The Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church is a “big-tent” Church, meaning, folks come from a wide variety of “places” to belong to this place. The conversations of our faith include an array of views, opinions and beliefs. However, the single most important belief that holds us together is a passionate and deeply held conviction that Jesus Christ came as God’s own son to save us (yes), but more importantly to show how to live the abundant life in love, here and now. We will agree and disagree on many things at MPPC, but our unity comes from this gift of knowing God’s powerful love through Jesus Christ, and from accepting responsibility to share that love with every person we meet.
A MISSIONAL CHURCH
Agents of God’s Mission. At Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, we believe the Church was created by God and sent into the world as agents of God’s mission, and nowhere is that mission more clearly revealed than in Jesus’ life, relationships, and teaching.
Make a Difference. At our core has been the commitment to make a difference in the world locally and globally.
Be Something Larger. Inspired by God’s love, we want our lives to matter; we want our efforts as a church to contribute to something larger than ourselves.
To be “Missional” is to understand that the Church exists not to meet our needs, but to use our gifts to carry out God’s mission in the world.
WHAT IS THE PCUSA?
Our church is part of a greater denomination in the Christian Tradition called the “Presbyterian Church in the USA”. The PCUSA is a national denomination that is rooted in the history of the Reformed Tradition. The Reformed Tradition focuses on the sovereignty and grace of God and our salvation given to us as a gift in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We govern ourselves “representatively” which means that the members are all leaders in the church, and have the ability to serve in elected leadership positions as “Elders” or “Deacons” to help make decisions in the church.
For more information about the PCUSA, click here to learn more.
OUR DEEP HISTORY
From an all-male congregation of only six when accepted by Charleston Presbytery as a mission church in October 1870, Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church has grown to a membership of almost 3,000 confirmed members.
The white clapboard church at the corner of Church and Hibben Streets in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant–settled in 1680–has quite a history. Planters, some of whom had arrived from New England in 1696, started our mother church, best known today as Old Wappetaw for which the site may be found on Fifteen Mile Landing Road in Awendaw. That church called its first minister, a Congregationalist, in 1699, but many of the ministers who followed were Presbyterian. After the American Revolution, the Old Wappetaw congregation was chartered by the state legislature and its sanctuary, which had been burned by the British when they evacuated the area in 1782, was soon rebuilt.
Since many of Old Wappetaw’s members were acquiring summer cottages in or near the Village of Mount Pleasant, worship services were conducted in the village to accommodate them. Beginning about 1828, those services were held in a community church building on a lot now known as 226 Bennett Street. A private citizen sold that lot in 1846 with no mention in property transfer records of a building on the property. No record has been found of where summer services may have been held from then until the present Presbyterian sanctuary was erected in 1854; but, from the time the present church was built, it was known to all as the “Presbyterian Church,” although it was not affiliated with any organized church body. Nevertheless, Wappetaw’s Presbyterian minister served the church.
Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church was organized by a handful of Civil War survivors who struggled to keep it alive during some of the more difficult years during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The sanctuary had been completed in 1854 as a branch of the Independent Congregational Church of Christ Church Parish. That church, which existed in name only following the war, had been disorganized by the deaths and departure of the majority of its members.
Several years after the Civil War began in 1861, the present sanctuary building became a Confederate hospital. Before the war ended, possibly during the Confederate evacuation of the area in 1865, a Union artillery shell burst overhead, raining small pieces of scrap iron down through the roof.
In January 1866, a Quaker teacher claimed the church building for use as a school for the children of former slaves, occupying it until fall of that year. It was the beginning of what later became Laing School. Cornelia Hancock wrote to her family in Philadelphia: “There was nothing but the dilapidated building; not a chair, table, slate, pencil, book. The only thing that suggested itself to my mind was to take some coals from the improvised fire and make letters and figures on the white columns in the church.”
Evangelists and part-time ministers served the church until 1948, when the congregation of 48 members called its first full-time minister, Rev. Thomas W. Horton, Jr. Although serving full-time at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Reverend Horton was also responsible for the Sullivan’s Island Chapel of Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston.
The sanctuary has been expanded twice to accommodate a pipe organ, an enlarged choir loft and additional seating for the congregation. Several additions to the campus have taken place over the years, also to serve a growing congregation.
From worship services held on an occasional basis in the early years, Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church now has three worship services each Sunday, including a contemporary worship experience entitled “The Net.”
PRIOR FULL-TIME PASTORS
“(At MPPC) there are people helping people, people trying to meet needs and people caring for others, that I hope I had sense enough to try to inspire in those early days.”
“Evangelism is ever a part of the life of the congregation. or its demise if it is lacking.”
From A Memorial to Rev. Lake: “WHEREAS, during this short-lived period Robert J. Lake made a profound and unique impact upon this Church, its Congregation and the Mount Pleasant community, evidencing a love, concern and interest in his fellow man which, though urged in the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, is rarely seen amongst us in these days;…”
“I still think, as I thought then (upon departure) and have often said since, the Mount Pleasant Church is one of the half-dozen or so most faithful congregations in our denomination.”
“God’s last word is always a word of Grace.”
“As I reflect on the history of this church, it occurs to me that my calling is in keeping with the way in which God has been leading this church from its very inception. It’s almost in spite of us that God accomplishes his will. When we look back, we can more clearly see the hand of God always there, always at work.”
“Never focused on its own survival, the Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church has always worked to make a difference in the world, locally and globally. It’s in our DNA!”
ADDITIONS TO THE CHURCH
In 1949, a small one-story education building was constructed behind the sanctuary, often referred to as “the dungeon.” About five years later, a two-story ell was added.
In 1962 the first phase of the Seabrook Building, consisting of eight classrooms, was erected. The remainder was completed in 1968.
A lot to the east of the sanctuary and one immediately behind it were acquired in 1966. Additional property, including five small houses on the block on which the sanctuary is located, was purchased in 1972. Two of the white frame buildings remain.
A major renovation and enlargement of the sanctuary was completed in 1982, which included reopening the balconies which had been closed off in 1939 by a unique arch beneath ceiling.
Also, the sanctuary was lengthened by 26 feet, a new choir loft behind the pulpit was added and a rebuilt 1886 Roosevelt tracker pipe organ was installed.
In addition, a two-story administration building was erected behind the sanctuary, replacing the original education building. The block structure behind the Seabrook Building, the Darby House, was acquired in 1994 for the next phase of expansion. However, the lot proved to be too small to meet the needs of the rapidly growing congregation. Instead, a major building program, completed in 2000, took place. It included a large fellowship hall, increased administrative facilities, and major renovations of both the sanctuary and the Seabrook Building.
In 2005 additional education space was completed on the lot where the Darby House once stood, and the building was named Grace Hall.
The 100-year-old house on 314 Hibben Street was purchased by MPPC with the intention of making a parking lot. Since demolition of the house was not allowed by the town of Mount Pleasant, it was used for storage until 2009 when Hope House, a Hospital Hospitality House, was defined. Hope House, which serves families who have an adult family member in a Charleston area hospital, was renovated and furnished by volunteers. The storage shed in the back yard of the Hope House was completed in 2013 with wheel chair accessibility and is called Hope Cottage. A total of 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths give Hope House the ability to increase occupancy.