There are a number of things that make Charleston so special, especially for a northerner. The rich historic culture, the various islands and bridges, and of course the food. But there is another aspect, one which transforms the intangible into the tangible, and that is Charleston being the Holy City. Something is truly different about people in this area; as it is truly about people, families, and faith. You can see the Spirit of Christ truly living in so many.
With Charleston being crowned the Holy City, there are a number of special churches that help others experience the joy of the Gospel. Last Sunday I had the opportunity to visit St. Andrew’s City Church, an Anglican church in the heart of downtown. Sometimes walking into a new church can be a daunting task. Maybe you are new to the area or maybe you have never been to church yet are facing a very challenging time in your life, and walking into a church is your only option.
At City Church I was welcomed from the first step. You are greeted by a series of young adults as you walk in, and if you are by yourself and do not know anyone…no worries, because they will introduce you to people! In fact when I walked in, a gentleman and his wife came right up to me and engaged in a good 5-minute discussion (yes, this is a long amount of time for someone from New England). As we were talking he mentioned his daughter was in the worship band. You could see in his eyes how much he loved his church, and how proud he was that his family was so active in it helping others.
City Church is filled with people of worship, relationship and mission. As a Christian, one of our biggest responsibilities is to help others connect with the love and power of Christ, and this is City Church’s greatest aim. They are a church not of spectators, but of participants. As a church they know God is at work in the lives of others, and it’s their job to help them along the way.
City Church believes in the sequence of Belong -> Believe -> Behave -> Become. They do not believe that one’s behavior should earn the right to belong. Instead, as Jesus modeled, the invitation to belong (acceptance) is the first step in the transformative power of the Gospel to impact our beliefs and behavior. However, sometimes seeking and living the Gospel is a challenge. At City Church, you will not get a watered-down message to make things appear “easier”, but you will get a community to help walk through that challenge with you and with God.
As the service was about to begin, I went up to the balcony so I could take pictures without disturbing the worship. There was a young lady sitting next to me and I kindly asked if I would bother her while taking pictures for the article. Her response surprised me. She replied, “Yes, feel free to take pictures, you won’t hear much of me as I am up here to pray for the service.” To hear this reply, I saw the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ at work. How awesome is it to have someone praying that you will be touched by God’s love while you are at church?!
City Church hosts their services at the Music Farm, a venue that commonly hosts concerts. Because of the venue, the congregation is very diverse, from college students, to young professions, to tourists. City Church also has some homeless individuals who worship. As a church their goal is to serve and equip, but it is also to get everyone to belong and serve. A great example of this would be a man named Gil Hash. Gil lives in a van downtown but he felt called to go on a recent mission trip with the church to Nicaragua. When you hear this story it is an act of humbleness in one of its greatest forms.
Being a part of a church is about being a part of a community. When service is over, people are not dashing out the door, they are enjoying time with their fellow friends talking and praying. City Church has services every Sunday at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM at the Music Farm Downtown Charleston at 32 Ann Street. You are also always welcome to contact the Pastor Todd Simonis directly at (843) 327.8048.