About Us

Our Story

The history of Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church is intertwined with that of the African-American community in Pawleys Island in Georgetown County, South Carolina.

Person One and Person Two

Peggy Wilson and Claudia Stowe

The current church grew from two mission churches – Holy Cross-Brookgreen, which included a church, medical clinic and school, and Faith Memorial of Waverly Mills. The Reverend Benjamin Martin and his wife Viola served both churches in the early 1900’s. In 1926, “Salvation came to Pawleys Island in the form of an Episcopal priest, Rev. W. E. Forsythe,” says Nathan Brown, a student at that time and communicant at Holy Cross Faith Memorial until his death.

Another turning point in our history that coincided with Rev. Forsythe’s tenure occurred when Archer Huntington began to assemble the property that would become Brookgreen Gardens. His purchase of the mission property from the Diocese in 1930 stipulated that the funds be “used for the religious, charitable and educational benefit of the colored people living on Waccamaw Neck.” The result was that the two mission churches and schools became one on the Faith Memorial property, and in 1932 a new building was completed. The parish hall downstairs and a rectory upstairs, this building was to provide educational opportunities for the African-American children of the area for over 50 years led by Rev. Forsythe and his wife Ruby, known throughout the community and to this day as Miss Ruby. Rev. Forsythe continued to serve until his death in 1974; Miss Ruby’s role as teacher in the one-room schoolhouse, which still stands today on our campus, continued until her death at age 86 on graduation day in 1992.

Holy Cross Faith Memorial’s commitment to outreach within our parish and the larger community is an important part of our rich history. Archdeacon Erasmus Baskervill, for whom the campus and outreach ministries are named, was a staunch proclaimer of the social Gospel and helped found our great tradition of outreach. Today, the Smith Medical Clinic, a food pantry, St. Elizabeth Place are housed on the campus of our church. A variety of other ministries serve our parishioners and community.

Our church is committed to honoring our history and upholding the rich heritage of our forefathers and mothers to all who come in hope and faith to seek and share.

1832 The Reverend Alexander Glennie brings the Episcopal tradition to the plantation slaves on the Waccamaw Neck.
1895 Holy Cross Mission-Brookgreen is founded for African-American workers.
1896 St. Mary’s Mission at Annieville (just south of Litchfield) is established.
1900 Twenty acres of marshfront property is deeded to the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
1903 Faith Memorial Church and school are built on the property.
1904 Establishment of Lay Missionaries and Benjamin and Viola Martin arrive.
1924 After a fire destroyed Faith Memorial, a second church is built and consecrated on Parkersville Road.
1926 The Reverend W.E. Forsythe arrives as Priest and Headmaster.
1931 Holy Cross-Brookgreen is deconsecrated and joins Faith Memorial.
1933 Holy Cross Faith Memorial Parish House and School is constructed with funds from Archer Huntington.
1937 Rudy Middleton Forsythe joins her husband on campus as a schoolteacher.
1939 Camp Baskervill opens as summer camp for area children.
1943 Holy Cross Faith Memorial Church burns for a second time in late February, and services are held in the school building.
1955 A new church is built near Highway 17 and later moved to the current site. The chapel, as this building is known, is still in use for Sunday Adult Classes, for smaller services, and for meetings.
1974 Father Forsythe dies after 47 years at Holy Cross Faith Memorial.
1992 Ruby Forsythe dies on graduation day after 54 years at Holy Cross Faith Memorial School.
1999 The Reverend Tommy H. Tipton appointed Vicar.
2000 Holy Cross Faith Memorial School closes after 97 years of faithful service.
2001 After nearly 100 years as a mission church, Holy Cross Faith Memorial is granted parish status.
2005 Construction and Dedication of new sanctuary.
2005 Ordination of the Reverend Calhoun (Callie) W. Perkins, Assistant Rector.
2008 The Reverend Melissa Timmerman joins Holy Cross Faith Memorial as its first Deacon.
2011 The Reverend Tommy Tipton leaves Holy Cross Faith Memorial for a position in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. The Reverend Alex Barron becomes Interim Rector.
2012 The Reverend Wil Keith is called as Rector.