Take me to church! Or synagogue, temple, shrine, chapel, drum circle… A the time of this writing it is that time of year when many folks around the world think about family, “coming home” and the holidays. Churches around town know it's high season! Spiritual practices of all kinds have shaped our culture. Our holidays (holy days) are built around various religious beliefs and traditions that give us opportunities to gather together, express gratitude, celebrate, and ponder the meaning of life. Sometimes sacred spaces are, of course, for quiet reflection, mediation, prayer and retreat. Sometimes when one travels, finding a place to indulge your spiritual side can be part of the adventure.
Churches and places of worship in Greenville are abundant and varied. You may want to check them out purely as a cultural experience. You can easily make your own historic churches tour simply visiting the structures that exist within a couple of blocks east and west from N. Main to S. Main downtown. These sites will be indicated with a heart ♥ next to the name.
As a Swamp Rabbit, as you might imagine, I am unaffiliated, but if I had to choose… Gold star for the person who shouted “Animist”! We rabbits do love that you include us in Easter festivities - as long as the only rabbits you eat are made of chocolate or marshmallow we are happy to hide those eggs for you.
This will be a list of the highlights as, for example, there are numerous Baptist churches in Greenville and we’d be here all day trying to list them all. We will give one (okay, maybe two) example(s) of each, favoring historic and architectural interest versus size of congregation. We hope you will be very *forgiving* if by chance we overlook your specific sect. Let’s do this alphabetically, shall we!
♥ Allen Temple AME “The Downtown Church” Is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Founded in 1875 and currently lead by Reverend James E. Speed Sr. you can find this impressive structure holding down the corner at 109 Green Avenue Greenville, SC 29601. Service times: Sun 11 a.m., Bible Study: Weds Noon and 7:30 p.m.
♥ Holy Trinity Anglican Church You may have seen this ancient looking structure coming into town. I mean, wow. In the Hampton-Pinckney Historic District at 717 Buncombe St. Built in 1914, originally the site of St. James Episcopal Church, another on the National Registry of Historic Places. The walls are solid granite and the roof is slate. It is a favorite for weddings in Greenville because it just looks so neato! Service times: Sun 11 a.m., First Weds of the month at 7 p.m.
Historic is as historic does for the Baha’i Center in Greenville, located at 132 Greenacre Rd. “The Bahá'í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions. It was founded in May 1844 and now has more than five million adherents in 236 countries and territories.” Now we know! Study Group times: Sun 10 a.m. Click the link for more events.
Holy dueling steeples! One with copper patina. One with lovely bells. The historic: ♥Grace Downtown Baptist Church Opened in 1858 at 101 W McBee Ave. Service times: Sun 9:15 and 11:15 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. The modern: First Baptist at 847 Cleveland St. has a gorgeous campus and interior. Service times: Sun 10:30 a.m. and Weds 6:15 p.m.
Another great, surprising fun fact of Greenville here! There is a Buddhist temple on Furman campus, sitting opposite a waterfall. It is called the Hei-Sei-Ji Place of Peace. It was donated by the Tsuzuki family who have ties to Greenville’s textile industry past. It was moved in 2,400 pieces from the family property in Nagoya Japan in 2005 and reassembled on Furman campus where it is embraced by Furman’s Asian Studies Department and all who seek a quiet space. Click links for all the details.
The Carolina Buddhist Vihara is located at 113 Woodbridge Circle. Meditation times: Mon and Thurs 6 p.m. The Kadampa Meditation Center of South Carolina holds several events in Greenville please check the link for times and locations.
We list two here because, well, “family”. Both beautiful. One historic, one modern. Saint Anthony of Padua, at 307 Gower St, grew out of the African American Franciscan tradition and is now proud of its diversity. It has a beautiful new school building (2013), really, bravo! Service times: Sun 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and Noon, Weds 7 p.m.
♥ St. Mary’s was founded in 1852 and the current church built in 1904. The ornate and traditional features within and without make it another a favorite for weddings in the Upstate. Gaze in awe at 111 Hampton Ave. Service times: Sat 5 pm, Sun 7:30 am 9 am 11 am and at 1 pm in Spanish. Mon - Fri at 7 am, Tues - Thurs at Noon. Check the link for particulars on type of Mass.
Many sects can fall under this category. Please do not be offended if we missed yours. This entry was chosen for its curious crossover history with its building. Fellowship Bible Church is a non-denominational reform Baptist church, BUT (this is interesting), its home is in the former Temple of Israel, the first Jewish congregation in Greenville built in 1928. Another new church, Grace and Peace Presbyterian, began their first services there but are now in the Frazee Center until their new sanctuary is complete. Greenville’s spiritual spaces may change faces but the common thread runs through! Enjoy this little piece of history at 115 Buist. Service times: Sun 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Christian Science Reading Room is at 215 N. Main. The First Church of Christ, Scientist is a branch of the Mother Church in Boston and is in Greenville at 45 Southland Ave. Service times: Sun 10:30 a.m., Weds 7:30 p.m.
♥ St. Andrews Episcopal Church at 1002 S. Main, not far from several of the other churches listed and also taking up a corner. That first corner stone was laid in 1904. They have lots going on. They have a blue pipe organ. Do check out the link for more. Lead by Reverend Gary Eichelberger. Service times: Sun 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., Weds 6:30 p.m. (We mentioned historic♥Christ Church Episcopal in the recent Greenville history post...)
♥ St George Greek Orthodox Cathedral is a sight to behold! They host quite the Greek festival every year. Their current home was completed in 1995, but Greek roots in Greenville go back 100 years before to 1894. Impossible to miss at 406 N Academy. Service times: Sun 9 and 10 a.m.
Vedic Center of Greenville can be found at 520 Bethel Road, Mauldin, SC not far from downtown Greenville. The Hindu Temple of Spartanburg is at 1130 Fairview Church Rd, Spartanburg. Click the links for all they offer.
Piedmont Humanists because humanists want to share the love of community too. Based in Piedmont they hold events and meet up all around the Upstate. This year’s annual Feast of the Spaghetti Monster is November 19th. Check the link for their calendar.
Congregation Beth Israel is a Conservative/Masorti congregation AND is celebrating its centennial in Greenville this year 1916 - 2016. A great deal of Greenville’s history revolves around this group! Former Greenville Mayor Max Heller’s family were members. The original synagogue at♥307 Townes St. is currently being renovated/preserved after being home to many different faiths since Beth Israel moved to its current location in 1957 - 425 Summit Drive. Service times: Fri 7 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.
Temple of Israel is a Reform congregation currently at 400 Spring Forest Rd. Its history is also long and intricate (see original historic building under “Christian” above). Please check their calendar as service times change.
Chabad Greenville lead by Rabbi Kesselman, who traditionally presides over Greenville’s downtown menorah lighting event Chanukah on Main, offers programs, services and gatherings for all ages in various locations around town. Do click the link for all the details and times.
♥ Trinity Lutheran at 421 N Main - can't miss it! Founded in 1909, the little red doors opened in 1921. Service times: Sun 9 and 11:15 a.m.
♥ John Wesley Methodist Church is poised to celebrate its 150th Anniversary November 12th - 13th 2016. Do click on the link for the festivities. The historic building at 101 E Court St. was built in 1899. Currently presided over by Rev. Charlie Thomas, This is considered to be the oldest African American congregation in Downtown Greenville. Service time: Sun 11:00 a.m.
The nearest Mormon Temple to Greenville is in Columbia, SC, but The Church of the Latter Day Saints in Greenville is located at 400 Farrs Bridge Rd. Service times: Sun 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
The Islamic Society and Masjid Center of Greenville is a Sunni congregation. Their mosque is at 96 Meridian Ave in Taylors, just off Wade Hampton Blvd and is open daily for the five daily prayers. The Islamic Society welcomes non-muslim visitors.
The Nation of Islam, Mohammed Mosque of Greenville is located at 1622 E North Street. Service times: Sun 11 a.m. Check their Facebook page for all the work they do in the community.
♥ Second Presbyterian You will want to check this out during a stroll down S. Main no matter your beliefs. Another full corner, founded in 1892, at 105 River Street. Service times: Sun 8:30 and 11 a.m., 6 p.m., Weds 7 p.m.
Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Even they must admit that's a mouthful! They welcome you at 1135 State Park Rd. Known for their annual Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Faire, but that is just the beginning. Click the link to explore their community. Service times: Sun 11 a.m.
Check out info on Living Branch Temple and Whispering Moon Coven links for local activities. South Carolina Upstate Pagan Pride Day is a well attended annual event. Our friends at Artistry Workshops and Gallery are burning the phoenix again this year for Vulcanlia V on November 19th, 7 p.m. at 12 Andrews St. Last year was a lot of fun! Bring your mead mug!
As the holiday season approaches we wish you all Love, Peace, Joy, and Plenty, ample time with friends and family, great food, great fun, and lots of laughter. Do note: if you have overflow guests for the holidays we have room at the Inn! (and lodge, and cottages…) We love overflow! We promise to show your people a warm and cozy time under our roofs.