Palmetto History

Palmetto History

On Pentecost Sunday (May 27, 2007) Palmetto Presbyterian New Church Development held its first service, & on May 18, 2008, was chartered as the 49th church in Charleston Atlantic Presbytery.  The vision for a new church in upper or northern Mount Pleasant began in 2004 with interested parties from Charleston Atlantic Presbytery and Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church (MPPC) meeting for several months, praying, visiting the Center for New Church Development at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and producing a church information form to be used for calling an organizing pastor. This was done under the direction of the Congregational Development Unit of the presbytery, which was searching for property for the new church during this same time. After much negotiating, the presbytery purchased a 15 acre tract in Carolina Park, directly behind Wando High School.

In November 2006, the commission extended a call to The Reverend Dr. Michael Lee Fitze, who was currently serving his twelfth year as organizing pastor, then pastor, of the Providence Presbyterian Church in Easley, South Carolina.

Dr. Fitze arrived in Mount Pleasant February 1, 2007 and set up a temporary office in MPPC and began meeting with prospective members, offering Sunday school classes on special Sundays, and preaching in neighboring churches.

The commission worked with the Charleston County School District to secure Laing Middle School as the worship location and made preparations for the first service.

In April, a lowcountry boil was held in the East Cooper airport with about 200 persons attending. 

On Pentecost Sunday (May 27, 2007) Palmetto Presbyterian NCD held its first service followed by a barbecue dinner on the school grounds. Approximately 400 people attended.

On July 8, 2007, Crystal Cassels was called to be our first Director of Music.

During the next eleven months, the church formed ministry teams, began training the first class of prospective elders, held numerous fellowship and outreach events, held Sunday school classes every Sunday, and had an evening Bible school in July.

On May 18, 2008, Palmetto Presbyterian Church (USA) was chartered as the 49th church in Charleston Atlantic Presbytery. During the chartering service, Dr. Fitze was installed as pastor and fifteen elders were ordained and installed. The Reverend Gary Bullard, pastor of MPPC (Palmetto’s “mother church”), preached the sermon for the chartering service, and the charter members were recognized. The church chartered with 168 adults and 90 children.

On October 10, 2008, the church held a ground breaking service on the property at Carolina Park.

On Sunday, January 10, 2010, the first service was held in the new sanctuary. The new church “home” includes a 500 seat sanctuary, a “third” space and education wing with classrooms and offices, encompassing almost 15,000 square feet. A service to dedicate the new sanctuary and Education Building was held on Sunday afternoon, March 7, with friends from Charleston Atlantic Presbytery and Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church attending; a reception followed in the church’s “Great Hall.”

During the first weeks in the new facility, the congregation witnessed increased attendance, with an overflowing parking lot, the installation of our first Christian educator, Angela Redden, and several baptisms and new members.

As Palmetto continued to grow, in 2013 Rev. Lissa Long was called as the church’s first associate pastor, and a second three-year capital campaign was held to reduce the mortgage.

In 2014 Palmetto’s membership topped 400. The staff grew to include Alex Dorsam as part-time director of youth, and Ralph Wetherell was commissioned to serve our Men’s Ministry as our first commissioned lay pastor.