When North Charleston city employees move into their new, four-story City Hall building, Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy will join them. The city will provide free office space for the organization.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey made the announcement Tuesday night during the chaplaincy's annual banquet and 2008 awards ceremony at the Charleston Area Convention Center.
The move, expected in August, will translate into savings for the nonprofit organization during difficult economic times. The chaplaincy for 18 years has been renting space on St. Andrews Boulevard in West Ashley for $900 per month.
"We'll be not only be saving money, but we will be embedded with the Police Department," said the Rev. Rob Dewey, the chaplaincy's founder and senior chaplain. "It's one of our larger departments that calls us, and strategically, it's right in the middle of our response area."
City Hall is moving across the street to Mall Drive from LaCross Road.
At the awards ceremony, the Rev. John Smith, 61, of Ravenel was named chaplain of the year. Smith is pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Ravenel and has served as a volunteer chaplain for nearly 12 years.
"He has been a very dedicated member of our team, always willing to go on calls day or night," Dewey said. "He's got a real giving heart, and we're just honored to have him as part of the team."
Two new chaplains, Pastor Melinda Jones and the Rev. Rich Robinson, were named rookie chaplains of the year.
The chaplaincy presented two dedicated service awards. One went to Christine Hall, a survivor follow-up volunteer. Mount Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman and his wife, Brooke, received the other service award for their financial and moral support of the chaplaincy.
Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy has 18 volunteer chaplains and two full-time chaplains — Dewey and Chaplain Eddie Driggers. The chaplains provide spiritual support in times of unforeseen crisis and traumatic events.