Stewardship Award

Project: Strawberry Chapel
Awarded to: Strawberry Chapel and St. Johns Parish, Berkeley County
Submitted by: Dr. Robert Ball

The Carolina Assembly colonial legislature of the early 1700s passed “The Church Act of 1706.” Out of that Old St. Andrew’s Parish Church was the first to be publicly funded and was built ca. 1706ff. In the St. John’s Parish, Biggin Church was built in 1715.

 

In the early 1700s, a Planter of the parish, Mr. James Child, laid out a new town on the river, called Childbury.  As Childbury grew to accommodate settlers, an act was passed by the General Assembly in 1725 to construct a Chapel of Ease, in this case, Strawberry. It was named for Strawberry Plantation in Moncks Corner, located directly across the Cooper River. Parishioners crossed on barges to attend services.

 

The Acts of the Assembly stated the Rector/ Minister of the Parish should: “every fourth Sunday throughout the year, and not oftener, repair to the said Chapel, and the and there declare Divine Service, according to the Rubric of the Church of England, and at proper times preach and do and perform all such sacred and ministerial Offices which by him may be done, exercises and performed.”

 

Strawberry Chapel of Ease, over the centuries has, with minimal interruption, continued to serve all attendees, many of whom now are descendants of some of the original/ subsequent plantation families, Wardens and Vestry of our Chapel, and local area landowners. Services continue four times yearly, using the 1928 Standard Book of Common Prayer and the 1940 Hymnal. Vestry members, usually descendants of original lowcountry families, have for 3 centuries vigorously

maintained our Chapel in spite of wars, poverty, development attempts nearby, and vandals.

 

Ten years ago, the Vestry began long-term complete Chapel restoration planning, which continues to this day. An out-building/ restroom with a well, running water, and modern facilities was built in 2016-2017. A replacement roof, built with restored 100-year-warranty asphalt shingles was completed in 2018. In 2018, the current Vestry began an ambitious multi-phase 5-year complete restoration project, beginning with the interior, which is now 95% complete. In 2022, the Vestry plans to complete the interior and exterior restoration in time for the Chapel’s 2025 Tricentennial.