West Columbia Church Celebrates 278 Years

4:40 PM, Aug 16, 2013   |    comments
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West Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Just off a dirt road in West Columbia sits the St. John Baptist Church in the same area that it has stood for more than 200 years.

"It means a lot to us because of what we have gone through to get to this point," said Pastor Patricia Lowman.

She says the church has seen its share of struggles since its founding by a Swiss Colonist. She says the slave owner would eventually give the church to his slaves after British troops burned it down in 1781.

That burning that would not be the only setback for the church, a storm in the 1920s would later take its toll as well.

"It picked it up and set it in the river. Blew it and set it in the river," said Lowman.

If that was not enough, in August of 1995 the church would again be burned down by a group of young men.

"When we got here, we just saw the smoke and the entire building was gone, and it was very heartbreaking for us," said Lowman.

The church used that experience to work with Governor David Beasley and President Bill Clinton to fight for changes to laws dealing with those who burned churches, and despite all the challenges the congregations choose to rebuild in the same location.

"Our ancestors they struggles do hard to make it happen and to keep the church going and somehow I believe we carrying on the tradition on what has been before us," said Lowman.

Now 278 years later, while many things have changed, at St. John the faith, unity and love live on.

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