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Congregation fights to preserve historic church

Friday, January 6, 2017 4:41
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Via Billy

ABBEVILLE – Trinity Episcopal Church’s 36-member congregation is working to repair and renovate the 156-year-old church.

“It’s not just a church effort, but it’s a community effort because the church is not ours — it belongs to the community,” said the Rev. Todd Oswald, who has been the priest at Trinity for about a year.

Trinity, which was completed and consecrated in November 1860 — just days before Abraham Lincoln was elected president and weeks before South Carolina voted to secede from the Union — is the oldest church in Abbeville County, and maintaining its aging structure is a constant challenge.

Oswald said, “There have been numerous efforts to restore the church.”

The last substantial effort to restore the building took place in 1976, said Dick Haldeman, Trinity’s clerk and parish administrator. The current project, he said, is expected to be far more comprehensive.

On Trinity’s grounds is a cemetery, built in 1852, that serves as the final resting place for soldiers killed in the Civil War, and set in the church’s walls are stained glass-windows created by William Gibson, who began the earliest known stained-glass business in America in the 1830s.


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