In 1975, the Congaree Presbytery (now Trinity Presbytery) purchased seven acres of land "outside" of Lexington County, South Carolina. Its purpose was hopefully to be the site of a new sanctuary, in which a new church family would begin to grow here in Lexington, SC. The next year, an additional four acres were added for a total of 11 acres, all at the purchase price of $75,000.00.
In 1980, a community-wide survey was taken to see if there was sufficient need in the area for a Presbyterian church. At the time it was decided that there was not presently a need. Yet, just a year later in 1981, there seemed to be a change in the Presbyterian population; a group of "concerned" Presbyterians asked the Presbytery to start a church here in Lexington. Apparently, these requests were taken to heart, because later that year the Presbytery agreed to begin breaking ground on the land purchased in Lexington County.
Saxe Gotha Presbyterian's first worship service was held on February 14, 1982, with only 14 people present. Soon after, the church began to grow and had to move to the present location in December of 1984. With membership already at 175 members, they moved to the first building outside the newly created bell tower, which is now known as the Fellowship Hall. This building served as the primary worship location until the late 1980s, when the numbers outgrew the pews. Everyone knew it was then the time to build a larger place of worship.
Construction on the present sanctuary began in 1989, and the first service held there was on Palm Sunday in 1991. The church membership had grown from 14 in 1982 to 550 ten years later. It was during this same year of 1992 when the rooms beneath the Sanctuary were completed at a cost of $1.9 Million for the first two phases.
In 1994, Saxe Gotha's leadership and members began the second phase of the building initiative. The Total Life Center, complete with classrooms, a Gym, a computer room, a kitchen, and a serving area, was completed in 1995 at a cost exceeding $2.7 Million. The TLC was a wonderful addition that created space for recreation, large group events, and church-wide meals, as well as space for pragmatic purposes. (Note that members now refer to the TLC and Fellowship Hall combined as the main building, since they are adjoined, and look as if they are one building.)
Ground was broken on October 12, 2003, for the Light House, the free-standing building behind the main campus. The Light House was completed in the fall of 2004. It has since been the gathering place for youth on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, as well as the place of Saxe Gotha's contemporary worship service, the A.W.E., or Alternative Worship Experience, which began in September of 2008. Our children's ministry uses the space for musical performances, Vacation Bible School and summer camp. Other members of the Lexington Community often hold meetings in the Light House and its auditorium is often a place for spiritual growth speaking events and seminars. And where there is fellowship, there is usually food, so in 2009, the Light House Cafe opened as part of Saxe Gotha's Next Generation Ministry, to support youth and other events taking place there.
Over the years Saxe Gotha Presbyterian has been blessed with wonderful leadership and the strength of the current pastoral staff is no exception. Dr. James D. "Jim" Glatz arrived in 2007 and serves as the Senior Pastor; while the Rev. Helen Harrison "HH" Coker serves as our Associate Pastor for Spiritual Formation. Patrick Cherry serves as our Associate Pastor for Next Generation Ministries. The Next Generation Ministry exists to equips parents and grandparents to spiritually lead, develop, and exemplify faith at home. "To Give God Joy through Worship, Growth, and Service," is emphasized in all of Saxe Gotha’s ministries.
On Sunday, September 22, 2013, our congregation elected to be dismissed from the Trinity Presbytery with its property from the PC(USA) to the ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. On October 8, 2013, the Trinity Presbytery voted to release our church and its pastors; and on January 1, 2014, Saxe Gotha officially joined the ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. The action taken by our Session has provided a way for us to connect with like-minded Presbyterians who are committed to living in obedience to Scripture and making disciples of all nations.
Please pray for Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church. Pray that our members will listen daily for God's Word in their lives, come and worship together on Sunday mornings, grow in Christ through the study of His word, and serve beside each other to His glory and honor.
Every year in October, Saxe Gotha celebrates it's Scottish heritage with the Kirkin' O' the Tartan Service. This year will be a special celebration because it is also Saxe Gotha's 40th Anniversary. To find out more, go to saxegotha.org/events.