'South Carolina's Sacred Spaces' to help save endangered churches

Published on Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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 'South Carolina's Sacred Spaces' to help save endangered churches
With a large majority of young church-going South Carolinians trending toward churches offering more services and convenience and a decline in overall church attendance, more and more small churches are struggling or closing altogether. 

Recently, the plight of the sacred spaces in these communities was highlighted in an article in The State newspaper, "Losing Faith: Why South Carolina is abandoning its churches" by Sarah Ellis. The more attention brought to these issues the more can be done for their preservation. 

This is where Preservation South Carolina steps in. 

"History is embedded in the timbers of these Churches," said Mike Bedenbaugh, executive drector.  "With the loss of rural Christian culture these churches represent a generational shift."

Preservation South Carolina hopes to remind communities of the significance of these buildings that were once a central meeting place, and spiritual and cultural hitching post for many people. 

With the release of his new book "South Carolina's Sacred Spaces," author and photographer Bill Fitzpatrick gives a look at these sources of spiritual heritage. The book also introduces you to the people who work hard to keep these endangered historical sanctuaries from being lost to time. Fitzpatrick has donated the publishing rights and proceeds from the sale of the book to Preservation South Carolina to help ensure the future of these sacred spaces.  

"In addition to furthering the mission of our organization, I have a personal passion for the sacred spaces of our state," said Bedenbaugh, who saw the church his great grandfather helped build in the 1880s torn down after the church became empty. His story has become all too familiar to communities across the state. 

Preservation S.C. hopes to keep these churches from crumbling and offer a new outlook to the future of the buildings and the future of the communities to which they have so often been integral. By putting love and repair back into these buildings their goal is to make sure they are ready for their next great purpose, whatever that may be. 


Preservation S.C. is the only statewide preservation organization and it is dedicated to preserving and protecting the historic and irreplaceable architectural heritage of South Carolina.  For more information on Preservation S.C. visit PreserveSC.org or contact Executive Director, Michael Bedenbaugh, via email at [email protected].


Preservation South Carolina is a non-profit organization operating in South Carolina since 1990, dedicated to preserving and protecting the historic places of South Carolina.



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