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Standing like Simon Peter the rock since 1706, Saint Andrew’s Parish Church is the oldest surviving church building south of Virginia. Each time I enter its doors, a calm reverence overtakes me. This house of God has an elegant simplicity where everything seems in its place. Once tucked in the Carolina wilderness and now in the middle of the Charleston suburbs, this church has seen its share of hard times. But you’d never know it today.


“What a beautiful old church,” I thought the first time I saw it. “I wonder if it’s always looked like this.”


Not so. Not even close.


The more I learned about the storied past of Old St. Andrew’s, as the church is commonly called, the more amazed I became that it’s even alive at all. Some of its South Carolina colonial contemporaries, such as Pon Pon Chapel in St. Bartholomew’s Parish, Sheldon Church in Prince William’s Parish, Biggin Church in St. John’s, Berkeley, Parish, and St. George’s, Dorchester, Parish Church lie in ruins. All that remains of St. Paul’s on the Stono River, today inside Dixie Plantation in Hollywood, is a clearing in the woods. St. Paul’s was built just a year after Old St. Andrew’s, in 1707.


Until about ten years ago, thanks to a $1.2 million restoration, Old St. Andrew’s had never looked as good as it does today. Surviving and now thriving became the theme of my book Against All Odds, which tells the remarkable story of this beauty of holiness, now in its fourth century.


When I give church tours, it’s fun to point out parts of the church that once were, but no longer are, and other features that are relatively new. Relatively, in the case of a church this old, can be very recent or very, very old.


Yesterday and Today includes sixty fun facts about the life and times of Old St. Andrew’s as they once were and now are. I hope this companion piece to Against All Odds and Day by Day at Old St. Andrew’s will deepen the appreciation of this wonderful place for newcomers and long-standing parishioners alike. Enjoy!


Click HERE for a free PDF e-book of Yesterday and Today.

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