Holy Spirit to Launch as Separate Parish

Holy Spirit, Daniel Island

By the Rev. Jonathan Bennett, The Church of the Holy Cross, Daniel Island 

A growing phenomenon in our culture, heightened by the COVID pandemic, is children not leaving home. Or, children moving back into their parents home at some stage, often after college. In fact, an article published in December 2022 revealed that approximately half of all young adults in the US, ages 18 to 29, now live with their parents. Most of them citing economic reasons for doing this, including a desire to save money (51%) and an inability to afford rent (39%). Which can be a very good thing, setting them up for financial success and stability when they leave.


However, what if the kids never leave and don’t want to?! Over the last decade or two a term has been coined for this called “Failure to Launch Syndrome,” which is a common way to describe a young adult who’s struggling with the transition to adulthood. It can be defined as an inability to leave home and support oneself, regardless of the underlying cause.


This syndrome has become so common that even Hollywood made a movie about it, called “Failure to Launch,” starring my wife’s favorite, the incredibly handsome and charming Matthew McConaughey (!). McConaughey plays a 35-year-old professional layabout, happy to stay at home where he’s waited on hand and foot by his increasingly concerned and frustrated mom Sue, who eventually hires a character played by Sarah Jessica Parker, to use her feminine wiles to lever him out of the family home!


Now, why do I tell you all this?! Well, as I reflect on the history of the Holy Cross Daniel Island campus, I am aware that there’s always been a danger that we would “fail to launch”, and suffer the stunted growth that comes with such a failure.


To give you a little history, I was working as the Senior Youth Pastor at Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island, back in the early 2000s when it was announced that there was going to be a second campus. My wife (Melissa) and I were at the groundbreaking for the Daniel Island campus in 2005, and we worshiped there for the first two years of its existence, until we were called away, in 2008, to work at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center and to worship at Church of Our Saviour on Johns Island. But, even in those first two years, I could already see the potential for the campus model being used as a way to launch or plant new churches; to have a campus established with the help of an already established “mother church,” with all the strength that offers, but then launch it out after a few years once it was ready to stand on its own two feet.


And so, in 2015, when our former Rector, Chris Warner, called and asked me to consider a call to serve as Campus Pastor at HCDI I leapt at the chance, but not before I shared these thoughts with him and asked if he was open to the campus launch and release. He told me he was, and while it took seven years, by the beginning of 2022 things lined up, and we began a process of discernment to confirm this was the right time. The clergy and vestry of the Church of the Holy Cross (Sullivan’s Island and Daniel Island) took time during Lent, and then throughout the summer, to prayerfully discern whether or not God was in fact calling the Daniel Island campus to be launched out as its own church. After this time of discernment, the vestry and clergy were unanimous in their support for the launch. It was found to be financially viable, but more importantly, good for the health of both campuses and for the growth of God’s kingdom.


Therefore, in the fall of 2022, a Daniel Island Launch Committee was formed. This team, led by me, Jonathan Bennett (Associate Rector & Campus Pastor) consisted of David Rogers, Lisa Barrington, Marlo Greene, Chris Hamlin, Eddie Schroder, Carl Wist and Rusty Seymour. The team God gave us  had  an incredible amount of experience and gifting to lead us through this process, as well as a deep commitment to Holy Cross Daniel Island and Sullivan’s Island. Our goal was to ensure that both campuses were  launched well in this new phase of Holy Cross’ life.


The time frame we were given was that by the spring of 2024 we would become our own Parish, being officially recognized and received as such by the Diocese at our annual Diocesan Convention. In 2023, order to help this become a reality, we worked towards having two separate and parallel budgets within our overall church budget to help the transition to two separate budgets in 2024. We also worked on developing a staff team that could handle the needs of not just being a campus but being a parish. We established new bylaws, and prayerfully discerned a new name, Church of the Holy Spirit, which was similar but different, and reflected the way we felt God had led us throughout this process. It is also unique within our Diocese.


We also moved towards two separate vestries by January 2024, and on Sunday, January 28, 2024, we gathered after our church services for lunch and selected our first ever vestry and lay delegates for Diocesan Convention. It was a joyful occasion!


At the Diocesan Convention in early March we will, God-willing, be received as a Parish in the Diocese, and then on Wednesday, March 13, at 7 pm, I will be instituted as the first Rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Daniel Island, and we will celebrate our launch that evening too. Then we will immediately begin to live into our calling to keep “growing up” and “growing out.”


Plans have already begun for a building expansion to meet the growing needs and opportunities on Daniel Island and beyond. With growing worship services, and a growing music academy and pre-school, as well as being a hub for community activities, we need more classrooms and meeting spaces, more offices and storage space. We will also continue with plans for a church plant in the quickly growing Cainhoy area just a few miles from Daniel Island. We believe launching out is just the beginning of this work God has called us to!