Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A View Inside the FRENCH HUGENOT Church in Charleston, South Carolina

We were invited to a wedding in Charleston, South Carolina , a sort of Christmas wedding...as it is mid December. We drove down, just my husband and I...as children were not invited...and left our little munchkin for his first spend the night with a friend. I was hoping he could have come with us, and was anxious about leaving him.
It was a 2 hour drive, rain all the way, cold...but we did stop for a few hours that Saturday, before the wedding to go to some antique malls. We were running late, so I did not have time to shop and take pictures...but will try to do that another day. We were going to a dear friend of our oldest daughter's wedding , there have been so many weddings...and I have declined another earlier as I am not up to celebrating . But I thought , with this wedding, that I do not know if we will have a chance to go to another wedding in downtown Charleston, which my followers know I love...in my life again. Lots to consider, I have a very serious health issue going on with my father right now, and that is a hard element added to my life as well. I know it says, God does not give us more than we can handle...but I have been wondering to myself and out loud, how much more God ?
 We stayed at the Mills House on Meeting St., a very historic hotel that my mother had taken me to when I was about 11 or 12 years old, and then I have been there through the years, usually with her, about 3 more times. 
Front area , marble floors everywhere, and Christmas trees

Hotel dining area

Chandeliers everywhere

 Antique huge marble bust , with  Christmas cookies to the side that I grabbed to take with us when we left the next day.
Since I was unable to take any pictures during the wedding, I went over there the day we left, and was lucky enough that Sunday service was over, and a church deacon let me in to take pictures. Old churches, are full of beauty and charm , this one is fairly small...by today's standards , but truly beautiful in a subtle non-grand fashion. Beauty is so rich and deep when it is subtle.

 I will show this church from the viewpoint of our being here the night before for the wedding.
We walked the block from the hotel that night, in a drizzle and cold. I had a red dress on, and my husband wore his blue suit. Our oldest daughter, Rachel was a bridesmaid. Her husband, my son-in-law...is home safely from Afghanistan...and he was there too. Here is a picture of them at the reception. A couple so in love that you can literally see it when you look at them. So happy.
 When you walk inside the big doors of this church, you walk on old planks with worn marks from parishioners, wedding parties, and funeral processions. I looked down and thought that as we walked to our seats that night. Those decorations, pine branches and pine cones with a tied white satin ribbon are from the wedding.
Then we were led to our little cubicle, area, that this church has for it's parishioners and guests. You go through a little door like this...
Then you sit on soft blue velvet and look around. Which I did. Again, very hard to be at such a happy occasion as a wedding, when our hearts are not healed. It reminds us both that we will never be able to have a wedding for our Sarah. I am trying to make myself enjoy ' life ', enjoy other young people simply living still. I read that in some book, to surround yourself with life.
It is very , very hard to do. I am unsure if it is working for me at all, but maybe it is.
I remember listening  to the the church organ, looking at the large marble plaques, the windows with wreaths .I liked that right beside us I saw this memorial..and one of the person's name was Valentine.

Heavy, large memorial plaques carved from marble were all around the church.

 The church uses this main dropped chandelier for lighting , and a few sconces. I remember looking up at it and the buttresses of the supports on the ceiling of the church. So many historic architectural elements to see.

 Old plantation wood shutters flanked the windows.

 A view from their balcony , where the soloist sang for us guests that night an exquisite rendition of " The Lord's Prayer ". Her voice soared down to us below, the most beautiful version I have ever heard .

 The bride came down the aisle looking radiant and joyful, lovely in her flowing white dress...walking towards her new groom. New life , new love , promises made to one another in front of witnesses and God. So there we sat, at a wedding in downtown Charleston, of two young people, full of love, hope, dreams , at the entry of their new life. The priest announced they were husband and wife, the groom kissed his new bride...and we all clapped and smiled.

 I can say it was a difficult thing, to be here, for both my husband and I ...as difficult as I thought it would be. We walked out the doors after the ceremony, it was dark and cold outside...and all the people were heading back to the  Mills house for the reception. I did not take many pictures there that night, but there was lots of young people laughing and dancing...and older people...and the food was Southern shrimp and grits, they had a huge side of Roast beef , dips and cheeses and fruits and crab cakes , stuffed mushrooms and ham biscuits. Plus wine and then a large chocolate velvet wedding cake , decorated with white frosting and fresh bright red roses for dessert.
We sat and listened to the band, and watched life all around us.
I will try to do an entry before Christmas of a few more sights we saw before we left that Sunday. Christmas decorations on some  homes, antique shop views from the street. I know many of you are busy this season, enjoy your day,
love strong,


  1. Great post Gina. Beautiful church. What a lovely couple your daughter and son-in-law. She looks good in red. Hope you have a good holiday Gina.

  2. Dear Gina ~ Thank you for sharing this beautiful church with us. Being part of a wedding taking place must have been awesome. I think I would have been in tears hearing the Lord's prayer being sung from the balcony and falling down on all hearers.

    Rachel looks radiant and her husband is handsome, they make a lovely couple. Is he home for good?

    I'm sorry to hear about your father. Lean into Jesus' arms and let Him be your strength and strong tower.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  3. Gina, Surrounding yourself with life is very difficult when you love and miss Sarah so deeply. God Does give us more than we can handle, so we remember to turn to Him for guidance. That too is difficult at times.
    I will pray you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and that your Dad gains strength from God's undying love.

  4. What a beautiful, beautiful post, Gina! Your descriptions and photographs are truly lovely (evocative!) and, beneath it all, there is your own very real and tangible sadness. So, so touching.

    Your very beautiful elder daughter ,Rachel, looked absolutely angelic (positively glowing!) alongside her handsome husband. How wonderful for you all that he is safely home! You and your beloved husband still have SO MUCH living to do for them and your two other children. I know how torn you would have felt leaving your little boy behind. Never easy to do and even more difficult for you at such a time!! I do hope he enjoyed his first sleep out, though!

    I am also so sorry to hear your Father's health is not good and that you are having to deal with that at this time, too. Take care, Gina.

    With loving hugs,

    Des xo

  5. So very beautiful, Tina. All of us. I KNOW that God continues to see each courageous step you take. I think of "Footprints" - that when you can't see but one set of them, they are God's and He is carrying you...

    Gary and I visited that church when we were down there earlier this spring! It's so wonderful to see it again through your camera's lens! And the hotel--Magnificent!

    Praying for our father's health issues and that your Christmas season might hold a special and unusual blessing for you and your family.

    So thankful to "know" you though miles separate us. Rebecca

  6. Gina, I am SO afraid I may have called you "Tina" in the comment I just made (and can't see posted yet). Please forgive me and know that I know better :)

  7. Perhaps you would be interested in seeing these images of the Huguenot church as well: http://churchesofcharleston.smugmug.com/Architecture/French-Huguenot-Church/11415211_aW3Ku#825759242_dW6aM

  8. Gina,
    The pictures are great. I love the reminder posted over the door that as we leave the church building, we are to go out into the world and be doers' of the Word and not hearers' only; very poignant. Thank you for sharing. Your daughter and her husband are such a handsome couple. I hope Luke had fun on his first sleepover!

    You mentioned that old saying about God not giving us more than we can handle. I'm not sure where that originated, but I know it's not in the Bible. A lot of people confuse the previous saying with the verse about temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:13. In fact we are assured by Jesus that in this world we will have trouble, but to take heart, because He has overcome the world, John 16:33. I think He does allow us more than we can handle, because we're not meant to handle it apart from Him. It's only by His strength, peace, wisdom, power, guidance, love, and help that we can make it in this world. His power is perfected in our weakness, 2 Cor. 12:9. The weaker the human instrument the more clearly God's grace shines forth.

    I see His grace shining forth in you as you trust in Him and walk through this deeply painful journey.


  9. Absolutely beautiful! I love everything "southern" especially Charleston and Savannah...thanks for sharing it with us. I know it must have been hard for you to be there, and I'm sorry to hear about your father. I do hope that it all works out for your dad and that next year will be a better year for you. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  10. Hi Gina,
    The church looks really beautiful. I love the arched ceiling and the use of simple pale colouring. Rachel and her husband do look so happy together, you must be incredibly proud of them. As for the hotel, totally gorgeous both outside and in. I'm not surprised that you have returned several times. Have a peaceful Christmas.

  11. I love visiting old churches; they don’t make them like that anymore.
    Marry Christmas to you and your family and I hope your father gets well soon.

  12. Old churches are special, charming. Thank you for the pictures! Merry Christmas to you and yours, Gina, and a healthy New Year!

  13. This was a lovely story. I loved the old church too. Very nice to take a peak into what life is like through your eyes and heart.

  14. Thanks for showing the pictures of the inside! That is a famous church and I hope to see it someday. I am a descendant of a French Hugenot who lived in New Amsterdam long ago and it's a group of folks I am slowly familiarizing myself with since I am such an Oregon girl and all of that is so far away from here.

    Hope you are well!


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