This past Sunday (April 23), St. Thomas’s Church, Mt. Pleasant celebrated its tenth anniversary. The idea was born 12 years ago when an old and dear friend of mine from Camp St. Christopher, Dr. Ben Jackson, and I wanted to find a new way to reach people with the love of Jesus Christ. The answer came when The Rev. Shay Gaillard introduced us to Tim Keller’s article “Why Plant Churches.” Keller shows how starting new, smaller, locally-focused, Gospel-centered church can best accomplish this goal. We believed God was calling us to be ambassadors of Christ’s forgiving love where we live, work, play, and learn.
This started a two year process of discernment and planning coached by The Rev. Rob Sturdy and The Rev. Todd Simonis. We were launched with the help of The Diocese of the Carolinas (that put $80,000.00 into St. Thomas over four years) as well as two Churches: St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant, and St. Michael’s, Charleston. These two churches provided additional financial resources as well as encouraging their members who felt called to join us. Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant, and St. Peter’s, Mt. Pleasant, have also been generous with their prayer and encouragement. There would be no St. Thomas’s without these partners.
Ten years on, we have seen the Kingdom of God manifested in more ways than we could ask or imagine. Many people have come to faith in Jesus. We have equipped people to be evangelists, to come alongside the broken hearted in practical help and prayer, to care for the poor and marginalized, and to seek justice in our community. We have also helped many to encounter God through musical and visual art.
My greatest honor has been watching the “average” St. Thomas’s member take up the calling to be Christ’s ambassador. They have sacrificed time, money, and energy to reach people who may never encounter Jesus any other way. I see Christ in them as I never have before.
Please pray for St. Thomas’s Vestry and me. On May 26-28, we are going to ask the Holy Spirit to chart out the next 10 years. Please ask the Lord to give us clarity and excitement for this next chapter.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we could ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Ephesians 4:20-21.
By The Rev. Hamilton Smith, Rector