Pawleys Island ChapelA special house of worship on Pawleys Island

  • Friday, January 3, 2014

Photo provided Pawleys Island Chapel, a well-known symbol of the Town of Pawleys Island, is special to a lot of people on and off the island.


Pawleys Island Chapel, a well-known symbol of the Town of Pawleys Island, is a special place for Sunday services in summer months, as well as weddings, funerals and christenings.

Overlooking the scenic Pawleys Creek with ceiling to floor windows, the building has been completely remodeled over the years, with most repairs occurring after Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Linwood Altman, who has served as chairman of the Pawleys Island Chapel Board of Directors since 1970, is also the owner of Pawleys Island Realty.

He said almost everything in the chapel — including the Bibles, the sound system and the sliding glass doors at the back of the church — were donated by residents and visitors to the island.

“People wanted to donate more than we could put in there,” Altman said.

“We continue to receive substantial donations every year.”

Other board members are Howard Ward, vice chairman, Betsy Altman, Ronny Tanner, Jimmy McCants and Nancy Altman, ex-officio.

Ward, who’s family has been involved with Pawleys Chapel since the building was moved to the island in the 1940s, said the chapel is special to a lot of people on and off the island.

“It has been there so long, and so many generations have gone to that chapel, each generation feels like a part of the chapel,” Ward said.

“There have been more photographs of the chapel than anything else on the island over the years. It really has a special meaning to folks.”

The board is in charge of maintaining the church inside and outside.

Ward said their biggest challenge for the chapel will be to maintain underneath it.

“Pawleys Chapel is sitting in the marsh,” Ward said.

“One day we will have to face that and get a state variance to replace the pilings under it, or we will have to relocate it.”

He said the board hopes people who care about the chapel will be generous when they need to take that step.

History of the chapel

The Georgetown Laymen’s Evangelistic Club, chartered in 1945, began the Pawleys Island Chapel in 1947.

The club had 27 members and the land on which the chapel stands was donated by Dr. and Mrs. J.H. Porter of Andrews.

The building, which was torn down and rebuilt on the island, was formerly the old Pentecostal Holiness Church in Georgetown.

J.M. Layton of Georgetown, a member of the Evangelistic Club and summer resident of Pawleys Island, cared for and opened the chapel each Sunday of the summer.

Several ministers and laymen from Georgetown churches made sure that there was a minister at the chapel for each Sunday service.

A Sunday School class for children and youth and one for adults were held each Sunday until 1969.

In 1970, the Altman family took over the management of the chapel and did extensive repairs.

Altman said he agreed to take over the care of the chapel if Layton would sell him his realty company.

That was the beginning of Pawleys Island Realty.

From 1970 to 1980, summer student ministers at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church in Georgetown preached at the 10 a.m. service each Sunday.

From 1971 to 1985, Catholics used the chapel each Sunday for Mass.

The first recorded wedding at the chapel was held in 1971 and the first christening took place in 1977.

Today, local and regional ministers and laymen, as well as retired ministers alternate holding services each Sunday in summer months.

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