Fort Mill Times

Changing world, Unchanging faith

LAKE WYLIE — Preach or hear enough sermons about eternity, and one tends to develop a somewhat altered sense of time. Even still, the folks at Scherer Memorial Presbyterian understand 125 years is a good long while. “It is quite a milestone,” said church member Anne Harper. Scherer, formerly known as Bethel Chapel, will celebrate 125 of worship this weekend with a cookout Friday night, concert Saturday night and Sunday events including a special service and covered-dish lunch. The community is invited to all events, which also commemorate 50 years since the organization of the church as Scherer Memorial Presbyterian. “Our theme this year is to proclaim the unchanging truth to a changing world,” said the Rev. Rick Lindsay, senior pastor. “The message has not changed, it’s just the world around it has changed.” Lindsay is only the second full-time pastor in the 50 years of the church, leading the group for 20 years. Harper and her husband, Buddy, are lifelong members and recall a time preceding Lindsay’s service, even hearing tales of early church history with horses and buggies, afternoon services and the church’s namesake, Dr. Tilden Scherer, who served both Bethel Church and Bethel Chapel from 1934 to 1950. Anne Harper also remembers the makeup of her church in earlier years. “Family,” she said. “It was just basically a family church. Pretty much everybody was related to each other. Now, it’s a much more diverse group.” Now, members from locales including South Korea and several northern states help fill out the 240-member church, from only about 60 when the church began. Just this year, Scherer began video feeds of sermons online, and already found international downloads from as far away as China and other parts of Asia. “Pick a northern state,” Lindsay said. “Pick a western state, a different country. People have moved in.” The church also reaches to far corners of the world through its missions program. In the last eight years, Scherer giving is responsible for about $750,000 in missions funding. The church now has more of a global impact, Lindsay said, in part because more and more members come from and go to a variety of areas. “In the initial times you’d have families where someone was born here and stays here,” he said. “Now you’ve got more of that suburban area, where people might come in and stay four or five or six years, and then they’re transferred out. The same thing that brought them in takes them away.” Yet not everything changed in the 50 years of organized services or even the 125 years of worship, members say. Luora Franklin, who like Harper remembers walking to church each week for Sunday afternoon services before a booming S.C. 49 and age made the mile-trip too difficult, claims almost 50 years of membership sandwiched around time at another church in Clover. The most important part of membership at Scherer, she said, remains the same. “We hear what the Bible says,” Franklin said. “It’s not sugar-coated. And we sing the old hymns. It’s just home.” A home Lindsay hopes will continue to be close-knit for another 50 or 125 years despite an influx of more people. “They just see a real family and friendship that they appreciate,” Lindsay said of worshipers at Scherer. “I’m not a pastor to people. It’s family to family.”

Want to go? Events celebrating 50 years of Scherer Presbyterian Church and 125 years of worship in Lake Wylie include a cook out and game night at 5:30 p.m. Friday, a special dual piano concert by Peter and Paul Rogers at 7 p.m. Saturday and a 10 a.m. fellowship Sunday followed by a 10:30 a.m. worship service and a covered dish lunch. All events are at the church, 4800 Charlotte Hwy., and are free to the public.

Concert at Scherer Memorial Peter and Paul Rogers, identical twin pianists, will be featured in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Scherer Memorial Presbyterian Church. They hold Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from Northern Illinois University. Their ministry experience includes performing extensively as a duo-piano team in more than a dozen states. Together, they released an album of their piano arrangements entitled "Awesome God," which has been broadcast nationally on the Moody radio network. They have won numerous awards, including first prize in the Richmond Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. They were finalists in the Ellis National Duo-Piano Competition and in the StarSong National New Artist Search. Their performances have been featured on South Carolina Public Television, TV38 in Chicago, and The 700 Club TV program. They have appeared as guest soloists with the Hilton Head Symphony, Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Youth Symphony, and the York River Symphony Orchestra.  Paul is Pastor of Worship and Music at the Evangelical Free Church of Sycamore-DeKalb, in DeKalb, IL. He holds a Doctor of Worship Studies degree and is the Director of the Kishwaukee Children's Chorus. Peter is employed as a senior level underwriter for a major life insurance company. He has recently released a new solo piano album entitled "An Act of Worship", and is currently developing a solo piano concert ministry.    The music from Peter's new album will be featured in a solo segment during the concert. The remainder of the evening will be a "reunion" concert highlighting some of the music Peter & Paul recorded during their ministry years. The concert is free and open to the public. 

Scherer Memorial history • In 1884, Robert Harper donated an acre of land which is part of the current church facilities. The current building is the third to sit on the site. • Scherer Memorial is the oldest institution in the area known as” the point,” which makes up the current community of Lake Wylie. The church’s history even predates the lake itself. • Prior to the organization in 1959, it was known as Bethel Chapel and the people’s membership was part of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Clover. • In 1959, the 64 members of Bethel Chapel voted to organize a church which they called Scherer Memorial Presbyterian. • In 1973, church members voted to leave the Southern Presbyterian Church denomination and become a charter member in the New Presbyterian Church In America • From 1959 until 1980 Scherer shared a pastor with Bethel Presbyterian Church. In 1980 the church called its first full time pastor, the Rev. James Simoneau. • In 1989 the church voted to begin a two-phase building project, adding a new sanctuary that opened in 1990 and a multi-purpose building with education and gym space opening in 1994. • Following construction, the previous sanctuary was given to Friendly Hill Baptist Church and moved, while the fellowship building was given to Good Samaritan Methodist Church and moved. Both buildings are still in use. • The congregation now includes members from around the world. Current members hail from numerous states as well as from three other countries.