South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Eternal Father of the Sea — North Charleston, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County  |  Eternal Father of the Sea

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Eternal Father of the Sea

The Charleston Navy Yard overlooking the Cooper River in North Charleston began operations in 1903 and continued throughout the twentieth century, officially closing in 1996. The chapel that served navy personnel as well as local civilians, Eternal Father of the Sea, was built in 1942 during World War II. The war expanded the navy yard’s work force dramatically – from around 2,000 prior to the war to 25,948 in 1943. As a result, the chapel was expanded in 1944.

Eternal Father Restored

(Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
The photo above shows the Eternal Father of the Sea chapel after its restoration and relocation.

The non-denominational chapel held services for Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish sailors and their families. Because such a large number of American soldiers were deployed during the war, many weddings were officiated at the chapel, along with “Thanksgiving Services” when ships returned.

Eternal Father Sea

(Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
The old chapel deteriorated during the decades after the Charleston Navy Base closed.

The last military service was held here on September 3, 1995. During this service, a time capsule was opened that had been placed in the chapel’s corner stone. Inside the box were a Holy Bible, Prayer Book for Soldiers and Sailors, Army-Navy Service Book, Service Prayer Book, Army-Navy Hymnal, 41 pennies, and four dimes. The books had water damage, thought to be the result of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Eternal Father Pre Restoration

(Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
Taken from the side, this photograph shows the sanctuary during its restoration.

In 1998 a new congregation – God’s True Deliverance Church – made use of the sanctuary, remaining here until 2004. The building was then used as a performance venue for the North Charleston Arts Festival until extensive termite damage halted its use in 2005.

Eternal Father Restored

(Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
This post-restoration shot shows the chapel at its new location near the Historic Officers’ Quarters District.

In 2006 the City of North Charleston initiated plans to restore the building and the following year spent $143,890 on repairs. The city relocated the chapel about a mile from its original site on North Hobson Avenue some time in 2015 to make room for a railway. It now sits amid the former officers’ housing. Restoration continued following the chapel’s move, including the removal of original features such as doors, windows, and light fixtures for preservation during the process. Also, the chapel was enlarged to meet code requirements, and restrooms and dressing rooms were added for weddings, modernizing the historic building for future use. The results of the project can be seen in the above photo and at the top of the page.

Eternal Father of the Sea

(Joy Rogers Hiott of Moncks Corner, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
This image captures the church as it appears at the head of a new shell lane.

More Pictures of Eternal Father of the Sea

Eternal Father of the Sea

Joy Rogers Hiott of Moncks Corner, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Eternal Father of the Sea

Joy Rogers Hiott of Moncks Corner, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Eternal Father Navy Chapel

(Susan Klavohn Bryant of Mount Pleasant, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)
Taken from the rear, this photo shows the chapel during its restoration.

Eternal Father of the Sea Info

Address: 1097 Navy Way, North Charleston, SC 29405
GPS Coordinates: 32.868082,-79.968468

Eternal Father of the Sea Map

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13 Comments about Eternal Father of the Sea

SC Picture Project says:
January 6th, 2019 at 6:25 pm

Congratulations on your engagement! We aren’t directly affiliated with the church but the City of North Charleston should be able to assist you with everything you need to know! You’re able to contact contact Tory Bowers at 843-740-5854 for venue information.

Amber says:
January 5th, 2019 at 12:22 am

My fiancé and I recently got engaged and are looking for a good church to get married in. I would like to know how much it would cost to get married in the chapel? If there is an area for a reception of 60-100 people? Cost of the reception and if we would be able to use tables and chairs. Also how much to pay the pastor to marry us.

Patty Fulmer says:
May 21st, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Was wondering what happened to the officers club? I use to go there when my dad was stationed here.We would sometimes enjoy dinner and also loved the swimming pool and also the bar lounge.Was it torn down.Its such a beautiful area.. says:
November 3rd, 2017 at 6:12 pm

It looks wonderful, I would love to see the interior!

Margie Castillo says:
November 2nd, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Thank you for your help and kind words.


SCIWAY says:
November 1st, 2017 at 10:56 pm

Hello Margie, we are not directly affiliated but it looks like you would have to reach out to the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority, their phone number is 843-747-0010. Hope this helps and congratulations to your son and his fiancé!

Margie Castillo says:
November 1st, 2017 at 5:01 pm

My son and his fiancé are looking for their wedding venue for November 2018. Your Chapel is breathtaking and the history is just what the kids were looking for. Where can they go to get more information? Thank You in advance, Margie

SCIWAY says:
March 1st, 2016 at 7:28 am

Thank you for the information, Michelle!

Michelle B. says:
February 29th, 2016 at 10:54 pm

This property has been moved to 1097 Navy Way. There is a news article about why the property has been moved.

SCIWAY says:
November 30th, 2015 at 9:16 am

We would love to see that image, too!

John Fletcher says:
November 28th, 2015 at 2:13 pm

My only visit to the chapel was 1976 for the funeral of a shipmate. Being a boomer sailor I remember the painting of Christ waist deep in the sea with an FBM sub on the surface. Where is the art work? I would love to buy a print of that painting-could be a money maker for preservationist!

Kay King says:
March 15th, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Also, what happened to the wall that had memorabilia in it like artwork?

Kay King says:
March 15th, 2015 at 4:24 pm

When was the chapel moved to its new location? I am so happy to see it being restored. My family has had one wedding and two funerals there. Would have been three funerals, but it was already closed up. My family attended church services (and Sunday School across the street) for many years.


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