The Seed. . .
The 1930s blot a dark stain upon American history and is remembered as the Great Depression. Due to frivolous spending, overproducing of goods, and borrowing beyond means during the previous decade, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 rippled across all industries leading to a downward economic spiral. The American Dream had become a nightmare.
It was a time of great suffering when many people lost jobs, their homes, and the means to feed their families. Banks failed, schools closed, and despite child labor laws, many children were forced to work in factories to help support their families.
Yet in the midst of these desperate times, a small group gathered together in a mill village in Graniteville, South Carolina to pray. Even then, this group of believers faced obstacles and opposition. Neighbors didn’t understand their strange way of worship. And since the mill owned the homes in the village, the group could not continue to worship there.
Led by Dick Hair, a young minister from Edgefield, South Carolina, the group persevered and moved to another home provided by a Methodist elder. There, they continued their hungry pursuit of God, trusting in His provisions and praising His name. They believed His Word and pressed ahead, defying the uncertainties and devastations caused by the country’s economy.
Taking Root. . .
On May 9, 1933, as people everywhere wandered blindly and without hope, God moved in Graniteville, providing a parcel of land for $10 to His people. Soon after, a 22’ X 30’ building was erected and became Graniteville Congregational Holiness Church.
With 15 pews in its sanctuary, the church could now hold 90 people. Over the next 25 years, a choir, restroom facilities, classrooms, a front porch, and a basement were added. The church continued at this size until 1971 where many were saved and called into the ministry.
Spinging Forth. . .
Today the church owns 49 acres of land with a Sanctuary, Fellowship Center, Family Life Center, and the Kids Center/Administration Building. Our Sanctuary now holds over 600 people. An additional 9am service that began in 2009 has also greatly increased our average church attendance, allowing us even greater opportunity to reach our world.
Though God has continued to bless us with beautiful facilities and property, these only serve as tools to reach our greatest purpose—people. For the real story of this congregation can only be seen in its people and their Almighty God.
The Harvest. . .
Today, we are known as Christian Heritage remembering the roots deeply planted within the rich soils of God’s Word that trace back to people who believed in the power of prayer, worship, the study of His Word, and His service to people everywhere.
Just as those who first met in a small mill village home in the dark days of the 1930s, Christian Heritage has witnessed and experienced many national and local tragedies. Men and women fought on foreign soils. Many families faced financial disappointments as we watched our textile mills close its doors. We’ve faced tremendous heartache through 9/11 and the train derailment of 2005 that left its scar on our small town.
Yet, through it all, Christian Heritage lifted up worship, praying without ceasing, to love God and to love people.
The Lord has used this church to save and fill with His Holy Spirit untold thousands through the years. Men and women have been called who now reach beyond our four walls touching others through our community, our country, and even faraway places.
Plowing Ahead. . .
Today, we take hold of the promises from those who came before us and move forward to our work that has just begun. For in the words of our late Pastor Dennis Phillips, "The work will not be complete until every soul we know is part of God’s Kingdom. Let us work until He comes."