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

Monday, October 15, 2018

My spirits were high at Bethel UMC

Bethel United Methodist Church (UMC) has been a part of Charleston since 1797 and lasted through natural disasters and human created disasters, such as the civil war. It first opened as a "wooden shack" uniting both whites and blacks. This little building is known as Old Bethel today and it was donated to the black congregation in 1876 as the whites had plans for a larger sanctuary. Today Bethel and Old Bethel work together to keep the Christian faith going. Bethel was the only Methodist Church that was open during the civil war. It has undergone several renovations through the years but Bethel UMC is the oldest Methodist Church in Charleston and is also pinned as a National Historic Landmark.

As a class we were lucky enough to get a tour of the beautiful Bethel United Methodist Church. Sue Bennett served as our guide and gave us insights on the church and the graveyard adjacent to the sanctuary. One thing really interested me that Bennett explained, "[m]ost places that you are standing in Charleston has someone buried beneath you". She showed us all the tradition of the church, from the graffiti to the old house that was renovated.

We also visited the church graveyard on site and below are examples of symbolism:

The ivy wreath on Sarah Ann Pelzer's Die in Socket marker is a symbol of conviviality and memory. This is often put on the stones of married women who pass away.

The Daisy Flower on Sarah Ann's Die in Socket marker symbolizes innocence of child; Jesus the infant because Sarah died at the age of 2. 

The bible on this pulpit marker means that William H. Flemming was a religious layperson or cleric which he was a pastor.

This flying angel on the Die in Socket stone represents rebirth as she is carrying Rebecca Jane's soul with her to heaven. This means she will have a new life in heaven.
 It's hard to distinguish all the different types of flowers on this Die in Socket marker but the roses represent beauty; hope; unfailing love; associated with the virgin of Mary. This is displayed on Rosa Mary's grave.
The dove is very common on graves such as this Die in Socket, in memory of Anna. The dove symbolizes resurrection, innocence, and peace.
 Prisoilla Sarah Eason's headstone has a crown on a cross on it. This symbolizes sovereignty of the lord.
This fallen headstone of Elizabeth M has an angel on it which means she is being escorted to God in heaven.
The weeping willow on James F.M. Lord's headstone signifies nature's lament; sorrow and mourning.
This wreath on Catharine L Loyd's headstone symbolizes victory and redemption.

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