Journey in faith with us at St. David...
Where does faith come from? And how do we keep the faith that we have and nurture it? If we as Lutherans believe, teach and confess that we are justified by grace through faith, then this is an important question. In the Augsburg Confession, we can read that "to obtain such faith God instituted the office of preaching, giving the gospel and the sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ's merit, when we so believe." The Holy Spirit produces faith in those who hear the gospel. And how do we hear the gospel? Through preaching, teaching and the sacraments. There is no better way to keep our faith strong than to come to church - to attend Sunday school, Bible studies and Sunday worship services. It sounds basic; but it is, and always has been, true.
There is one other important way in which God offers us His grace and strengthens us in our faith, which Martin Luther pointed to in a very famous writing called The Smalcald Articles. "We now want to return to the gospel, which gives guidance and help against sin in more than one way, because God is extravagantly rich in his grace: first, through the spoken word, in which the forgiveness of sins is preached to the whole world (which is the proper function of the gospel); second, through baptism; third, through the mutual conversation and consolation of brothers and sisters." And we read in Matthew 18:20, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them."
We as Lutheran Christians recognize that we cannot remain strong in the faith without the help of our church family. To put it differently, it is the sheep who wanders from the flock that is most likely to get attacked by the wolves. For the sheep of the flock known as St. David, what a wonderful blessing it is to be joined together as brothers and sisters in Christ, to hear the Word, receive the sacraments, and be strengthened by the conversation, consolation and prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Join us. Let's journey together.
Pastor James Laurence
The people of St. David worship at 10:30 a.m. Sundays.
Holy Communion, offered each Sunday, is open to baptized Christians.
In each service of Holy Communion, the Holy Spirit gathers people around the means of grace the Word of God and the sacraments. Sunday is the primary day on which the Church gathers. Sunday is the first day of creation when God transformed darkness into light. Sunday is the day that the crucified and risen Christ appeared to the disciples and was made known to them in word and in the breaking of bread. The heart of worship is not found in what we do, the words we speak. The heart of worship is what God does and what God gives. In the presence of all of us together, in baptism, the word sung and preached and prayed, in the gift of the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion, we participate in God’s mission to the world. (from the Lutheran Book of Worship)
In 1844, according to tradition, occasional worship services were held under a brush arbor and in a schoolhouse that stood on the present site of St. David Lutheran Church in West Columbia, S.C. Travel was very limited in those days, so a desire was born to have a church that members of the community could attend with regularity. At the 22nd meeting of the S.C. Lutheran Synod, St. David petitioned to become a member. The request was granted on Nov. 10, 1845, and St. David became an organized church of the state Synod.
In the same year, a one-room structure was erected on land donated by Daniel David and Nancy Amanda Caroline Sox Roof. The Civil War was a trying time for the congregation, as four of the original charter members gave their lives while in service. After the war, reconstruction was equally trying for the young congregation, both financially and spiritually. A full-time pastor could not be supported by the congregation, so various parish connections were established between churches in the Gilbert and Leesville areas. The church secretary reported in 1880 that St. David “was in a state of gloom, though it is thought a dim light is seen in the future pointing to prosperity and a great revival and outpouring of God’s grace.”
What prophetic words, for in 1892 the church experienced increased membership and plans were made to increase the size of the one-room building. The newly enlarged building was used until 1930. During the Great Depression, St. David was still growing and expanding its ministries. A new brick veneer church building was erected, and in 1949 an educational building was added. At that time, the sanctuary was built for $3,000 with no debt incurred.
In 1955, St. David became self-supporting and called its first full-time pastor. The community continued to grow along with the membership at St. David. On Palm Sunday, April 15, 1962, services were held for the first time in a new edifice with seating capacity for 600, which serves as the sanctuary today. In 1990, a new Family Life Center was dedicated to provide for expanded ministry. In 2000, a connector between the sanctuary and the educational building was built, which added space for classrooms and a choir rehearsal area. In addition, the organ was rebuilt and the narthex expanded.
On March 10, 2002, the Rev. James E. Laurence began his ministry at St. David. Today, under his leadership, many wonderful new things are happening here! Our congregation continues to fulfill our Bishop’s vision for our synod, as we grow “deeper and wider.” Our newly opened prayer room and the formation of our church Prayer Team are some exciting new ways in which we are growing deeper in our prayer lives and spiritual disciplines. Our congregation is not only growing deeper, it is growing wider in our outreach! The clearest example of this is our support of the Hispanic mission congregation, Inglesia Luterana Cristo Rey, that meets at St. David. We give thanks for the many ways in which God’s work is being done here at St. David and we look forward to what God continues to have in store for us!
As a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), St. David is part of a church body comprised of almost five million members in more than ten thousand congregations throughout the U.S. We share in ministry with Evangelical Lutheran churches throughout the world, and we partner with a variety of Christians, Jews and Muslims for social ministry and social justice.
Other ELCA organizations include Lutheran Social Services, disaster relief, prison ministries, immigrant and refugee services, hospitals, nursing homes, camps and retreat centers, schools, colleges and seminaries.