Rembert Church serves one of the oldest Methodist congregations in South Carolina. A Methodist society had formed in the Woodrow area of Lee County as early as 1785. By 1797, James Rembert – a wealthy planter who owned Rembert Hall, located about a mile away – had built a chapel for his fellow members. In 1834, one of his descendants, Caleb Rembert, donated eight acres of land for a new meeting house. This meeting house (shown here) was constructed the following year.
In its early days, Rembert Church was a popular stop on the Santee Circuit – Methodists established “circuits” in rural areas for traveling ministers – and drew itinerant ministers such as Reverend Francis Asbury, the first Bishop of the Methodist Church of the United States. In the late 1700s, the cemetery was established, and by 1802, camp meetings, or Methodist revivals, were being held nearby.
Rembert Church grew along with the Methodist denomination in South Carolina. During the 1850s, Rembert Church documented 80 white members and over 500 slave members. By law, slaves were not permitted to worship without the oversight of whites.
In 1962, 127 years after this meeting house was built, the congregation moved to another location. Today the structure represents early South Carolina Methodism and is maintained by the Rembert Church Cemetery Association.
Rembert Church is listed in the National Register:
(Rembert Methodist Church) One of the earliest Methodist congregations in South Carolina was located in the community around Rembert Church, with a Methodist Society meeting as early as 1785. In its early days it was frequently visited by Francis Asbury, the first Bishop of the Methodist Church of the United States. It was also important for the campmeetings that were held nearby, starting in 1802 and 1803. The cemetery here was established in 1800 and the present meeting house style church was erected ca. 1835.
Structurally a plain rectangular building with clapboard siding, such design affords only the essentials needed for worship. It sits on brick piers and has a gabled, metal roof. The windows are 20/20 with two smaller windows above the main ones on the front façade. The Rembert Church building served the rural Methodist congregation (with an 1850s enrollment of some 80 whites and 500 slaves) for over a century. This structure remains as an example of the small church so important to nearly every aspect of life in the rural south during the growth and development of South Carolina.
Rembert Church – More Pictures