The foundation of the Cathedral was built on an old infilled creek bed. This has, unsurprisingly, caused our structure to settle in unhelpful ways. The portico is settling toward Coming Street and the rest of our building is settling toward St Philip’s Street, and these forces cause great tension in our structure. Damage from the great earthquake of 1886, lingering problems caused by the use of elastomeric paint after Hurricane Hugo, and past attempts to address all of this have simply served to delay the inevitable. If left unattended, our portico could collapse and undermine the structure of the entire building.
The materials used in the construction of our building are incredibly heavy. In fact, the original builders were forced to abandon plans for a steeple due to the weight. In addition, for various reasons the stucco on our facade is cracking, crumbling, and sometimes falling. The scaffolding and the newly installed steel columns have provided necessary, but temporary, protection of the public.
After years of consultation with local historic preservation and construction companies, we believe we have a good plan to restore our protico. The plan is to fully deconstruct the pediment of the portico and then reconstruct it using modern stronger, lighter materials not available when the Cathedral building was originally contructed. We’ll finish by ensuring the exterior is historically fathful to the original facade. The final plan will take another year to put together and once the project begins, it is projected to take 9 months to complete.
The Cathedral is a warm and welcoming church, and we believe the outside of our building should reflect the reality inside. By restoring our portico, the Cathedral can be a safe, welcoming place for our neighbors and congregation for generations to come.
The porch is an important space in our city. It’s the space where warmth and safety of the home meets our busy streets and neighbors. This campaign is an opportunity for us to cultivate a posture that welcomes and reaches our Charleston neighbors.
During the COVID pandemic, our church created the Cathedral Community Care Fund, or C3 Fund, to bring relief and aid to our neighbors struggling with unemployment and other hardships. Our hope is to expand this fund’s ministry of mission and outreach. As part of the Cathedral Commons Campaign, donors who are interested have the opportunity for 10% of their gifts to go towards the Cathedral Community Care (“C3”) Fund for mission and outreach to our Charleston neighbors.
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Downtown Charleston Church
126 Coming Street
Charleston SC 29403
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