Before I ran for public office, I would write articles from time-to-time for The Irmo News. One of my first articles was about my church, Riverland Hills Baptist. At the time, we were relocating off Parkridge Drive (from our former St. Andrews location) and were in the midst of a huge construction process. Since that time, we’ve grown more and continue to build to fit the needs of our members and visitors.
Last week, I had a similar feeling as I sat down with friend Larry Haltiwanger and his pastor, Rev. Dr. Derrick Scott of St. Paul AME Church on Kennerly Road.
The church currently has approximately 400 members with a sanctuary that holds 250. Larry has been a member since the early 80’s and Pastor Scott has led the church for the past six years. They’ve considered expanding years ago; but ran into difficulties and had to postpone until now. Situated on almost 10 acres, the designs for the coming years is impressive.
Pictured above is Pastor Scott with the current sanctuary in the background. In the foreground are the footings for the soon-to-be-completed 13,000+ square foot sanctuary that will hold 700 people! Construction should be completed in time for Easter Services next spring.
David Peoples, from Asheville, is the General Contractor and Dan Creed is the project’s architect.
Once finished, the facility will be home to the 2014 Columbia Annual Conference of AME Churches. Ninety churches in the Columbia, Newberry, and Lancaster areas make up the district and all will be coming to Irmo September 6-13 next year.
St. Paul AME has Sunday and Thursday services along with an After-School Program 3 days a week. Thursdays at noon is their Senior MidDay Bible Study and Sunday the church has 8am prayer, 9am Church School, and a 10am service.
Their goal is to be more active in the community and they are accomplishing that by focusing on having more men involved in leading the church, reaching out to the area youth (adopting a local classroom in District Five), and visiting area nursing homes.
Before I left, Pastor Scott shared with me the theme for 2013-2014, “For a change to take place, you must be in a place of change and become a change agent!”
St. Paul AME is certainly doing just that and will look to increase their membership in the coming years ahead in their new facility. If you’re nearby, be sure to stop by and check it out!