Much-anticipated history book about St. Helena church to arrive

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To commemorate its 300th anniversary, the Parish Church of St. Helena will unveil a newly published book titled “Amazing Grace: The 300-year history of the Parish Church of St. Helena’s.” The public will get its first viewing of this much-anticipated book at a reception in the church’s Parish House on Friday, December 21 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Books will be available for sale during the reception.

“Amazing Grace” is a 271-page chronological narrative of the history of the church with black-and-white and color photographs throughout.

In its beginnings, the Parish Church of St. Helena provided the foundation for worship, education, and government in South Carolina; and the history of the parish shows that the faith of the founders and congregants of St. Helena’s gave this parish the resilience to move forward through wars, occupations, economic depression and prosperity.

According to the book’s editor, Barbara Payne, “It is our hope that the reader will feel the difficulties of life in a truly frontier parish in the 1700s, the terror of the Yemassee Indian War, the occupation by the British during the Revolutionary War and then again by Union troops during the Civil War. Following those wars, the church withstood several major hurricanes, an earthquake, the effects of a major depression and two World Wars.”

Beaufort historian Lawrence S. Rowland, Professor Emeritus at University of South Carolina Beaufort, after reading the book’s proofs, had this endorsement: “‘Amazing Grace’ is a wonderful contribution to the 300th anniversary of a parish and community whose antecedents pre-date the settlement of Jamestown and the landing at Plymouth Rock. Nationally recognized scholars, experienced editors, and seasoned academics contributed their time and talent to produce a thoroughly researched and elegantly written single volume history of one of the most historic churches in America.”

“Amazing Grace” represents almost three years of collaborative work by a committee of six parishioners led by Ms. Payne, forming the Research and Publishing Committee, as a sub-committee of the Tricentennial Standing Committee. The cover is a painting that hangs in the church’s office by local artist Nancy Ricker Rhett.

The public is invited for the formal introduction of the book on Friday, December 21 in the Parish Hall of St. Helena’s Parish Church, 507 Newcastle Street, Beaufort, between 3:30 and 6 p.m. For more information, contact the church at 843-522-1712 or online at www.sthelena1712.org.

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