Pisgah United Methodist Church has been serving the needs of our church family and community in the Florence/Darlington area since 1806


Pisgah United Methodist Church sanctuary celebrating 100 years



The construction of the Pisgah sanctuary was completed in the spring of 1914, with the help and the generosity of church members.  Many of Pisgah’s members actively participated with the construction process by giving of their time (members were asked to do hauling and other chores in advance of the work) and materials (timber was cut from the estate of a member where Magnolia Mall now stands).  The cornerstone was set in place on March 25, 1914.   Worship was held in the new sanctuary for the first time on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1914.   At the dedication service in July of that year, a reporter for The Southern Christian Advocate described the building as “both complete and beautiful.” There was a spirit of optimism in the nation, and that optimism carried over into the life of Pisgah.  The new building promised to be an effective station for abiding progress.   The first decade of Pisgah’s sanctuary was one of true growth and expectancy.


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Few written records were kept concerning Pisgah’s sanctuary during this decade.  Even before the Stock Market crash and subsequent Great Depression years, records do show that poverty and falling crop prices in South Carolina impacted Pisgah.  World War I had recently ended and the mood of the nation was one of hopefulness.  Spiritual relief is documented as having occurred at the annual Homecoming service of 1924.  This celebration of looking back in faith helped to inspire and strengthen the people of Pisgah.  Pisgah’s ten year old sanctuary had provided a place of strength and stability for its faithful.



The name, “Methodist Episcopal Church, South,” had been in use for almost a century when, in 1939, the church as a whole became “The Methodist Church.”  At this time, Pisgah Methodist Episcopal Church, South became Pisgah Methodist Church.   During these years of The Depression and World War II, it is documented that Pisgah suffered with the rest of the South and the world.  Written records show that households struggled to keep ahead and at the church, to meet essential obligations.  Throughout these uncertain and trying years, the sanctuary provided a safe haven for parishioners, remaining a constant and tangible source of encouragement.


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Pisgah began slow and steady advancement after The Great Depression and World War II years.  Pisgah’s membership grew and the need for expansion resulted in the construction of an outbuilding in 1946.  Although few historical records are documented about the physical building, it can be assumed that the sanctuary continued to help provide a special place for worship, rituals, and important sacraments of the church during this decade.






At the beginning of this decade in the history of Pisgah’s sanctuary, plans were being developed for additional growth to the structure of the building. Because of the years of The Depression and subsequent recovery, as well as through the World War II years, Pisgah’s sanctuary facilities had been difficult to maintain.  In this decade, however, the sanctuary was extensively remodeled.  The window in the chancel area was removed during the remodel.  A burgundy velvet curtain and a polished brass cross were added in the space over the blank wall.    A new lighting system was added, and the chancel area was designed so that the choir could be accommodated behind the pulpit.   The physical changes in the sanctuary of Pisgah enhanced the worship experience for all.  


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By 1967-1968,  Pisgah’s sanctuary had been extensively remodeled.  Central heating and air conditioning was added (Some of the renovations occurred during the same time period that the educational building was constructed.)  This time period is known for its many political, economic, and social “revolutions.”  The process of change in the United States and the world was greatly accelerated.  In 1968, our church also underwent one of these “processes of change.”  In this year,  the Methodist Church joined with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form The United Methodist Church.  Pisgah Methodist Church was then known as Pisgah United Methodist Church.  Although change and revolution were abundant during  this decade, our sanctuary provided a firm and lasting place for worship.




These years in the history of Pisgah’s sanctuary represented a shift in the surrounding community from a rural setting to a more suburban setting.  Nonetheless, the sanctuary continued to be a vital and important place of prayer and worship.  In 1974, a major landscaping project for the exterior of the sanctuary was undertaken, and concrete sidewalks were added.  Beginning around 1979, the side partitions of the sanctuary were left open during worship services to allow more natural light into the room and to allow for more worship space.  (These side partitions had generally been kept closed prior to this time except when overflow space was required during a wedding or a funeral.)  In the early 1980s, the United Methodist Women decided to begin the tradition of displaying a Chrismon Tree in the sanctuary during the Advent season to help enhance the worship experience for parishioners.  Approximately 150 chrismons and hand-stitched cross-stitch ornaments were made to complement the beauty of the tree.  Our sanctuary maintained an important role in the ever-changing community during this decade.




Our current Pisgah United Methodist Church sanctuary continued to be an important and vital place of worship from 1984-1994.  Several key events in the life of our sanctuary are highlighted during this decade.  In 1984, the sanctuary suffered damage from a fire that started during a United Methodist Youth Fellowship event constructed in the basement of the building.  The fire was discovered quickly and damage was limited.  In 1987, the sanctuary pews were restored, and pews were added to the four side rooms that open into the main worship space.  In 1988, the current stained glass windows were installed and dedicated.  (One of the original 1914 multi-colored cut glass windows from the sanctuary is displayed in the conference room and the hallway connecting the sanctuary to the Family Life Center.)  Around 1987, exterior lights were installed to illuminate the front of Pisgah in the evenings.  Travelers often comment on the beauty of our church across the dark fields.  Hurricane Hugo struck South Carolina in 1989.  Damages to the church were amazingly minimal.  There were some structural damages to the two towers when the wind gusted around them.  Around 1993, the beautiful stained glass skylight was designed and installed.  This window consists of a detailed circular design with a focal point of a white dove in flight.  The Pisgah sanctuary provided  a place of peace and comfort  to many during these years.




The decade of 1994-2004 continued to provide our Pisgah United Methodist Church sanctuary with opportunities to afford lasting worship experiences.  During these ten years, some notable events occurred in the life of the sanctuary.  Around 1995, one of the iconic oak trees that framed the front of the sanctuary was removed because of disease.  Another tree was planted in 1999 near the cemetery.  In 1999, the melodic carillon was installed in the west tower.  It provides hourly and half-hourly bells as well as hymns to the surrounding area.  The sanctuary was used as the setting for the presentations of da Vinci’s Last Supper,  and the cemetery as a backdrop for Easter Sunrise services during many of these years.  Our sanctuary was also the host of numerous ecumenical Thanksgiving services for the community.  After the dark and uncertain days of September 11, 2001, our sanctuary provided assurance and hope.  It offered a stabilizing and calming place where parishioners gathered to pray for our nation, our leaders, and our world.  The Pisgah sanctuary continued, during this decade, to be of importance to its members as well as the community.


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The most recent decade in our sanctuary’s history was one of excitement, proud reflection, and progress.  During this decade our sanctuary underwent some noteworthy “facelifts.”  In this time period, the burgundy curtain and the polished brass cross in the chancel area were removed. A stained glass window was reframed to match the molding of the other sanctuary windows and added to the chancel area.  (The polished brass cross that was once in the chancel area is displayed in the conference room.)  In 2005, there were major renovations to the interior of the sanctuary.  These included the installation of hardwood floors and updated furnishings in the two narthex areas, painting of the sanctuary, and installation of red carpeting.  In 2006, our sanctuary was the setting of  an impressive celebration of our church’s founding.  That year marked 200 years of worship and witness of the Pisgah congregation.  During this bicentennial year, the cornerstone at the northeast corner of the sanctuary was opened and the historical marker beside Ebenezer Road was unveiled.  (The contents of the original cornerstone are framed and displayed in the family life center.) A closing and rededication of the sanctuary cornerstone was also conducted in that year.   In 2011, extensive exterior maintenance was begun.  A new red roof was installed, and the church was painted.  Our church’s sanctuary maintained its importance to casual passers-by as well as faithful members.

Conclusion and Credits


We all understand and know that a church is so much more than its building.  A church is its people, its mission, its community of learners and worshippers.   As the hymn so correctly is sung:  “I am the church,  you are the church, we are the church together.”  However, we at Pisgah would all agree that we are doubly blessed to be a part of such a church family, as well as to have a beautiful house of worship in which to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Many people, members and non-members, express joy upon seeing the beautifully maintained, unique building.  It remains a visual and concrete representation of the people who worship, serve, nurture, hope, and dream in this community of faith. 



Many of the facts, dates, information, and quotes from the above listings were gathered from two sources:  A Brief Sketch of Pisgah United Methodist Church 1806-1978 and Closing Two Centuries:  History-Volume II, Pisgah United Methodist Church 1978-2006, compiled by David Myers.