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.
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, Iglesia 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!