EUTAWVILLE - The Historic Church of the Epiphany in Eutawville celebrated its homecoming with the return of a former longtime beloved rector, The Very Rev. John Scott, leading the worship service to a packed house on Sunday, Nov. 4.
Though Epiphany has had homecomings in the past, this one was special to many in attendance not only because it was a reunion of old and new friends and family and ladies from Hebron Grace, but also because Scott and his wife Toni were there to share in the occasion.
Father John, as he is known to most, served from 1993-2010 and is the second longest serving rector at Epiphany (the longest serving rector was Rev. John W. Motte with 23 years: 1891-1914).
Scott has been an inspiration to many at The Historic Church of the Epiphany, and it was evident that those attending were touched once again by his presence and message. When he reached the front of the church at the beginning of the service, Scott took a moment and smiled as he looked around at everyone, saying he was happy to see so many familiar and new faces.
During the coffee hour later, Scott said it was great to be back, adding that it felt like he had never left.
Scott has a way of drawing people into his sermons by including history, song and other interesting facts or observations, and this service was no different. He noted that most churches' names were chosen for a specific reason. The founders of the Eutawville church wanted to share the love of Jesus and simply called it Epiphany Chapel at the time, Scott said, noting that Epiphany means “to make the faith known." He said he took it as a calling to come to such a church and be a witness to the community around him and loved that the members shared that same view.
Scott currently serves as assistant rector at St. Paul's in Summerville. After 56 years of service, he said he's enjoying it as much as ever and has more time as an assistant rector to minister more directly to people.
Epiphany Church was built as a chapel of ease to Rocks Church in 1849 due to the growing population in the Village of Eutaw (Eutawville). It was not consecrated at the time so that it could be a chapel of ease for many denominations.
Epiphany Church can trace its roots back to 1663 when the Church of England was establishing itself in Charles Town (Charleston). Those roots would spread to St. Stephens and then Rocks Church (consecrated in 1844 as the Church of the Epiphany), which would become Church Island in Lake Marion when the Santee Cooper project started in 1941. The old cemetery and site of Rocks Church can still be visited today. Epiphany Chapel then became The Church of the Epiphany.
In addition to the historic little church, other notable buildings on the property are The Rectory (built in 1836) and the Parish House (believed to have been built in the 1830s and donated by the Gaillard Family to Epiphany Church).
Senior Warden Gene Scarborough said of Sunday's homecoming, “The Holy Spirit was evident in this place!”
The Historic Church of the Epiphany has a dedicated congregation with a number of worthwhile outreach programs. Services are held at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays and Bible Study is held at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. To learn more, visit www.historicepiphany.org.