There are many beautiful, historic churches in the United States and St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church in Aiken County is one of them. Founded in 1842, St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church is the oldest, continuously worshipping church in its original building in Aiken County. “The original church building is the one we worship in,” says Reverend Grant Wiseman. In 1929, they added on the steeple and removed the balconies where slaves once sat during services.
The historic gravesite at St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church has many prominent characters in it including General Gabriel James Rains. General Rains attended West Point and was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army before signing his commission and appointed as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. His brother, George Washington Rains, owned the Augusta Powderworks and they were known as “The Bomb Brothers”. General Rains invented the first modern landmine in 1862. Also buried in the cemetery is Henry Ravenel. He was a planter and botanist who studied fungi and cryptograms in South Carolina and discovered many new species.
Reverend Grant Wiseman has been the priest at St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church for twelve years. Before St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church, he served as a chaplain and rector at a church in Omaha, Nebraska. Before joining the priesthood, he served in the Army, worked at boarding schools, and owned a legal services company. Many of Reverend Wiseman’s family members are also priests.
St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church is actively involved in serving the Aiken community. The church hosts a soup kitchen every Saturday and is involved in ACTS (Area Churches Together Serving) of Aiken. ACTS of Aiken provides food, clothing, housewares, utility assistance, and more to those in need in our community. They have also made several mission trips to Haiti where they helped found multiple schools and worked on water projects. The church’s youth group does mission trips most years with a group called Homework. They go to areas of Appalachia and help rebuild homes for those in need and make homes wheelchair accessible for the elderly and disabled.
Mead Hall Episcpoal School was founded in 1955 by St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church. The church then purchased Aiken Prep in 2014 and combined the schools. Mead Hall Episcopal School teaches k3 through 12th grade and currently has 372 students with excellent sports teams. Their girls swim team recently took second in state and other student athletic teams perform well in tennis and golf also.
St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church live streams their services so that people who are unable to attend due to Covid can watch online. Their mission statement is “Loving God... Serving others… Living our faith.” They are a welcoming church family and have many opportunities for ministry and worship.
Reverend Wiseman and the congregation of St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church would like to invite you to visit them this Christmas season. They will have two Christmas Eve Services; the family pageant service is at 4:00pm and the carols and traditional music with incense is at 10:45pm. On Christmas Day they will have a 10:00am service.
St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church is located at 125 Pendleton St SW Aiken, SC 29801. Service times on Sundays are 7:45am Holy Eucharist - no music, 9:00am Contemporary Service, and 11:15am Traditional Service. Visit their website www.stthaddeus.org or call the church office (803)648-497 for more information.