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Momentum Gathers for a Classical Christian School at St. Philip’s

Copy of Special Announcement (930 x 600 px)

The Rev. Jeff Miller’s special announcement and teaching on Sunday, May 5, were particularly exciting for those of us at St. Philip’s who have spent the last several years discussing, praying, hoping, and planning for a classical Christian school that is dedicated to raising up students as ambassadors of Christ steeped in traditional and classical learning.

Our journey began in the summer of 2021, when several St. Philippians attended a conference of a national association of classical Christian schools to learn more about this growing movement. They also toured the very successful Holy Trinity Classical Christian School in Beaufort, which opened its doors in 2012 under the direction of Jeff Miller, then the Rector of the Parish Church of St. Helena.

As the list of interested parishioners and friends grew to almost thirty, we held a meeting in April of 2022, and all who attended expressed serious interest in pursuing a new school. This informal group then invited the Rev. Chad Lawrence, founding headmaster of Holy Trinity Classical Christian School, to give a day of teaching at St. Philip’s. Inspired by Chad’s teaching, an ad hoc planning committee and a prayer committee were formed in the summer of 2022.

These informal efforts paused that fall, when a discernment committee began its process of discerning the Shine the Light campaign’s priorities as well as a new outreach ministry to be funded by the campaign. The committee unanimously recommended to the Vestry that St. Philip’s first restore its historic campus, which supports all current ministries, and then pursue a new ministry: establishing a classical Christian school. The Vestry unanimously accepted that recommendation.

When the Shine the Light campaign got underway in 2023, the focus was on the campus restoration phase, but prayers and continued preliminary planning for the school quietly proceeded, and the informal group of interested parishioners and friends continued to grow to over sixty people. More and more parents and grandparents expressed the critical need for additional educational opportunities in Charleston with genuine excitement for the classical Christian model.

This spring, as the first phase of the Shine the Light campaign exceeded 80% of its goal, the Vestry enthusiastically and unanimously moved forward with planning for a school, soon appointing the Classical Christian School Planning Committee for the purpose of planning a classical Christian school as a ministry of the parish. The first classrooms are to be located in the State Street office building at the corner of Cumberland Street, with the goal of beginning classes as soon as possible with the Lord’s leading. The Committee was tasked with making regular reports and recommendations to the Vestry.

 

Members of the Committee appointed by the Vestry are Joe Anderton, Lea Andrews, Bill Drury, Alex Finland, Brooke Finland, Martha Freshley, Foster Gaillard, John Grinalds, Ben Hagood, Penn Hagood, Justin Hare, Gerrit Lansing, Jeff Miller, Brendan O’Shea, Trisha Reese, Barbara Rockefeller, Alan Runyan, Ann Willis, and David Wright.

The Committee held its first meeting on May 2 and began discussing various planning topics. The Committee plans to meet monthly and will form working groups of committee members and other interested parishioners to study, discuss, and make recommendations to the Vestry on the many issues that need to be addressed before a school can open.

Members of the Classical Christian School Planning Committee are very excited about the work ahead and are prayerfully optimistic that the critical Phase I Campaign goal of $16.4 million will soon be completed. St. Philip’s is now at $14.3 million of that goal.

Once Phase I is completed, Phase II can get underway and funds can be raised and pledged specifically for the school and the necessary State Street renovations. We believe that if Phase I of the Shine the Light Campaign could be completed this summer, then the school could open as soon as August of 2025, likely beginning with kindergarten and early elementary grades and then adding a grade a year as the school grows.

We encourage all St. Philippians to make a prayerful and generous pledge to the Shine the Light Campaign so that momentum for the Classical Christian School can boldly build and the doors of the school can be opened for the children of our parish and community. We are grateful for all who have encouraged and supported this vision.