From Church Plant to Parish

Gary Beson and Linda Roumillat welcome guests to pancake supper.

By the Rev. Gary Beson, Rector, St. Timothy’s, Cane Bay.

In less than five years, the Lord has taken eight followers of Jesus and multiplied them tenfold! The church plant that began in a living room and then quickly moved to St. Paul’s Reformed Episcopal Church in Moncks Corner was welcomed as a parish with full status on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at the 228th Diocesan Convention held at St James Church on James Island, SC.

Twenty-one of its members stood proudly before the convention as they were received with over a one-minute standing ovation.

“Outside the Walls” Pancake Supper at Eggs Up Grill

This same month, St. Timothy’s continued its tradition and founding vision of being a church “outside the walls” by renting a restaurant in the local community to host one of its two ‘Fat Tuesday’ pancake suppers. Renting a local restaurant for this traditionally Anglican event was the brainchild of a young couple in the church who wanted to reach the people in the neighborhoods that surround the new worship location St Timothy’s moved into last July. One of St. Timothy’s founding members reached out to the ownership at Eggs Up Grill to inquire about renting the space and inviting the neighborhoods around it to come and eat for free!

Kids eat pancakesSt. Timothy’s used social media, the neighborhood association websites, and signage to invite over 3,000 people to come enjoy free food and hospitality while Mardi Gras masks and beads were provided for the children. The placemats were the only form of overt evangelism the church used to introduce itself to the community. Children could color one side of the placemat while the other side doubled as an invitation to come and join us for worship during Lent. The Eggs Up Grill waitstaff and cooks provided the expertise and several members from the church greeted, seated, and hosted the visitors. Linda Roumillat, a St Timothy’s member and volunteer hostess at the event, remarked, “I was totally filled with joy as I watched families and strangers enjoy the meal, much the way a healthy family does at Thanksgiving.” Over 180 new neighbors and friends came for meals at Eggs Up while, simultaneously, there was a second pancake supper offered to the members of St. Timothy’s.

Over 20 St Timothy’s regulars met at three tables in the home of one of the founding members and enjoyed pancakes and fellowship. Amazingly, this church without a building was able to host not one, but two pancakes suppers on Shrove Tuesday!

Funding a Water Project in Kenya

Also in March, St. Timothy’s received word that its Water Mission project in Kenya had been fully funded by a grant. That grant brought the total collected up to the necessary $67,000 needed to start construction in September. St Timothy’s has been fundraising for this project since two of its members returned from a mission trip to that area in September 2016. St. Timothy’s has been partnered since its founding with the Rev Fred Onyango of Masera, Kenya, and his parish St. James. Fred identified a village that did not have clean drinking water, and since 2015 funds have been solicited to make the dream of clean drinking water for over 5,000 people a reality. The Water Missions project will provide a solar pump station and five taps to service people who until now have had to walk daily—some up to two miles—to pump unclean and unfiltered water from a bore hole.

Thankful for Support

The Rev. Gary Beson said, “It has been an exciting and challenging 4.5 years for this young church, and being recognized during the Convention for all that the Lord has done was the icing on the church plant cake!”

St Timothy’s now meets at 438 Marketplace Drive in Summerville, at 5 pm on Saturdays. The building they meet in is home to The Church at Cane Bay on Sundays and a preschool Monday – Friday. And now this building hosts St. Timothy’s, who continues to worship on Saturday evenings.

Because of the Lord’s desire to see unity in His Church and since sharing space, the congregations of the Church at Cane Bay and St. Timothy’s hosted the Cane Bay community Sunrise service this Easter. Invitations went out to all 4,000+ residents in the growing Cane Bay area and people were invited to welcome Easter Morning and the Risen Lord at a short sunrise service on the church property.

St. Timothy’s is very thankful for the prayers and support from the Diocese and parishes within the Diocese who have come along side to enable them to be a working presence for Christ in this growing area of Berkeley County.