Charleston earned the nickname, Holy City, due to its abundance of churches and early acceptance of diverse denominations. The establishment of Church Creek Presbyterian shares a similar story to many of Charleston’s historic churches; though not established until 1971, the church formed from a small group of people with a desire for religious expression.
Though many denominations – from Unitarian to Baptist, from Catholic to Jewish – regularly welcome worshipers in the Holy City, a group of locals sensed a void in Charleston’s religious landscape during the 1960s and 1970s. During that time, many conservative members of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PC-USA) left the denomination due to theological differences. Those who broke away formed a new denomination they called the Reformed Presbyterian Church, which later would be known as the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
On January 26, 1971, 15 people interested in organizing a Reformed Presbyterian Church in Charleston met in the Francis Marion Hotel to make plans for a new church. They then advertised another organizational meeting in the local newspapers. Within five days, 43 people reconvened in the hotel for the church’s first worship service, led by the Reverend Umbreit, a visiting pastor invited by the group. Over the following months various pastors visited the burgeoning congregation, which at that time met in a community room in the St. Andrew’s Shopping Center. Other spaces later were utilized, including the Charles Webb Center on Calhoun Street and the French Huguenot Church on Church Street. While worshiping at the Huguenot Church, members used space at the Dock Street Theatre across the street for a nursery. On April 4, 1972, the church ordained its first permanent pastor, the Reverend Gerald Paul Malkus, who had been supplying the pulpit since the previous August.
The expanding congregation soon outgrew the Huguenot Church and began holding services in the Seventh Day Adventist Church in West Ashley, an area of Charleston located west of the Ashley River. In 1977 the church formed a building committee, and land was purchased near Church Creek on Highway 61. By 1978 Church Creek Reformed Presbyterian Church was built. In 1981 the church founded a school based on the church’s religious tenants called Charleston Christian School. The school serves children from K4 through 8th grade and sits adjacent to the church.
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