Edisto.  No doubt hid nine years at St. Mary’s in Wayne, Pennsylvania also gave him the experience and confidence to lead the good people of the ECOE now that they have become a parish.  Father Smith said, “I am so excited to get back to my roots in South Carolina, to be on Edisto Island and to see where the Holy Spirit will take us. I am excited!”

Our Lay Leadership

Our Vestry helps define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission by word and deed, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances. Our Vestry is composed of six lay members from the congregation. The Priest-in-Charge is the presiding officer. We elect two members each year for a three-year term. Our current Vestry members are –

Jim Gettys – Senior Warden
Bill Houston – Junior Warden
Emilie Cox 
Kathy Kuntz 
Steve Stemkowski 

Bob King  and Steve Powers – Treasurer

Olivia Padgett – Recording Secretary