082417 Pawleys Island: Chapel will move across street for repairs
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The chapel was moved to the island in 1947.

Pawleys Island: Chapel will move across street for repairs

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The iconic Pawleys Island Chapel will move across the street from the marshfront where it has stood for 70 years. But it will be back before worship services resume next summer, sitting atop new pilings.

The final service for the summer will be held Sunday. The 202 chairs installed to replace those damaged by Hurricane Matthew last year and the 12 folding chairs that can squeeze a few more worshippers into the aisle have been full this summer, said Jimmy McCants, a member of the board of the nonprofit Pawleys Island House of Worship that maintains the chapel.

“It’s booked with weddings through the end of December,” McCants said. “Nobody on the board had the courage to call these young ladies or their mothers” so the move was scheduled for January.

C-Way Marine Construction of Murrells Inlet will put the chapel on steel beams and roll it across Myrtle Avenue to a vacant lot. The lot, owned by Guerry and Fran Green, is one reason the chapel board decided to make major repairs after years of minor ones, McCants said. The Greens bought the property last year and tore down an existing house, Chapel View.

The chapel has been a place of worship for residents and tourists since it was established by the Georgetown Laymen’s Evangelistic Club in 1947. Donated by Dr. and Mrs. J.H. Porter of Andrews, the chapel was the former Pentecostal Holiness Church in Georgetown. It was torn down and rebuilt on Pawleys over the marsh.

There was a major renovation in 2004 that restored a cupola to the roof. Central air conditioning, new siding, seating and windows also were added. In 2009, the bracings were repaired. This time, the pilings themselves will be replaced.

Because it sits over the water, state and federal permits were required. They limit any work to the existing footprint. It won’t be elevated, even though it flooded during the last two hurricanes. That would require access ramps and there just isn’t space on the lot, McCants said. “We don’t want to change the appearance. It’s a Pawleys Island icon,” he said.

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