The downtown Charleston church threatened with being sold to become someone’s private home is instead halfway to reaching the fundraising goal to save it.
Members of Church of the Redeemer at 43 Wentworth St. say they’ve raised or secured $800,000 of the $1.6 million needed to keep the 1840s building off the seller’s block.
Much of the money was raised from sources tied to the congregation. Now, the group plans to expand its tax-deductible pitch to outside the church family, knowing it has until Oct. 31 to make the goal.
The nearly 175-year-old site must “continue to play the role that it has played in the heart of this city,” Pastor Craig Bailey of Redeemer Presbyterian, said Thursday during a gathering to announce their progress.
The donations include a low-interest loan from a family from another denomination, officials said, plus other personal gifts ranging into the thousands of dollars from people who want to keep the church going.
Church building committee Chairwoman Nancy Vinson said the appeal will include stressing the precedent of preserving a historic structure that could lose its church mission forever, if the sale goes through.
“With all the interest in preservation, and maintaining the historic fabric of the Holy City, we hope many Charlestonians will want to partner with us in saving this beautiful pre-Civil War church,” she said.
Earlier this year, the former St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and its adjacent educational building were poised to be sold to a local businesswoman who planned to renovate them into residences and office space. Currently, Redeemer only leases the space from St. Andrew’s but wants to buy it outright.
When outcry against the sale grew, St. Andrew’s and others struck a compromise to postpone the sale if Redeemer could match the $1.6 million sales price by Oct. 31.
The Greek Revival building was built as a Methodist church around 1840, but it merged with a Lutheran congregation and changed to that denomination shortly after the Civil War. The St. Andrew’s congregation moved to West Ashley around 2006 and since has leased the building to Redeemer Presbyterian. For more information, go to HolyCityCharleston.org.