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St. Philip's to Welcome the Rev. Jeff Miller as Rector
CHARLESTON, SC September 15, 2016 – St. Philip’s Church, established in 1680, the earliest congregation in South Carolina, known as “the mother church of the Diocese,” will welcome the Reverend Jeffrey S. Miller as their 26th Rector Wednesday, September 21 during a Celebration of a New Ministry. The service of Institution will begin at 6:00 p.m.
The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, which includes 53 churches in the eastern part of SC, will officiate and preach at the service.
Miller comes to St. Philip’s from the Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort where he served as a senior associate from 1999 to 2005; from 2005 to present, he served as their rector. He is currently a candidate for a doctor of ministry degree at Trinity School for Ministry and received his masters in divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. He is married to the former Kristin Lynne Frazier of Greensboro, N.C. and they have four children.
Miller is a theologian who loves preaching and teaching. Under his leadership, St. Helena was blessed with growth in the number of parishioners and Christ-based activities. Two of his more visible accomplishments were the starting of a “Classical Christian School” at St. Helena’s where Latin, Greek and English literature are all part of the curriculum. In three short years, 250 students are enrolled, and this was accomplished with no cost to the church. His strategy was and is “we must win the culture back.”
Under Jeff’s leadership, the Mere Anglicanism conference held annually in Charleston grew to 800 participants and is certainly the premiere Anglican event in North America, and perhaps the world.
When asked for his thoughts on his vision, Jeff explained: “Believers must never forget that they have not only been saved from something — they have been saved for something! As the followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be examples of ‘kingdom living in a fallen world.’
Quoting Archbishop William Temple, Miller said, “‘The Church is the only organization that does not exist for itself, but for those who live outside of it.’ Therefore, it is my earnest belief that the rector and congregation should have an active role in the life of the community. The church is not a museum and we are not curators!”
About St. Philip’s Church
St. Philips Church is a National Historic Landmark and houses the earliest established congregation in South Carolina, the first Anglican Church established south of Virginia. It is also the earliest Church of England in the Carolinas. The church is the third building to house the congregation, which was formed by Charles Town colonists.
The first church, built in 1681, was a wooden building located on the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets. In 1723, the second building on the present site was built and services began that Easter Sunday. In 1835, the second St. Philip’s church burned to the ground and was rebuilt by 1838 as the stunning example of architecture we see today. Designed by Joseph Hyde, St. Philip’s has been called the Westminster Abbey of the Carolinas’.
The steeple was added ten years later and was designed by the distinguished E.B. White. The steeple of St. Philip’s served for many years as the rear tower of a set of range lighthouses serving to guide mariners into Charleston’s harbor. The front tower of the range was located on Fort Sumter. The church is one of only two in the United States known to have served such a function.
The church has weathered many difficult times through wars, storms and transitions. It still stands and remains a beacon of Christianity and cultural awareness. The historic graveyards are the final resting place of many of the founders and leaders of our country as well as beloved relatives of many generations of St. Philippians. Today, St. Philip’s reverently represents the Diocese of South Carolina as part of the Anglican Communion.