"If you are walking in Charleston, you are walking on someone's grave."--Sue Bennett, Charleston tour guide

Friday, October 12, 2018

Bethel Church Visit- Rainy But Righteous!

Church administrator Sue Bennett greets the class
Thank goodness Bethel United Methodist Church has a large covered area by its massive white columns and huge front door.

We needed the protection as off and on rain fell during our Oct. 8 visit.

The old church with a small but very interesting graveyard is just a few blocks from campus, just down from the Addlestone Library on the same side of Calhoun Street.

Students photograph gravestones and their symbols 

The students were to conduct a scavenger hunt of sorts. Their goal was to document and photograph 10 different examples of cemetery symbols or to use the fancy word, iconography.

They had to work quickly as just a few minutes after I took this photograph, the skies opened and rain commenced.

I encouraged the students to go back to Bethel on a nice day if they needed to get more photographs.

A little wet from the rain we gathered inside with Bennett

We were in good hands throughout the evening thanks to Bethel church administrator Sue Bennett.

Along with this position, she is also a longtime licensed Charleston tour guide. Having participated in one of her walking tours in the past, I highly recommend contacting Bennett for one of her excellent walking tour of Charleston's Historic District.  Contact information is here.

Bethel UMC's second building dates to early the1850s
Fortunately for us on this drizzly night, Bennett, along with talking to us outside about Bethel's intimate and interesting graveyard, took us inside to see the beautiful and historic sanctuary.

We sat in pews that 19th-century parishioners would rent. Bennett told us how the curved sides of the pews were designed so women wearing the wide hoops skirts of the time could move into the pews. We also would learn how there were once balconies on the right and left sides where black members had to sit and we saw some amazing Civil War Union soldier writing, names and drawings that were uncovered within a wall when repair work was performed on the church after Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Pretty cool stuff for a rain-abbreviated visit!
Amani Dunston snaps a photo as Bennett shared Bethel's rich history

We also learned about Bethel's food pantry, which on a monthly basis provides needed assistance to hundreds of Charleston folks in need.

Many thanks to Sue Bennett and other Bethel staff members for their graciousness and quality time spent with us.

Rain or shine- in this case, rain- it was a successful learning adventure for not just my students but their teacher also!

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