IN 1987 Barry Van Deventer, executive presbyter of Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery, proposed that I write a history of the Reformed tradition in the South Carolina low country. The presbytery was planning a celebration of three hundred years of Presbyterianism in the region and wanted a history as a part of the celebration. When I accepted the commission, neither Dr. Van Deventer nor I anticipated the time that would be required before the publication of this book. I am grateful for his encouragement throughout this project and the leadership he provided in securing funds for it.
Columbia Theological Seminary generously granted me sabbatic leave for the 1988-89 academic year to spend in Charleston. President Douglas Oldenburg and Dean Oscar Hussell of Columbia supported me in my request for the sabbatical and in my work on the project. During my year in Charleston, many people assisted me with my research and helped me understand in greater depth the social and cultural history of the region. Ferdinand Pharr, stated clerk of Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery, provided minutes of the old Atlantic Presbytery, shared remembered traditions, and put me in touch with many members of the African American community. The staffs of the Charleston Library Society and the South Carolina Historical Society were most helpful as was the staff of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Montreat, North Carolina. Albert Keller and Faye Halfacre opened to me the archives of the Circular Congregational Church and assisted with the securing of pictures. Lois Averetta Simms and William Holmes were a great help in the development of social profiles within the African American Reformed community, especially in regard to family histories.
The following people gave their time to compile membership statistics for the post-World War II period: Mary Frances Parker, Bethel Presbyterian Church, Walterboro; Richard Cushman, Dorchester Presbyterian Church, Summerville; Bill Nisbet, First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island; Coile Estes and Allyson Watkins, First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, Charleston; Karen F. Schweizer-Nagle, First Presbyterian Church, Orangeburg; Jervey Royall and Patricia S. Ayers, Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Mount Pleasant; William Holmes, Saint Paul Presbyterian Church, Yonges Island; and Joe Johnson, Summerville Presbyterian Church, Summerville.
Professors Jane and Bill Pease not only opened to me their extensive files on antebellum Charleston but they also read early drafts of several chapters and
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Publication information: Book title: Our Southern Zion:A History of Calvinism in the South Carolina Low Country, 1690-1990. Contributors: Erskine Clarke - Author. Publisher: University of Alabama Press. Place of publication: Tuscaloosa, AL. Publication year: 1996. Page number: ix.
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