DAY BY DAY AT
OLD SAINT ANDREW'S
FROM THE INTRODUCTION
Say it’s April 12th. Have you ever wondered what happened at Old St. Andrew’s that day over its long history, or on any other day of the year, for that matter? Maybe it’s only me, but I have.
You now have at your fingertips a complete 366-day calendar of facts in the life of Old St. Andrew’s. There is no logical order to the listings, because the church doesn’t begin neatly on January 1 and end on December 31. Some days list one short event, while others may have two, three, or even four, whatever I ran across that I found interesting. Some events are milestones; others are ordinary parts of church life. Whether you read this book from start to finish or skip around, take a minute to pause and reflect on what these entries mean today.
After years of digging through every resource about Old St. Andrew’s I could lay my hands on, this project was short, challenging, and fun. I was able to put this research to good use another time, and I’ve borrowed liberally from Against All Odds, the church’s history that was published in 2014. Day by Day also includes much new material I’m excited to share.
I’ve included a mix of sources that describe almost everything that comprises the rich tapestry of a parish, including vestry minutes and resolutions, annual congregational meeting minutes, annual reports, parochial reports, letters written by rectors, wardens, and parishioners, parish registers, diocesan convention journals, newspaper articles about the church, and even legislation relating to the church.
As the number of dates that went unfilled got smaller, the greater the challenge became. The fillers became entries from the early parish registers. They contain thousands of precise dates and are easily searched electronically. But rather than just allowing me to fill in the blanks, this exercise became one of the most fulfilling parts of the project. The more I worked with the colonial and antebellum registers, the more humbling it became to remember these people and their life events, and then present them to parishioners that followed them hundreds of years later. It’s a small way to celebrate their lives.
I’ve used the church’s rich documentary history to provide an illustration for each of the first six months of the year, and its rich pictorial history for the last six months, except for November where the earliest transcription of the Church Act seems most appropriate. At the end of the book are a list of rectors, which helps identify ministers with the years they served the parish, and a glossary, which defines terms you might be unfamiliar with and provides some historical background.
Be sure to take advantage of the easy search capabilities of this PDF e-book. If you’re new to this format, simply pressing control + f (as in find) will bring up a search box that allows you to search on a name or key word (e.g., gilchrist, glebe, guy). This feature eliminates the need for a written index and keeps cross referencing within daily entries to a minimum.
Day by Day, along with Against All Odds and Yesterday and Today: Four Centuries of Change at Old St. Andrew’s, completes my history trilogy of this wonderful church. I believe the more we know about our shared history, especially an appreciation of the blood, sweat, and tears that thousands of people over 309 years have shed on our behalf, the better stewards we’ll become of this exceptional house of God.
In the two years since the publication of Day by Day, much has happened in the life of Old St. Andrew’s. The eighteenth rector, Rev. Dr. George Tompkins, died. Bishop Bill Skilton celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Deacon Ed Davis said goodbye to Charleston for Northern Virginia. Rev. Jason Hamshaw became our new curate and is leaving to become rector of All Saints’, Florence. The Diocese of South Carolina unanimously and enthusiastically voted to join the Anglican Church in North America, and ACNA unanimously and enthusiastically voted to accept the diocese into its fold. The original antebellum parish register was made public by the South Carolina Historical Society, with startling discoveries relating to the parish’s plantation slave ministry.
When I wrote the introduction to Day by Day only two years ago, I thought I had completed my history “trilogy” on Old St. Andrew’s. But no. I am now in the final stage of completing a new and fourth book based on this register, “In My Trials, Lord, Walk with Me”: What an Antebellum Parish Register Reveals about Race and Reconciliation.
With all this new material in hand, it would be shame not to use it. So we will. Enjoy the additions that pop up now and again in this revised edition!
Click HERE for a free PDF e-book of Day by Day.