Church History

For more than two hundred years, The Unitarian Church in Charleston has welcomed those seekers of meaning and purpose who are not satisfied to search alone. We gather, not because we have found all the answers, but because we wish to question together. We want a church that pushes us ahead, that says to us,”bring your mind as well as your heart into the Sanctuary; bring what you believe, what you doubt, and what you ponder. Follow the light given you, and let no one cast a shadow over you.”

Our congregation was formed when the foundation of our Sanctuary was laid in 1772 as an adjunct house of worship for the Independent Church of Charleston on nearby Meeting Street. The two bodies, acting as one congregation in two buildings, coexisted for some time. Eventually, our congregation took on a distinct view and became its own body, the Second Independent Church of Charleston in 1819. In 1839 The Unitarian Church in Charleston was officially chartered.

Church Today

Today, our community includes over 400 adult members and 80 children and youth who hail from all areas of greater Charleston. Our church is guided by an elected Vestry and led by a professional staff.   The energy and vibrancy of our church are found embodied in our members whose skill, time, and financial support makes possible the rich life we share together.  We are an independent and self-governing congregation, affiliated with The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.  Click here to learn more about the UUA.

We are the ones who need a church where we can work through our questions and our fears in freedom and without restraint or compulsion. We need not agree on all points. In fact, it is in our places of disagreement where we might find the greatest opportunity for growth, development, and ultimately, faith. No one here will tell you what you ought or must believe. We may differ in our understanding of God, and many other things, but we agree in the authority of conscience, and accept the charge to follow it in all matters of belief. This is not permission to do anything we wish, to the contrary, our emphasis on freedom and conscience points the way toward greater responsibility.

Our church is a place where you can grow spiritually as well as help humankind and protect the Earth. While our members have diverse beliefs and backgrounds, we share a common goal of making better this world, and the lives of our brothers and sisters, now, more than attempting to earn entry in some possible afterlife. To learn more about ways you can get involved within and outside the church, please visit the Religious Education, Social Justice, Events and Getting Involved pages.


5 responses to “The Unitarian Church in Charleston

  1. I am very interested in your church community, At age 70 years I continue to have a great respect for diversity and am open to greater growth through meditation, study and community. I am a forever student of an Integral evolutionary path. We are moving to Charleston this winter.

  2. Hello PJ,
    We have parking directly behind the church/Gage Hall, but it is limited. The 2 closest garages are the Queen Street garage at 93 Queen Street and the Majestic Square garage at 158 Market Street. They are very convenient to our building. Parking is free in the garages Sundays if you exit by 1:00 p.m. and give the attendant the order of service. Regarding our diversity, I’m not certain which type of diversity you are referring to – diversity of thought, of race, of age, of socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc., but membership in our church is open to all persons regardless of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin. Membership is open to all who choose to walk with us in the spirit of love and in the search for truth. We have a wide range of wonderful congregants who represent many different facets of our greater community. Feel free to call us at 843-723-4617 if we can better answer this question for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *